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Second-half goals help Hibernians to overcome Nadur Youngsters

Hibs winger Thaylor tries to control the ball against Nadur Youngsters. Photo: Domenic Aquilina

HIBERNIANS 2

Vella 52, Grech 80

NADUR YOUNGSTERS 0

Hibernians

M. Calleja Cremona, F. Apap (82 U. Edafe), L. Almeida, A. Attard (46 D. Vella), J Grech, J. Degabriele (65 H. Da Costa Oliveira), Thaylor (75 A. Muniz), J. Zerafa (75 G. Artiles), A. Agius, A. Diakite, W. Domoraud.

Nadur Youngsters

S. Sultana, M. Tabone, L. Moreira, J. Vella (75 G. Farrugia), I. Xuereb, J. Zammit (82 J. Parnis), M. Barbosa , S. Cassar, E. Domingos (87 G. Muscat), G. Hili, Judivan (87 L. Atzori).

Referee: Glen Tonna.

Hibernians overcame a spirited Nadur Youngsters side to win their Izibet FA Trophy Round of 32 match at the Tony Bezzina Stadium.

Two second-half strikes from Dunstan Vella and Jake Grech took the Premier League side through to the next round and protected their unbeaten record this season.

Nadur gave a creditable account of themselves against the Premier League leaders,as they never threatened to cause a cup upset.

Hibs were holding a slender one-goal lead midway through the second half but the Gozitans did not manage a single shot on target in the second half.

Grech showed no favours by scoring the decisive second goal.

Fresh from their league victory over Sliema Wanderers, Stefano Sanderra sprung a surprise before kickoff by naming his strongest possible line-up, despite playing again just over 72 hours later, perhaps a signal of his intent to land his first piece of silverware with the Paolites.

Jake Grech and Thaylor Aldama took their place back in the heart of the Hibs midfield after they were forced to sit out the Sliema match through suspension.

The Spanish winger almost marked his return with a goal after 22 minutes. However, he put his shot on the wrong side of the net with just the keeper to beat.

Nadur, under the charge of former Hibs coach Branko Nisevic, were typically neat and precise in their build-up, in contrast to Hibs, who were  ponderous, allowing the Gozitans to work back and get men behind the ball.

Shy the half hour mark, Stefan Cassar almost broke the deadlock with a diagonal shot which completely took the wind out of Matthew Calleja Cremona who bravely threw himself to his left side to tip the ball around the post.

At the other end, Jurgen Degabriele struck the foot of the post from outside the box just before half-time.

Sanderra threw on Dunstan Vella as his side chased the lead after the break. And the midfielder turned on the style on 52 minutes to put Hibs in charge.

Degabriele charged down the right flank to present Vella with a simple tap-in at the near post as Hibernians finally made the breakthrough.

Nadur refused to throw in the towel and Leandro Almeida had to block Marcelo Barbosa as the Brazilian striker went for glory.

But Hibs finally made the game safe in the 80th minute with an excellently placed shot from Grech that rolled low to the left of Steven Sultana, the Nadur goalkeeper after a neat build-up involving Vella and new recruit Hugo da Costa Oliveira.

And right at the death, Vella came within a lick of paint of adding a third goal following a breakaway on the right.

Grech cut in and watch in disbelief as his shot was blocked by Sultana but the ball came out and Vella could only hit the post with the rebound.

PLAYING ON WEDNESDAY

Centenary Stadium

Marsaskala vs Valletta 17.00

Gudja United vs Swieqi             21.00

TEDESCO STADIUM

Marsa vs Tarxien R.     21.00

TONY BEZZINA STADIUM

Balzan vs Pietà Hotspurs          19.00

NATIONAL STADIUM

Floriana vs Għajnsielem           18.30

PLAYING ON THURSDAY

CENTENARY STADIUM

Ħamrun S. vs Naxxar L.             11.00

Sliema W. vs Vittoriosa             15.00

Birkirkara vs Fgura       19.00

TEDESCO STADIUM

Żejtun C. vs Xewkija    16.00

TONY BEZZINA STADIUM

Sta Lucia vs Sirens       19.00

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