The first weekend of April was another busy one for Maltese players overseas. After a two week international break, the various players returned to club duty across the globe. Some were looking to enhance promotion credentials, others were looking to keep their clubs clear of trouble at the wrong end of the table.
Steve Borg (Aris Limassol – Cyprus)
Malta international centre-half, Steve Borg, was an unused substitute at Aris Limassol drew 2-2 at home to Ethnikos Achna in the Cypriot top-flight (Cyta Championship).
Borg has not been involved in first team action since early March and has made 30 appearances in all this campaign. Aris are currently involved in the relegation half of the table for the remainder of this season and sit in 3rd of the six-team group. The Cypriot league splits into two groups at the halfway point.
Luke Gambin (Barnet – England)
Barnet made the long journey to the north west of England on Saturday to take Morecambe in a League Two fixture. Luke Gambin, who has seen a lot more playing time in the 2015-16 campaign, was named in the starting XI for the Bees in his customary position out wide on the left.
Sadly for Barnet, the game was not to have a happy ending and the north Londonders succumbed to a 4-2 defeat. Gambin was replaced on 73 minutes on his 42nd appearance of the season.
This result leaves Martin Allen’s side in 15th position on 51 points, 10 points behind the play-offs.
Sam Magri (Dover Athletic – England)
Following a disappointing 3-0 defeat at National League strugglers, Boreham Wood, on Easter Monday, Dover Athletic got back to winning ways on Saturday with a 1-0 win over struggling, Halifax, at the Crabble.
A crowd of 1,027 was on hand to see Malta Under-21’s defender, Sam Magri, take his regular place at right-back and play 90 minutes for The Whites. Magri (playing his 37th game of the campaign) saw yellow in this game but had further good news after the game when it was announced by the club that he has extended his deal to the end of the 2016-17 campaign.
The result means that Dover move back into 4th position in the National League, following Tranmere Rovers’ loss at home to Welling United. The Whites now sit on 71 points, just 1 point behind 3rd placed, Grimsby Town.
Manny Muscat (Wellington Phoenix – Australia / New Zealand)
In his penultimate game of a distinguished spell with the Wellington Phoenix, Manny Muscat played 90 minutes at left-back and was named captain as Melbourne Victory visited the New Zealand capital. Sadly, the Malta international was unable to prevent his side from being soundly beaten by 1-4.
The Phoenix will almost certainly finish the season in 9th position of the A-League, with just one game left of the campaign, next week against Western Sydney Wanderers. The highest they can finish is 8th but it depends on Newcastle Jets losing at 10th placed, Central Coast Mariners.
As previously stated, Muscat will be leaving the Phoenix after a 9 year stint this summer. He will be moving to the city of his birth, Melbourne, to fulfil a two-year contract with Melbourne City. Despite his solid performances in the A-League, he sadly still appears to be out of Pietro Ghedin’s plans for the national side.
Rowen Muscat (Pavia – Italy)
The former Birkirkara and current Malta midfielder, Rowen Muscat, will not be in action until Monday evening (20:00 Malta time). Muscat 7th placed Pavia play host to 4th placed Alessandria, with the opportunity to narrow the gap to just one point. A win for Pavia would also bring Muscat’s team just 4 points from the play-off zone for promotion to Serie B.
Zach Muscat (Akragas – Italy)
Also in the Lega Pro (Italy’s 3rd tier), is Zach Muscat and his Akragas side. The former Birkirkara centre-half played 90 minutes for his club on Saturday as they drew 1-1 with Martina at the Stadio Esseneto.
This could be construed as a missed opportunity for Akragas given that Martina were one from bottom of Girone C in 17th. Akragas, however, sit in mid-table 10th place on 36 points and just 7 points clear of the relegation play-off places.
André Schembri (Omonia Nicosia – Cyprus)
Unlike Steve Borg, André Schembri started for Omonia Nicosia in the Cypriot Cyta Championship top six group on Sunday. Unlike the bottom six group, the top six gives sides the opportunity to qualify for European competition. The top side qualifies for the Champions League while 2nd and 3rd qualify for the Europa League.
Schembri’s Omonia currently sit in 5th place Apollon Limassol in 3rd, but they saw defeat today the 2nd placed, AEK Larnaca. The Malta international striker was replaced on 75 minutes with Belgian, Faysel Kasmi.
Pietà born, Schembri, is currently Omonia’s second top scorer this season with 13 goals in all competitions.