BIRKIRKARA VS WEST HAM – WHERE ARE THEY NOW?

During the 2015/16 UEFA Europa League second qualifying round, Maltese side Birkirkara wrote history as they beat English giants West Ham.

The stripes won 1-0 thanks to Fabrizio Miccoli’s 14th minute goal. Despite winning the second leg, the aggregate score finished at 1-1 meaning Birkirkara had forced the clash to penalties where they were eventually knocked out.

Maltese Football takes a look at where the players who played for Birkirkara are now, almost four years later.

James Tomkins of West Ham United is shown a straight red card at Ta’Qali National Stadium (Photo by Arfa Griffiths/West Ham United via Getty Images)

Goalkeeper: 16 – Justin Haber

The experienced goalkeeper played in both legs for Birkirkara as they took on West Ham. Haber has featured for three teams since he left Birkirkara including Hibernians and Floriana.

The Maltese international currently plays for Gżira United and will be keen to qualify for Europe this season with the side currently in third position.

Right Back: 22 – Zach Muscat

Muscat was just 21-year-old when he lined up against players such as Mauro Zárate and Cheikhou Kouyaté.

The defender is currently on loan at Portuguese side SC Olhanense from
Pistoiese. He has featured for three Italian sides since leaving Birkirkara in 2016.

Zach Muscat during the UEFA Europa League second qualifying round match between West Ham and FC Birkirkara.
(Photo by Marc Atkins/Mark Leech/Getty Images)

Centre Back: 15 Nikola Vukanac

The Serbian defender is still with Birkirkara and featured for the Stripes in their 2-0 win over St Andrews last weekend.

It is with no surprise that Vukanac has won his fair share of silverware in Malta. The 33-year-old has two Maltese Premier League titles to his name as one Maltese Cup.

The defender has also won the Maltese Super Cup on two separate occasions, during the 2013/14 and 2014/15 seasons.

Centre Back: 5 Mauricio Mazzetti

Mazzetti’s night against West Ham ended after he was dismissed in extra time with 12 minutes remaining for a second booking.

The Argentine who was also eligible to play for Italy won one Maltese Cup with Birkirkara.

Currently a free agent, Mazzetti played for a wealth of clubs during his 15-year playing career, these included the likes of Racing de Córdoba, FC Emmen and Duhok SC.

Left Back: 19 Joseph Zerafa

An experienced international, Zerafa is currently playing for title chasing Valletta.

The 30-year-old previously spent time in England with Grays Athletic and Welling United before signing for Birkirkara in 2015.

Zerafa is currently two-years into his five-year deal with the Maltese champions.

Right Midfield: 24 Rowen Muscat

A three times Maltese Champion, Rowen Muscat is also playing for Valletta.

Muscat left Birkirkara on loan in January 2016 joining Italian side FC Pavia 1911.

Following his return to Malta at the end of the 2015/16 campaign, the 27-year-old went on to sign for Valletta where he featured in the league 18 times.

Aaron Cresswell of West Ham United (right) in action with Birkirkara’s Rowen Muscat (left) at Ta’Qali National Stadium.
(Photo by Arfa Griffiths/West Ham United via Getty Images)

Centre Midfield: 7 Ryan Camenzuli

The youngster member in the starting 11 against West Ham, Camenzuli has had a bumpy ride in recent years.

In January 2018, the 24-year-old was one of six Malta U-21 players banned for match-fixing. Emanuel Briffa and Kyle Cesare were suspended for life and Camenzuli was banned for a year-and-a-half while team mates Llewelyn Cremona and striker Luke Montebello were both handed a one-year suspension.

With over 130 Premier League appearances to his name, Camenzuli currently plays for Floriana after signing for the club in January 2019.

Centre Midfield: 2 Marcelina Emerson

The midfielder is also at Floriana after signing for the side in August 2017.

The Brazilian had previously experienced a loan spell with Tarxien during the 2016/17 season. He made Maltese 26 Premier League appearances for the Rainbows.

Left Midfield: 6 Paul Fenech

Paul Fenech was the Birkirkara captain as they faced West Ham in the second leg. The 32-year-old has 53 caps for Malta, his first coming against Bulgaria in November 2009.

Fenech left Birkirkara for Balzan in 2016 before returning to the side last summer.

The midfielder currently turns out for Balzan having re-signed for the side during the 2019 January transfer window, just six months after he initially left.

Paul Fenech comes up against Per Ciljan Skjelbred of Norway during the UEFA EURO 2016 Qualifying match between Norway and Malta.
(Photo by Stephen Pond/Getty Images)

Striker: 18 Liliu

Liliu signed for Birkirkara in 2014 after a spell with Israeli club Hapoel Ra’anana.

He scored 17 goals in 36 league appearances for the Stripes before leaving for Nea Salamis Famagusta in Cyprus.

The Brazilian returned to Malta in 2016 when he signed for Gżira United. He made just four appearances for the Maroons, scoring two goals, the first against Pembroke and his second against Hibs.

The 28-year-old currently plays for Nõmme Kalju FC in the Estonian A. Le Coq Premium Liiga.

He scored 31 goals in 30 games during his first campaign with the club and has continued his fine form this season assisting two goals in the Eesti Superkarikas final.

Striker: 10 Fabrizio Miccoli

The star man on the night for Birkirkara, Miccoli scored for the Stripes after just 14 minutes.

Miccoli was Birkirkara’s most experienced player with 10 Italy caps to his name. The striker had previously played for Juventus, Fiorentina, Benfica and Palermo.

Birkirkara was the last side Miccoli turned out for following his retirement in December 2015.

In October 2017, the former Palermo captain was sentenced to three and a half years in jail for aggravated extortion. According to the prosecution, Miccoli paid Mauro Lauricella, the son of an alleged mafioso, to recover €12,000.

Fabrizio Miccoli (Right) signs for Portuguese Giants Benfica in 2005. (Photo credit should read FRANCISCO LEONG/AFP/Getty Images)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

css.php