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BOV Premier League

Leaders Hibernians held by Sirens

Hibernians’ Jake Grech (right) moves past his marker against Sirens. Photo: Chris Sant Fournier

HIBERNIANS   1         

Degabriele 15

SIRENS            1         

Reid 72

Hibernians M. Calleja Cremona-6, L. Almeida-5.5, M. Ellul-5.5 (75 Z. Grech), A. Attard-6 (75 R. Dos Anjos), J. Grech-5.5, J. Degabriele-6.5, D. Vella-6.5, E. Beu-5.5, A. Agius-6, G. Izquier-6, W. Domoraud-6 (84 J. Zerafa).

Sirens J. Debono-7, C. Borg-6, K. Reid-6.5, B. Gavrila-5.5 (68 D. Jackson), A. Effiong-5.5 (68 F. Avoce), D. Albanese-6, A. Borg-6, J. Walker-6, C. Zammit Lonardelli-6.5, A. Cini-6, C. Riascos-6.

Referee Glen Tonna

Yellow Cards G. Izquier, M. Ellul, E. Beu

BOV Player of the Match Jonathan Debono (Sirens)

Leaders Hibernians extended their positive run on top of the BOV Premier League but could only earn a point in a 1-1 draw with Sirens at the Tony Bezzina Stadium on Tuesday.

An early lead seemed to put the Paolites on track for yet another win, but Sirens notched the equaliser midway through the second half to earn a precious point in their bid to secure a top-six finish. The St. Paul’s Bay side join Balzan in seventh place, but the latter have two games in hand. Hibs, on the other hand, move six points clear of Floriana and eight of Ħamrun.

Both sides had four changes from their last outing. Matthew Calleja Cremona started in goal for the Paolites with Matthew Ellul and Ayrton Attard along with Erjon Beu who was back after a long absence, all being handed a start. Joseph Zerafa was included as a substitute following his transfer from Valletta. Diego Albanese and Carlo Zammit Lonardelli returned for Sirens after missing the previous game with Alfred Effiong and Bogdan Gavrila also being named in the starting line-up.

Hibernians took the lead on 15 minutes. Gabi Izquier delivered a cross from the left, the ball fell at the feet of Jurgen Degabriele following a deflection by a defender and the Hibs forward slotted past Jonathan Debono.

The Paolites maintained the pressure and two minutes later, following a cross by Beu from the right, an Izquier effort from the edge of the area was parried by Debono. Sirens replied with a close-range effort by Kemar Reid which was blocked by Calleja Cremona on 24 minutes.

Attard had a powerful drive ending high on 33 minutes and a minute later, Debono anticipated Wilfried Domoraud on the edge of the area before he could conclude. The Sirens custodian came to the rescue once again two minutes from the end of the first half, blocking a Jake Grech effort when served by Degabriele.

Early in the second half, Izquier tested the Sirens goalkeeper with an angled shot from the left.

Meanwhile Sirens were trying hard to penetrate the Hibs rear-guard without much success.

However, on 72 minutes, Reid served substitute Degran Jackson on the right, and off the latter’s cross, the Jamaican forward slotted the ball past Calleja Cremona to level matters.

This goal stunned the Paolites who panicked in their attempt to regain the lead. In fact, Sirens managed to control their opponents well in the final stages to take home a most precious point.

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