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Matchday 23: Valletta 2 Hibernians 2

Valletta vs Hibs

A Jurgen Degabriele goal three minutes from time shattered Valletta’s hopes of a crucial victory in their fight against relegation as the Paolites clinched a 2-2 draw at the National Stadium.

It looked as though Valletta were heading for a very important win after goals from Brandon Paiber and David Garba put them 2-1 ahead.

However, the dismissal of Juan Bolanos proved a serious blow as the Citizens could not hold on to their advantage with Degabriele scoring a spectacular equaliser to leave both teams with just a point in the bag.

In the end, the final result didn’t suit either side as Hibernians remained three points adrift of fourth-placed Marsaxlokk while Valletta are third-from-bottom on 21 points, five away from safety, with just three matches left.

Hibernians made a fast start and after two minutes Bruno punished some hesitant defending from Vieira but his shot just missed the upright.

On 23 minutes Jurgen Degabriele sped inside the City area but his attempt to find Lucas Caruana was miscued as Alessandro Guarnone saved his effort.

Valletta finally threatened three minutes later when Silas picked Federico Falcone but his header flashed wide.

The Citizens were growing in stature and they took the lead on 34 minutes when Brandon Paiber hit a firm low drive that gave no chance to Kone.

Things could have gone better for Valletta three minutes later when Paiber fed Jake Azzopardi but the City midfielder was intercepted by Kone.

After the break, Hibs made their intentions clear right from the outset and they drew level on 55 minutes.

Kurt Shawn powered his way inside the area and picked Dennis Antwi who slotted the ball into the net.

But despite that setback, Valletta kept fighting and two club products lifted the club fans to full voice when engineering the team’s second goal.

Ewurum found substitute David Garba on the edge of the area and the young striker hit a powerful drive that gave no chance to Kone.

Valletta suffered a blow 12 minutes from time when Bolanos was dismissed for a second bookable offence.

The Citizens were defending boldly but their hopes of victory were shattered by Jurgen Degabriele two minutes from time.

The Malta striker picked the ball on the edge area and fired home with a fine volley from the edge of the area to leave Valletta facing the sceptre of relegation.

Source: Times of Malta

VALLETTA: A. Guarnone, J. Bolanos, F. Barrientos (68 C. Gauci), G. Vieira, J. Azzopardi, K. Ewurum (68 J. Jezdimirovic), F. Falcone, B. Paiber (84 A. Ferraris), V. Filho, A. Silas, D. Garba (81 N. Micallef).

HIBERNIANS: I. Kone, F. Apap, K. Shaw, L. Caruana (64 B. Kristensen), J. Degabriele, A. Bruno (76 A. Radchenko), G. Artiles (76 I. Chuckunyere), C. Bonanni, M. Bagayoko (64 R. Bairam), R. Antwi, H. Alves.

Scorers: Paiber 34; Garba 64 (V), Antwi 56; Degabriele 87 (H).

Yellow cards: J. Bolanos (V), J. Degabriele (H).

Red Card: J. Bolanos (V)

Referee: S. Petrovic

BOV Man of the match: B. Paiber (V)