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Balzan, Hibs share points in exciting encounter

Hibs’ Anderson Ribeiro (right) attempts a shot during the match against Balzan. Photo: Joe Borg

Hibs’ Anderson Ribeiro (right) attempts a shot during the match against Balzan. Photo: Joe Borg

The match of the week, between rivals Balzan and Hibernians, lived up to expectations as a crowd of around 250 spectators were treated to an exciting clash at the Corradino Pavilion.

Balzan, the defending champions, and Hibs fought it out till the final seconds.

It was Balzan who took a 3-0 advantage with Romanian player-coach Florin Anton hitting a brace before both teams headed for the dressing rooms for half-time.

The picture looked bleak for Hibernians but coach John Mizzi introduced Malta futsal inter-national Cedric Sciberras and this helped the Paolites to adopt a more aggressive approach.

As Hibernians began to claw back the deficit, their confidence grew while Balzan lost the plot, conceding five goals in five minutes.

Tarik Ibrahim, another national team member and ex-Balzan FC player, struck twice for Hibernians who stormed three goals ahead, much to the satisfaction of the numerous Paola fans.

Balzan’s Basil Emeka Onuta pulled one back in the 28th minute but the drama was not over yet as the champions brought on Matthew Xerxen to apply the flying goalkeeper tactics.

But it was Hibs’ Ibrahim who once again profited from Balzan’s attacking approach as he fired a shot into the un-guarded net from half-pitch.

With only one minute left on the clock, the three points looked like going Hibs’ way but Glenn Bonello had other intentions, hitting two goals in less than 40 seconds.

Bonello’s euphoric celebrations led to his sending-off as the Balzan player took off his shirt in front of the Hibs supporters.

The game ended 6-6.

In the other match played on Tuesday, Tarxien Rainbows, despite fielding a depleted side, claimed the three points in a 4-2 win over St Andrew’s.

On Friday, Floriana and Żejtun Corinthians overcame Lija Athletic and Sliema Wanderers to stay joint-top after three matches.

Floriana beat Lija 8-5 while Żejtun had the better of an improved Sliema, 9-5 the final score.

Playing today: 19.45 Ħamrun Spartans vs Balzan; 21.15 St Andrew’s vs Valletta.
Playing on Friday: 20.00 Hibs vs Tarxien Rainbows; 21.30 Lija Athletic vs Żejtun Corinthians.

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