M. Jovicic, F. Apap, G. Llerena (87A. Herrera Mangles), Thaylor, J. Grech (76 Z. Grech), J. Degabriele, B. Kristensen (76 D. Vella), J. Florencio, A. Agius, G. Artiles, A. Diakite.
M. Drobnjak, A. Attard (75 T. Vella), C. Bonanni, P. Xuereb, A. Ferraris, J, Aguilar, R. Scicluna, F. Moracci (90 V. Sanago), D. Vukovic, A. Fonseca (75 K. Keqi).
Referee Andrea Sciriha.
Yellow cards: Xuereb, Kristensen, Apap, Scicluna, Aguirre.
Leandro Aguirre scored a sublime volley from halfway line as Marsaxlokk stunned Hibernians to reach the semi-finals of the FA Trophy.
The Argentine latched on to Marko Jovicic’s clearance before he thumped an effort beyond the Serbian goalkeeper and into the far corner.
The match provided plenty of typical cup-tie fare – lots of running and committed tackles.
After just 50 seconds, Peter Xuereb was booked following a tough challenge on Thaylor. Bjorn Kristensen and Ferdinando Apap were also yellow-carded early on for similar tackles.
In between the tackles and cards, Hibernians initially were content to sit back and soak up Marsaxlokk’s sporadic attacks with Xuereb and Santiago Ferraris seeing plenty of the ball on the left.
In that frenetic opening passage of play, Tiago Fonseca provided attacking impetus for the Southseasiders, getting into the Hibs box after 20 minutes, only to undo his good work by shooting across the face of goal.
Just after the interval, Fabian Santiago Moracci crossed the right and Ayrton Attard, nipped in front of Andrei Agius but hit the ball wide.
Then, Leandro Aguirre took centre stage cleverly flicking the ball over the onrushing Marko Jovicic to grab the lead. J
ovcic was alert to a probing Aguirre’s long-ball, speeding out of his line as Fonseca bore down on goal.
However, Jovicic’s clearance to the halfway line was met by the Argentine left-back, who showed exquisite technique to direct his volley over the goalkeeper into the net via underside of the bar.
The Paolites looked rattled for a moment but they immediately went in search of the equalizer, Jurgen Degabriele getting in front of a nervy-looking Marsaxlokk defence to hit a rising shot which was pushed over the bar by Drobnjak.
Four minutes from time, Hibernians thought they had equalized as they had the ball in the net when Joao Vitor Florencio’s drive came off the post, Degabriele reacted quickest to rebound and hit the ball behind Drobnjak.
However, the Paolites’ desperation increased when the ‘goal’ was annulled for offside.
After that, it was Marsaxlokk who looked to have more energy and Ferraris forced Jovicic into a low save as the Southseasiders held on to condemn the Premier League reigning champions to a disappointing exit.
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