It was another international window to remember for Haley Bugeja after netting five goals in the Andorra double-header.
The Inter forward helped Malta secure another two crucial victories as they made a huge step towards League B promotion in the UEFA Women’s Nations League.
Bugeja’s hat-trick against Andorra was her second at international level, having scored three goals during the UEFA Women’s Euro 2021 qualifier against Georgia in Tbilisi, in 2020.
Her three goals in Andorra La Vella have now put Bugeja just two goals away from becoming Malta women’s second-best all-time scorer with experienced player Ylenia Carabott, still an active member of Manuela Tesse’s selection, boasting 20 goals.
Dorianne Theuma remains Malta women’s all-time prolific goalscorer with 26 goals.
With a couple of matchdays left in this competition, Bugeja is in the driving seat to finish as the Nations League’s best scorer as she holds a three-goal advantage with eight goals scored after four outings.
Asked what this hat-trick meant for her, Bugeja pointed out that she is delighted to have managed to secure another hat-trick before hitting 20 years.
“At the same time, it was important to win and keep a clean sheet as well as this reflects our growth as a team,” Bugeja told the Times of Malta.
“We are continuing to set new milestones and we are upbeat about our chances in the upcoming games against Moldova and Latvia in order to reach our ultimate goal – promotion to League B.”
During this summer transfer window, Bugeja returned to Italian football after putting pen to paper on a deal with Inter.
The former Mġarr United player was at the back of her experience in the United States with the Orlando Pride where Bugeja struggled to showcase her quality, featuring only on four occasions across the 2022 and 2023 seasons.
Although she is yet to open her account at Inter, Bugeja has been a regular fixture at the Nerazzurri with whom she has played five matches in the Serie A Femminile.
Regular football has contributed to Bugeja starting to find her best form and her eight goals in this Nations League have proved that.
“I am always excited whenever I have to represent the national team and that fuels me to perform at my best,” Bugeja explained.
“I have to thank my team-mates because after all this is a collective effort while on a personal level, I feel that I am on the right track to keep improving.”
PLAYING ON SATURDAY
Lija Ath. vs Swieqi Utd 13.00
Hibernians vs Mtarfa 15.30
Valletta vs San Ġwann 14.00,
Mġarr Utd vs Birkirkara 16.30
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