General Category

Hamrun Spartans' 9th title, Rowen Muscat & Gabriel Mensah

Published: Tue 14 Mar 2023, 08:42

BOV Premier Division Statistics 2022-23 – Match Day 22

1 – There were no less then four young Maltese debutants in the Premier Division last weekend. Mosta nursery product Azriel Borg (19) entered the fray as a late substitute for Hibernians against Marsaxlokk on Saturday, while Gianluca Tanti, also 19 years of age, did the same for Zebbug Rangers against Floriana. Tanti already made his senior debut in the Amateur League for Msida St Joseph last season. On Sunday, Sirens introduced their nursery product Daniel Zarb (18) against Santa Lucia, while Gudja United had Jean-Claude Bugeja Aboumehdi making his senior debut as an early second half substitute. Bugeja is 19 years old and a Sliema Wanderers academy product, who had a short spell with Chiasso in Switzerland earlier this season, without making any senior appearances for the Swiss Promotion League (3rd tier) side.

9 – With four match days left, Hamrun Spartans were crowned champions of Malta, their ninth league title. Under guidance of the late Victor Tedesco, they won the Premier Division four times in the seasons 1982/83, 1986/87, 1987/88 and 1990/91, the first two unbeaten. The Spartans were also declared champions after the Covid-19 abandoned season 2020/21. Two of the other three were won in the initial phase of league football in Malta (1913/14 and 1917/18), the third one just after World War II (1946/47).

– The 1-1 stalemate between Mosta and Birkirkara was only the tenth draw in history between the two clubs from 69 mutual encounters. It was the third consecutive time Birkirkara failed to beat Mosta in the Premier Division (D2, L1).  

– It was a little more then 15 years ago when Marsaxlokk beat Hibernians last in the Premier Division. In fact, the last victory of the seasiders over the Peacocks at top league level was recorded on 19 January 2008. The 3-1 victory last Saturday was 15 years, one month and 20 days since their last win, an emphatic 5-0 win for Marsaxlokk, their largest ever victory over Hibernians.  Kevin Sammut, Julio Alcorse, Mark Barbara, Jamie Pace and Malcolm Licari were on the scoresheet.

– It was the 25th official meeting between Floriana and Zebbug Rangers in Maltese football. Floriana won 20, Zebbug once and there were four draws. They met for the first time on 28 November 1970 in the 1st Division, with Floriana beating Zebbug thanks to a solitary goal by Anton Camilleri. In total 23 of the 25 were played in the top flight, the other two in the FA Trophy.

– Ghanese offensive player Gabriel Mensah made his 100th Premier Division appearance in Hibernians’ clash with Marsaxlokk on Saturday (1-3). The 27-year-old dribbler is already for seven years in Malta and was introduced by Pieta’ Hotspurs in the 1st Division, where he won promotion to the Premier Division, making his debut at the top flight on 17 August 2018 against Hibernians (1-2), making 21 MPL appearances for the Blues (4 goals). The Hotspurs lost their status but Mensah was transferred to Gudja were he played 64 MPL games (14 goals) before joining Hibernians last summer. The match against Marsaxlokk was his 15th for the Paolites, rounding off a handsome 100 appearances (18 goals) in the Maltese Premiership.

250 – In Valletta’s match against Balzan on Friday (0-0), Rowen Muscat made his 250th Premier Division appearance. The 31-year-old midfielder, who has not been playing for the national team since the Kosovo Friendly in Klagenfurt in June 2021, is a Birkirkara product, for who he made his Premiership debut aged 18 at the start of season 2009/10, to be precise in the match against Dingli Swallows (3-1) on 2 October 2009. He made in total 147 MPL appearances for the Stripes and in-between had short spells in the Hungarian Premier Division (Dunaujvaros) and in the Italian Lega Pro with Pavia. He joined Valletta halfway season 2016/17, where he played 103 Premier Division matches. With a career total of 392, he is nearing the 400 official international and domestic appearances, which is including 52 for the national team and 24 in the various European Cup competitions.