Blast from the past: Valletta clinch their 16th league on the last day

Wednesday, December 21, 2011, 20:06

by Joshua Cacciattolo

This is the modern era biggest derby in Malta. This rivalry heated up more in the 90s when Birkirkara FC were strengthened to an extent that they ended up as Valletta’s main title challengers. The climax of the rivalry was reached when on the 2nd May 1998 Birkirkara faced Valletta in the title decider, needing just 1 point to clinch their first ever title. The National Stadium at Ta’ Qali was packed with more than an estimated 19,000 spectators. Many fans were forced to go back to their home and watch the decider on TVM. It is believed that if the Stadium was larger, 25,000 people would have been present for one of the biggest matches ever in Malta.

Birkirkara under the then guidance of duo Alfred Cardona and Robert Gatt had the perfect opportunity to open the score from the penalty spot, but Valletta goalkeeper Reginald Cini saved Joe Brincat shot. The Citizens opened the score by youngster Stefan Gilgio. Birkara equalized before the end of the first thanks to former Valletta favourite Ivan Zammit. In the second half veteran Joe Zarb scored the winning goal and handle the 16th championship title to the Capital. On a negative note several seats were thrown at either sides but nothing serious was reported. However it is reported that when Valletta carcades tried to pass from Valley road they were attacked by the angry B’kara fans.

Relive the moment once again with this clip:

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