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Saturday, May 11, 2013

Refik Resmja (Partizani Tirana), 1951


Albanian striker Refik Resmja still holds a formidable record for top level soccer. During the 1951 league season he scored an amazing 59 goals for his club, Partizani Tirana. While playing only 23 matches that season, his 2.57 goal average is better than anyone else scoring over 50 league-goals in one season.

Teenage star

In 1951 19-year old Refik Resmja (born August 13, 1931) was playing for Partizani Tirana, the Albanian army team. In the previous year he was already top scorer of the league. But this season his scoring spree was sensational. Below you can see his performance match by match:


28-01-1951 Puna Durrës – Partizani
0-6
1 goal
31-01-1951 Partizani – Puna Berat
14-0
7 goals
18-02-1951 Puna Gjirokastër – Partizani
0-8
6 goals
25-02-1951 Partizani – Puna Fier
11-0
7 goals
04-03-1951 Partizani – Spartaku Qyteti Stalin
9-0
7 goals
12-03-1951 Puna Kavajë – Partizani
0-6
4 goals
21-03-1951 Partizani – Puna Elbasan
2-0
1 goal
25-03-1951 Puna Shkodër – Partizani
0-2
1 goal
04-04-1951 Partizani – Puna Vlorë
2-0
2 goals
15-04-1951 Partizani – Puna Durrës
6-0
3 goals
18-04-1951 Puna Berat – Partizani
1-3
2 goals
06-05-1951 Partizani – Puna Tiranë
6-0
3 goals
13-05-1951 Spartak Shkodër – Partizani
0-6
4 goals
20-05-1951 Partizani – Puna Gjirokastër
7-0
1 goal
27-05-1951 Puna Fier – Partizani
0-6
4 goals
03-06-1951 Spartaku Qyteti Stalin – Partizani
0-11
5 goals
10-06-1951 Partizani – Puna Kavajë
2-1
1 goal

Resmja didn’t score in six league matches, and didn’t play on three occasions. That leaves him with 59 goals in only 23 matches, an average of 2.57 goals per match. Much better than Scottish American Archie Stark, who bagged in a world record of 67 league goals in one season for Bethlehem Steel in 1924-25. His average is 1.52, as he played 44 league-matches. Lionel Messi’s 50 goals in 37 matches in 2011-12 only gives him an average of 1.35.

Eight times top scorer

Resmja never again came close to his own record, mostly scoring 15 to 25 goals a season in het following decade. He did win the top scorer title eight times, won the national cup four times and was champion of Albania seven times (1954, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1961, 1963, 1964).
That should have been nine times, but for mysterious reasons in 1950 the Albanian FA decided that while both Partizani and big rival Dinamo (the police club) earned 29 points during the season, goal difference had to decide the champion. Partizani (77-10) was clearly better than Dinamos (60-6), but the FA thought otherwise. They came up with a strange mathematical calculation:
77 : 10 = 7.7 for Partizan, 60 : 6 = 10.0 for Dinamo, so Dinamo were declared champion.
The same ‘mistake’ was made in 1952, when again Dinamo had a worse goalrecord (74-9) compared with Partizani (96-15), but were pronounced champion using the same reasoning.


Only five caps

Resmja was an prolific goalscorer during his entire career, amassing a total of 180 league-goals. Probably even a bit more, as not everything is well documented. Despite this achievement, he isn’t considered the best striker ever of this tiny country in the Balkan Peninsula. That would be his Partizani teammate Panajot Pano (1939-2010), who in 2004 was chosen by the Albanian FA as their Golden Player.
Internationally Resmja wasn’t very successful. The national team in those days only played friendly games, giving him a total of just five caps with one goal (in a 2-0 win against Poland).

Spartakiada 1958 and 1963

With his club Partizani Resmja did surprisingly win silver medals at the Spartakiada 1958 and 1963.
In 1958 this tournament was held in Leipzig and had only army clubs from communist countries as participants. Partizani first won against The Cong Hanoi (Vietnam) 5-1 (Resmja scoring two goals), then beat CCA Bucarest (Rumania) 1-0. In the quarterfinal Resmja scored the winner in a 1-0 victory over Czech Dukla Prague, and Vorwärts Berlin from East-Germany were beaten 2-1. So Partizani was in the final, but lost against Bulgarian side CDNA Sofia (0-1).
Five years later, Partizani copied that success in Hanoi, Vietnam, winning against CDNA Sofia (2-1), Honved Budapest (4-0!), Vorwärts Berlin (3-1), and again Honved (this time 1-0)  in the semifinal. In the final CSKA Moscow beat them 2-0, after extra time.
Resmja played until the final, but didn’t score. In his place, the new idol Panajot Pano made four goals. Seven months later Resmja ended his soccer career, 33 years old.
Refik Resmja died September 6, 1997.

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