Day 02 Valletta 1 Hibernians 2
Hibernians piled more misery on Valletta as they condemned the champions to their second successive defeat.
The Paolites threatened after 13 minutes when from an Ivan Blazevic corner from the left, Joseph Mbong’s low shot was blocked by goalkeeper Henry Bonello.
Valletta replied with a Matteo Piciollo effort from outside the area that was neutralised by Hogg.
On the stroke of half-time, Pena Beltre sent an inviting pass for Mario Fontanella who however failed to connect from close range.
Just a few seconds later, Valletta goalkeeper Henry Bonello turned into a corner a fine Joseph Mbong effort from outside the area.
In added time, Blazevic entered the area before having a shot partially saved by Bonello, Dunstan Vella took the rebound but hit wide.
Valletta were unlucky not to take the lead 11 minutes into the second half when off a cross by Joseph Zerafa from the left, Gavrila’s header hit the crossbar.
However a minute later, they were not to be denied. Alba took a short clearance by the Paolites’ defence and beat Hogg with a rising shot from outside the area.
The Citizens went close once again on 73 minutes from an Alba free-kick from which Piciollo’s header was partially saved by Hogg and Fontanella hit wide off the rebound.
Five minutes later, Fontanella had an angled shot from the right blocked by Hogg and Piciollo’s effort off the rebound was deflected into a corner.
Valletta paid dearly for these missed chances as on 79 minutes, against the run of play, the Paolites restored equilibrium.
Substitute Correa, who had replaced Tiago Fonseca, intercepted a header by Steve Borg for the goalkeeper and placed the ball into the back of the net.
Operating on counter-attacks, Hibs threatened once again with a low shot by Joseph Mbong from the right which was blocked by Bonello.
But in stoppage time, Hibernians notched the winner.
Jurgen Degabriele’s powerful shot from outside the area was partially saved by Bonello and off the rebound, Andrei Agius slotted past the Valletta custodian.
Valletta’s Miguel Alba was voted as the player of the match.
VALLETTA – H. Bonello, S. Borg, J. Borg, S. Malano, M. Piciollo, E. Pena Beltre, J. Zerafa, R. Saleh, M. Alba, M. Fontanella, B. Gavrila (B. Gavrila).
HIBERNIANS – A. Hogg, D. Vella (B. Kristensen), N. Radojevic, J. Mbong, M. Dias, J. Degabriele, T. Ntow, J. Bezzina, A. Agius, I Blazevic (T. Tabone Desira), A. Fonseca (T. Correa).
Yellow Cards: I. Blazevic (H), R. Saleh, M. Alba, J. Zerafa (V)
Scorers: 46′ M. Alba (V), 79′ T. Correa, 90′ A. Agius (H).
Man of Match: M. Alba (V)
Referee: A. Mario Sant