Luis Edison and Obinna Obiefule scored a brace each as Hibs saw off the bold challenge of Qormi in an eight-goal thriller at the Hibs Stadium.
Hibs looked to be cruising after storming into a 4-1 lead early in the second half but Qormi struck twice to revive their hopes before Edison struck in stoppage time to seal the Paolites' win.
With this victory, Hibs reduced the gap on leaders Birkirkara to nine points and remain six behind the second-placed Valletta.
The game was off to a brisk start. Qormi forged ahead inside the opening two minutes. Debutant Simone Quintieri's fine pass released Christian Terribile who turned well before firing past Balzan. Matthew Bartolo had a good chance to level but he mishit his shot from an angled position after making progress in the inside-left channel.
Hibs equalised on nine minutes. Obinna Obiefule forced his way into the box and held off Giorgio Gianola, another debutant for Qormi, before firing home. This goal shattered Qormi who conceded a second barely a minute later. Pouncing on a short backpass, Edison stormed before hitting past Matthew Farrugia.
The Paolites went 3-1 ahead on 15 minutes thanks to Obiefule who slotted past Farrugia after being sent clear by Jackson Lima. Qormi came close to reducing the deficit on 25 minutes when Leighton Grech, drifting infield from the right, guided a through-ball to Lucas Cantoro but the Argentine striker's grounder was repelled by Balzan.
At the other end, Obiefule burst past two defenders but his attempt was deflected towards Edison who skied his shot over the bar from point blank. Ten minutes from half-time, Qormi protested for a penalty when Jonathan Pearson looked to have pushed Terribile as the two contested a high ball but referee Marco Borg saw nothing wrong.
Borg then dismissed Hibs' claims for a penalty after Edison's drive came off Gianola's right hand. On the stroke of half-time, Qormi were unlucky not to pull one back when Cantoro's free-kick came off the crossbar. Lima increased Qormi's woes when scoring Hibs' fourth three minutes into the second half after combining with Edison.
The latter then freed Obiefule who was denied by Farrugia. Qormi should have reopened the issue when Grech's cross from the right sailed towards Cantoro who sent his header over the bar.
Twelve minutes into the second half, Qormi reduced the arrears. Duncan Pisani sent in a teasing cross from the right and Effiong controlled the ball with his chest before tucking the ball home. The game remained entertaining with both sides committed to attacking football.
Farrugia thwarted Bartolo, saving the Hibs winger's close-range effort after Lima's cut-back. Hibs really should have wrapped it up when, 12 minutes from time, Bartolo sent the ball to the steaming Edison who put in a menacing cross-shot which just eluded Obiefule.
Johann Bezzina, on as a substitute, almost scored with his first touch but his shot was beaten away by Farrugia who also saved from Obiefule. Qormi further reduced the arrears, Grech beating Balzan with an angled shot after receiving from Effiong.
At the other end, Jurgen Degabriele, another second-half substitute, lifted his shot over the bar but Hibs sealed it with a fortunate goal in stoppage time. Farrugia came out to anticipate the on-rushing Edison but his clearance came off the Brazilian who ran through and deposited the ball into the empty net.
Edison was named BOV player of the match.
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