Degabriele 19; Vella 50; Grech 56 pen
Failla 86 pen; Donkin 90
I. Kone-6, F. Apap-6, L. Almeida-6, Raphael-6 (77 A. Attard), J. Grech-7 (82 T. Tabone Desira), J. Degabriele-6 (74 B. Kristensen), D. Vella-6.5, Thaylor-6.5 (81 Z. Grech), A. Agius-6, G. Artiles-5.5, W. Domoraud-5 (82 F. Mensah).
M. Jovicic-5, R. Briffa-5 (79 N. Aguis), C.Ememe-4, C. Failla-5.5, J. Nsumoh-6 (79 J. Vassallo), T. Farrugia-5.5, I. Doric-5.5, M. Hetemaj-5, Z. Brincat-5 (79 L. Igbineweka), A. Akinbule-6, J. Ekani-5 (58 W. Donkin-5).
Referee Glen Tonna.
Yellow cards: Briffa, Domoraud, Nsumoh, Jovicic, Almeida.
BOV player of the match: Jurgen Degabriele (Hibernians).
Hibernians held off a late Mosta rally to maintain their perfect opening and collect their fourth successive win in the Premier League.
The Paolites had seemed set for a serene victory when shy the hour mark Dunstan Vella and Jake Grech added to Jurgen Degabriele’s first half effort to put them firmly in control.
But Clayton Failla pulled one back from the penalty spot and substitute William Donkin added a second in stoppage time to leave Hibs relieved to hear the final whistle.
Stefano Sanderra opted again to play a three-man defence of Ferdinando Apap, Leandro Almeida and Andrei Agius to combat Mosta’s powerful front two pairing of Christ Ememe and Ayonfe Akinbule. Occasionally Agius acted as a sweeper so as to provide good cover at the back.
However, it was Mosta’s threat in the air which almost gave them the lead when Ememe tried to meet Akinbule’s looping cross with an incredible leap but fell down under the challenge of Almeida. But referee Glen Tonna waved away the protests.
Hibernians took full advantage of the escape to turn the game around as Jurgen Degabriele was on the mark when he rifled into the bottom corner.
Mosta warmed to their task and exerted some pressure on the other end of the pitch. Ibrahim Kone’s reflex save kept out an effort by Johnson Nsumoh.
Moments later, a direct ball behind the Hibs defence found Ememe as he tried to skip past Kone, the Guinean goalkeeper leapt to his feet to block him.
The danger again originated from the feet of Ememe as Kone had to rush off his line again to deny the Nigerian striker when he was clean through on goal.
But Hibs responded soon after the break when Mosta failed to clear their line from a Jake Grech run. The midfielder’s low drive passed through a crowd of players finished into the path of Dunstan Vella who hit a rasping, rising shot that crashed in off the underside of the bar.
Hibs kept up the pressure with Wilfried Domoraud wasting a good chance as his bending effort whistle past the bar.
The French striker redeemed himself for that error when he timed his run to meet Vella’s perfect pass. As he touched the ball past the onrushing Jovicic, the keeper brought him crashing down. The Croatian goalkeeper was sent the wrong way by Jake Grech’s penalty.
Not to be outdone, Clayton Failla’s blistering shot from free-kick finished just wide.
Up at the other end, Degabriele, cutting in from the right flank, met a sweeping field ball from Raphael. But, after sweeping past his marker, his shot was tipped over the bar by Jovicic.
Former Hibs captain Failla pulled one back three minutes from time, when he converted from the penalty spot. Then, substitute William Donkin set pulses racing on the Hibs bench when he prodded the ball into the net in injury time.
But Hibs held on for victory to move three points above Birkirkara at the top of the table.