By: Hibernian Media on 12 Jul, 2018 22:40
Flo Kamberi was the hat-trick hero as Hibernian defeated NSÍ Runavík 6-1 in the first leg of their UEFA Europa League First Qualifying Round contest on Thursday evening, writes Richard Payne.
The striker opened his account for the season from the penalty spot after only two minutes before doubling his team’s advantage midway through the first half.
In between a stunning third from Oli Shaw and a fourth from debutant Stevie Mallan, Einar Tróndargjógv saw red for the visitors.
Kamberi completed his hat-trick two minutes after the restart before Petur Knudsen grabbed a consolation effort from a deflected free-kick.
Mallan added a sixth goal late on – his second of the evening – as Hibernian ran out comfortable winners on a balmy evening in the Capital.
Head Coach Neil Lennon handed competitive debuts to goalkeeper Adam Bogdan and Mallan whilst youngster Shaw was given the opportunity to partner Kamberi in attack.
The Easter Road men were quickly on the attack and were unlucky not to be awarded a first minute penalty when Tróndargjógv handled a Martin Boyle cross.
The referee waved away the appeals of the home side however only a matter of seconds later he had no option but to point to the penalty spot as Hibernian worked the ball back into the box and Tróndargjógv bundled over Kamberi.
The Swiss striker took the kick himself and drove the ball under the diving body of goalkeeper Tórður Thomsen who got a hand to it but couldn’t keep it out.
Vykintas Slivka dragged an effort wide of goal from the edge of the penalty area before Thomsen denied Kamberi with a close-range save as Hibernian piled pressure onto the Scandinavian side.
Hibernian deservedly doubled their lead in the 20th minute when Boyle’s terrific sweeping delivery from the right was turned in by Kamberi for his second goal of the evening.
Four minutes later a terrific driving run from Slivka carved open the visitors and put Shaw through on goal however Thomsen was alert to the danger and saved bravely at the striker’s feet.
Shaw didn’t have long to wait before breaking his duck for the season and did so in style by turning away from his marker and unleashing a stunning finish low into the net from 22 yards.
Runavík midfielder Tróndargjógv compounded his poor first half showing by picking up a straight red card following a lunge on Boyle.
It was all one-way traffic and the home side should have extended their lead when Mallan’s free-kick found Paul Hanlon unmarked at the back post only for the defender to get his angles all wrong and head tamely wide of the far post.
It took until three minutes before half-time for Runavík to force a save from Bogdan as the Hungarian denied Petur Knudsen’s set piece with a fine stop at his near post.
Hibernian’s fourth goal of the evening arrived fortuitously in the 43rd minute when Mallan’s angled drive squirmed under the body of Thomsen.
There was time for one final opportunity before half-time as Boyle’s deflected shot fell kindly for Slivka, however, he was unable to guide it beyond Thomsen who saved point-blank.
Two minutes after the restart it was 5-0 as Kamberi finished clinically from Hanlon’s through ball to complete his hat-trick.
The men from the Faroe Islands grabbed a consolation goal on 52 minutes when Knudsen’s deflected free-kick wrong-footed Bogdan to find the net.
That proved only brief respite for the visitors as Hibernian once again laid siege to their goalmouth.
Substitute Simon Murray almost restored Hibernian’s five-goal advantage with a header before Boyle sent Shaw through on goal only for the youngster to drag his shot wide of the far post.
With 14 minutes remaining Lewis Stevenson headed against the post from a Boyle delivery before Mallan’s shot from distance soon after crashed back into play off the crossbar.
With seven minutes remaining Hibernian scored their sixth as Mallan produced a stunning free-kick finish to notch his second of the night.
In time added on Thomsen pulled off a great save to deny Steven Whittaker a seventh Hibernian goal.
Hibernian: Bogdan, Whittaker, Hanlon, Slivka, Boyle, Mallan, Stevenson, Kamberi (Murray 51’), McGregor (Swanson 60’), Ambrose, Shaw (Bartley 81’). Substitutes not used: Laidlaw, Gray, Martin, Porteous.
NSÍ Runavík: Thomsen, Joensen, Troest Davidsen (Langgaard46’), Benjaminsen, Olsen, Frederiksberg (Benjaminsen 46’), Tróndargjógv, Justinussen, Knudsen, Hansen (Olsen 39’), Hansen. Substitutes not used: Gango, Mortensen, Hentze, Mortensen.
Referee: Manfredas Lukjancukas (LTU).