Hibs hit five past Melita
Hibs shrugged off the dismissal of Udo Nwoko early in the second half to thrash Melita 5-1 in today's opening match at the Tedesco Stadium.
Andrew Cohen and Clayton Failla scored a brace each as Hibs overpowered a poor Melita team to go top of the table on 28 points but having played a game more than Birkirkara and Valletta.
Hibs had a flying start, scoring twice in the opening 18 minutes. Cohen headed Failla's free-kick into the net on 13 minutes and, five minutes later, the two combined again to double Hibs' lead.
This time it was Failla who fired home after getting on the end of Cohen's cross from a free-kick.
Hibs were dominating but Melita reopened the issue on 28 minutes. Julian Galea's strike from outside the box was repelled by Mario Muscat, the Hibs goalkeeper, but the ball landed at the feet of Manuel Ramon Sierra Camacho who tapped home.
Seven minutes from half-time, Hibs regained their two-goal lead when Adrian Pulis headed home from close in after Cohen's free-kick came off the far post.
Jean Paul Farrugia, who had replaced the injured Allan Kardeck in the first half, fired over from Cohen's pass.
Eight minutes into the second half, Hibs were reduced to 10 men when Udo Nwoko was shown a straight red card for retaliation.
Melita failed to convert their numerical superiority into clearcut chances and Hibs made them pay when, 13 minutes from time, they increased their lead. Cohen traded short passes with Marcelo Dias from a corner and the Hibs ace's swerving cross-shot grazed Farrugia's head and sailed past Zahra.
Melita then had Nigel Rizzo, who had just been substituted, sent off from the bench for protests. Seven minutes from time, Hibs added to Melita's misery when Failla fired home from Cohen's assist.
Cohen was voted BOV player of the match.