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Hibernians eliminated from FA Trophy

L-Isla's winning goal. Photo: Mark Zammit Cordina

L-Isla's winning goal. Photo: Mark Zammit Cordina

SENGLEA 3 HIBERNIANS 2

Division One side Senglea Athletic caused their first upset of the season by eliminating Hibernians from the FA Trophy.

The match turned out to be an exciting affair with Senglea squandering a shocking two-goal lead to fight back and notch the winner in the extra-time.

The first action of note came past the quarter of the hour mark, when Mbong launched Degabriele but the nippy striker shot over the bar.

The Southseasiders bent but did not break, and had a couple of half-chances before Bjorn Kristensen left Hibernians with ten men after collecting two quick bookings. The Malta midfielders’ troubles began shy the half hour mark, when he was booked for clattering into Marcelo De Souse Dias and then five minutes later he clipped Christian Cassar’s legs outside Hibs penalty box and was sent off.

Out-numbered, Hibs took some time to settle down and struggled to create any clear cut chances with Degabriele’s diagonal shot hitting the side-netting just before half-time.

Still it needed something special to penetrate the Hibs rearguard and De Sousa Dias obliged in sensational fashion between the 48th and 50th minute. First, he arrowed a swerving free-kick in the top corner behind the hapless Briffa, then two minutes later, he beat his famous namesake on the run before striking a powerful grounder from the edge of the box.

 A Hibernians’ win seemed unlucky at this point but they were immediately given a lifeline when Degabriele scored with a neat finish when he was allowed space to fire in a low drive.

Miller then threw on Cohen for Tellas and played with three at the back. Shortly after, Senglea goalkeeper Jeffrey Farrugia conceded a penalty for hauling down Degabriele and Cohen equaliser to obliterate what seemed an unassailable lead for Senglea just 12 minutes before.

Hibernians grew in stature but they were soon caught out on the backfoot after Senglea’s smooth movement had Doffo running free through the middle but was closed out in time by Rodolfo Soares. It was Cassar’s turn to go surging forward, but his attempt on the loose ball grazed the crossbar before going dead six minutes from time.

Twelve minutes into the first period of extra-time, directly from corner, De Souse Dias looped a ball over the defence and almost surprised Briffa but Hibs lived to fight on.

 Then with four minutes to go, the effective De Souse Dias chipped the ball towards the right for Juninho Cabral who squared to substitute Ryan Dalli to poke the ball home.  

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