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Degabriele brace helps Hibs sweep past Balzan

Hibernians midfielder Dunstan Vella (left) holds the ball away from his marker against Balzan. Photo: Domenic Aquilina



Degabriele 14; 16

BALZAN R.Briffa-5, I. Bozovic-5, M. Grima-5 ( 62 M. de Sousa), B. Mladenovic-5 (46 B. Kaljevic-5), P. Fenech-6, Y.Torres-6, B. Hili-5 (46 S. Arab-5), U. Ljubomirac-5 (75 N. Braunovic), M. Zlatkovic-5, A. Satariano-5 (83 A. Bradshaw), M. Raso-6.

HIBERNIANS J. Haber-6, F. Apap-6.5, J, Grech-6.5, J. Degabriele-7, B. Kristensen-6.5 ( 73 A. Agius), D. Vella-6, Z. Grech-7 (81 Thaylor), J. Zerafa-5.5 (60 G. Artiles-), O. Muritala-6 (73 J.Morillas), A. Diakite-6, R. Soares-6.

Referee Darryl Agius

Yellow cards Diakite, Zerafa, Zlatkovic, Torres, Apap, Fenech, Arab,

BOV player of the match Jurgen Degabriele (Hibernians)

Two early Jurgen Degabriele strikes shattered the predictions that Balzan will prove to be a tough nut to crack as Hibernians cruised to an easy victory to steer away from the trouble zone.

On Sunday, the champions sent out a clear warning that they are still a strong side yearning to lay a second consecutive claim on the title.

Degabriele was undoubtedly Hibernians’ protagonist as his striking power eased the pressure off their coach Andrea Pisanu and enabled the Paolites to play some flowing football which forced Balzan to defend for long stretches.

With a comfortable two-goal advantage, Hibs did not ease their rhythmic cohesion as they kept launching a fury of attacks. Apparently, the side did not want to relive their last match’s ordeal against Gzira United when the Maroons came from behind to steal the points.

The Champions could not have hoped for a better start as they took the lead in the 14th minute when Bjorn Kristensen chipped the ball into the penalty area for Degabriele to nip in and slot the ball behind Rudy Briffa.

Balzan hardly had time to react before suffering the second goal in the 16th minute when Degabriele struck a beautiful free-kick past the surprised Briffa.

Following a rather quiet patch, Jake Grech’s effort was well-saved by Briffa.

Hibernians and Balzan players fight for the ball. Photo: Domenic Aquilina

At the change of ends, Balzan created their chance in front of goal. Some lovely triangulation down the inside right by Torres and substitute Bojan Kaljevic worked an opening in the box for Alexander Satariano. The striker shot low but the ball was deflected into a corner. 

On 67 minutes, the Paolites nearly added to their scoreline. Grech slipped the ball towards Dunstan Vella but Briffa came to his side rescue once again as he palmed the ball into a corner.

At death, Matheus de Sousa Nogureira nearly pulled a goal back for Balzan but his close-range shot was blocked by Justin Haber.

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