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Misfiring Hibernians thwarted by ten-man Ħamrun Spartans

Hibernians striker Hugo Vieira (centre) is challenged by Steve Borg. Photo: Domenic Aquilina

ĦAMRUN SPARTANS         0

HIBERNIANS                       0

ĦAMRUN SPARTANS

H. Bonello-7.5; J. Mbong-6, Dodo-6 (61 C. Mercieca), S. Borg-6, F. Sasere-5, M. Fedele-5 (71 P. Djordevic), L. Gambin-6 (89 D. Gojkovic), I. Ntow-6 (71 J. Corbalan), C. Dielna, E. Marcelina-6, F. El Bakhtaoui-5.

HIBERNIANS

I.Kone-6; F. Apap-6, R. Dos Anjos-6 (82 W. Domoraud), J. Degabriele-6.5, D. Vella-67, Thaylor-5 (68 E. Beu), J. Zerafa-6 (68 J. Grech), G. Artiles-6, A. Muniz-6.5 (82 Z. Grech), A. Diakite-6, H. Vieira-6.

Referee Glen Tonna.

Yellow cards Ntow, Fedele, Raphael.

Red card Dielna (Ħ) 29.

Missed penalty Vieira (H) 30.

BOV Player of the Match Jurgen Degabriele (Hibernians).

Hibernians failed to capitalise from having a player for more than an hour as the Paolites could not go beyond a goalless draw against a spirited Ħamrun Spartans side, in a highly-anticipated fixture.

Despite dominating proceedings, Hibernians failed to capitalise on the number of chances they created throughout the 90 minutes.

On the other hand, Branko Nisevic-led Ħamrun will welcome this point after their recent streak of negative results. They remain fourth on 29 points.

While chances were at a premium in the opening stages of the game, Hibernians were looking more determined to open the score as they dominated proceedings and played with more intensity in the final third.

The Paolites appealed for a penalty early in the match when Ħamrun defender Claude Dielna looked to have floored Dunstan Vella inside the box but referee Glen Tonna waved play on.

Hibernians were awarded a penalty minutes later when Hugo Filipe pounced on a Dielna mistake and the Ħamrun defender pulled down the Paolites’ forward and was shown a red card.

However, Vieira failed to capitalise from the opportunity after his penalty was parried away by Henry Bonello.

Hibernians continued to pile more pressure on the Spartans in an attempt to capitalise on their numerical advantage on the field.

Thaylor tried to stun Bonello with a thumping volley but his long-range effort sailed over.

Five minutes from half-time, Vella struck a first-timer from outside the penalty area but failed to hit the target.

On the restart, Hibernians fullback Joseph Zerafa tried his luck with a fierce strike but failed to test Bonello.

On 51 minutes, Bonello came to Ħamrun’s rescue when Muniz combined with Vella, the latter darted into the box but his close-range shot was blocked by the Spartans custodian.

Degabriele, captain on the day for Hibernians, attempted an effort from a free-kick but hit his shot wide.

The Malta international forward came close to add to his tally of goals when he profited from an indecision at the back by Ħamrun, just to see his low drive finish inches wide.

At the other end of the field, Faisal El Bakhtaoui tested Hibernians goalkeeper Ibrahim Kone with a free-kick on which the Guinean goalkeeper was alert to block.

Hibernians, though, maintained their pressure on Ħamrun and Vella came close to find the net with a well-struck effort on which Bonello pounced to divert into corner.

The Malta goalkeeper was called into action moments later, when he blocked another long-range effort, this time from Degabriele.

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