The record of Maltese clubs in the UEFA Women’s Champions League might reflect the struggle of the local teams when matching up with other European sides at international level.
In fact, in 36 outings only on three occasions did a Maltese club managed to record a positive result with Birkirkara being the only side to secure a victory.
There is still plenty of improvement to be done to help Maltese clubs improve in the women’s game but the recent showings of the national team selections and Birkirkara in their latest Champions League participations are very encouraging.
Birkirkara’s win against Glentoran was the fruition of their recent strong showings which they were putting in this competition.
In 2018/2019, Birkirkara followed Hibernians in becoming just the second Maltese club to register at least a point in the qualifying round of the Champions League – a 2-2 draw against Welsh side Cardiff Met Ladies.
A couple of years later, they faced Romania’s Olimpija Cluj in the same venue where they beat Glentoran and were leading the hosts before two late goals dashed their hopes of a historic qualification.
A ‘so close yet so far’ scenario repeated itself last season when Birkirkara were beaten by Slovakia’s Slovan Bratislava only in extra-time.
Despite these heartaches, the Stripes knew how to take positives from them, and they were determined to write history for the Maltese game sooner rather than later.
Just like in the 2018 draw against Cardiff Met Ladies, Birkirkara forward Raina Giusti was on the scoresheet in another historic game for her club.
Deployed at half-time, Giusti took less than two minutes to fire home the leveller and pave the way for Birkirkara’s win.
“This win means a lot to everyone at Birkirkara and to the women’s game in Malta,” Giusti told the Times of Malta.
“In recent years, we were closing in on a positive result and after our draw against Cardiff Met Ladies we believed we could also achieve the first win as well.
Finally, our sacrifices have been rewarded and we managed to write a historic page in the local women’s game.”
Giusti, who scored eight goals in last season’s Maltese women’s league, hopes that this result can attract more investment into the women’s game to transform these milestone results into ordinary ones.
Her goal against Glentoran has made her the all-time Maltese top scorer with a Maltese club in the Champions League with three goals in 14 appearances.
“I am always happy when I score but both goals against Cardiff Met Ladies and Glentoran in the Champions League mean a lot to me,” Giusti admitted.
“These are the moments that I dream about and make sacrifices for, and I am truly pleased that a European victory has just become a reality for us.
This is a big competition so achieving this result and scoring in the process is remarkable. I hope that we can build on this result to add more moments like this in our club’s history.”