Hibs beat Valletta in thriller to seal the title
In 1993-94 Hibernians won the seventh championship in their history.
After a rather lean period lasting 12 years, they finally satisfied their long-suffering supporters in what proved to be one of the toughest league campaigns in the history of Maltese football.
Hibs battled it out with Floriana and Valletta in a drama-packed campaign that brought back the missing crowds to Ta’ Qali.
Brian Talbot’s tactical approach and experience seemed to work magic for Hibernians during that season.
Backed by a hard-working committee led by their president Tony Bezzina, Hibs finally made a claim on the league honours.
They made it clear from the start that their main objective was the championship crown. The potential was there and the determination to succeed was amply confirmed by the way they reacted after suffering occasional setbacks.
With players of the class of George Lawrence, Karl Zacchau, Robert Docherty, Charlie Scerri, Alan Mifsud, Lawrence Attard, Edwin Camilleri, David Carabott, Michael Taliana and Michael Woods the club could not but succeed.
Add these to these experienced players, up and coming youngsters like Mario Muscat, Daren Attard, Wilfred Spiteri and Kenneth Abela and one had all the ingredients of a successful team.
Hibs were chased all the way by reigning champions Floriana and Valletta. This led to a most thrilling finale to the league campaign.
Hibs, however, stood their ground winning the direct encounters against the other title aspirants.
Their best days were April 16, 1994 when they beat Floriana 3-1 with goals from Karl Zacchau, George Lawrence and Alan Mifsud, and the final direct encounter against Valletta.
Hibs won 4-3 in one of the most exciting league endings in the history of Maltese football.
A terrific comeback earned Hibs the title of champions. They gallantly fought back Valletta’s challenge from two goals down to equalise twice and go on to win on their merits.
Valletta looked slightly sharper in the first period. Only a victory sufficed for them and this resulted into an entertaining and dramatic contest worthy of a league championship finale.
Valletta took the lead after only 18 minutes. Their defender Jeffrey Chetcuti won possession in his own half, advanced on the left and unleashed a powerful shot into the top corner of the Hibs goal.
Five minutes later, Hibs were lucky not to concede a second goal.
Joe Zarb put through by Gilbert Agius sent a diagonal shot, which missed the target by a whisker.
Valletta, however, were soon two up. Hibs’ goalkeeper Mario Muscat rushed out to punch but lost the ball, leaving Zarb to head in his 15th goal of the season.
Valletta looked well in command but Hibs refused to roll over and die.
Just on the stroke of half-time, Docherty took a corner from the right, which caused panic in Valletta’s crowded area, and George Lawrence made the best of the situation.
Upon the restart, Valletta went in search for the killer goal.
They forced two consecutive corners, but Hibs somehow withstood the pressure.
Then, in the 15th minute, goalkeeper Janus failed to intercept a high ball, which fell to David Carabott who lobbed it into the net from just outside the penalty area.
The emotions were not over yet. A mistaken Carabott’s pass was collected by Gilbert Agius who crossed over to Jason Kabia to deflect past the stranded Hibs’ goalkeeper.This goal would have killed every other team but Hibs kept trying and they punished Valletta with two late goals within two minutes.
Karl Zacchau and Michael Taliana did the honours to win the match and the championship.