Birkirkara FC coach Paul Zammit hailed his side’s strength in depth as they dug deep to claim their fourth Maltese Premier League title in a winner-takes-all showdown with Hibernians FC. The teams finished the season level at the summit and with goal difference meaning nothing, for the first time in 41 years the title race went to a ‘cup final’ decider at Ta’ Qali National Stadium. Birkirkara were up against it at half-time, trailing to Clayton Failla’s penalty, but they stormed back in the second period to run out 3-1 winners.

“Our strength in depth is the main secret of this club,” said Zammit. “Our overall unity is the strength of this team. We cried together; we laughed together. When you put all these ingredients into one pot it is always going to turn out as a success.”

Former Hibernians player Edward Herrera equalised 11 minutes after the restart, and after Nikola Vukanac had put Birkirkara in front Zach Muscat finally swung the pendulum irretrievably in their direction. Herrera and Muscat both paid tribute to their coach, but the final word belonged to the usually quiet Birkirkara captain Gareth Sciberras.

“This is a memorable day for us all at the club. We strived hard in this title rollercoaster. I would like to dedicate this memorable day to everyone at Birkirkara FC, to my family and especially to my late parents – I am sure they will be the two happiest people up there today.”

The result completes a remarkable double for Birkirkara, whose women’s team last week captured their championship with a last-minute goal on the last day of their season.

Article by UEFA
Photo by Domenic Aquilina