Match corresponding to the 8th Round of the Gibraltar Premier Division and played on Saturday 25th November at 20:30. Match report brought to you courtesy of Turicum Private Bank and Quantocoin.
Gibraltar United 2 – 2 Gibraltar Phoenix FC
1 Kyle ‘Chino’ Goldwin (C)
3 Mattia Rosato
5 Erin Barnett
6 Brad Power
23 Andre De Oliveira Farinha
35 Igor Djoman
4 Yalany Baio
10 Filipe Da Cruz Ramalho
17 Marco Meireles
20 Michael Negrette
19 Manuel Roman Salado
Jamie Bosio on for Igor Djoman
Aymen Mouehli on for Michael Negrette
Javier Cantelmi on for Manuel Roman Salado
Suspensions and form have forced Manolo’s hand for this crucial game against Phoenix. Elghobashy starts a three match ban while Aguiar misses out today for his double yellow versus Glacis United. Roman comes back into the starting XI while Pipo takes up Aguiar’s berth. Bosio and Mouelhi are rested while Djoman makes his first start in the Premier Division. Brad also makes his first start since his injury in matchday 2. A win is an absolute necessity to get our season back on track and leap frog St Joseph’s back into second place.
A game that United threw away through profligacy on front of goal and negative tactics on the part of the manager. Phoenix were able to peg back a 2 goal disadvantage in the last 10 minutes of the game, a game that Gib Utd had dominated for 80 minutes.
United were in complete control of the match from the kick off. Though Phoenix had a fair amount of possession United’s defence marshalled by Barnett and midfield, where Baio excelled once again, stifled any attacking intent. The first chance of the match came from a powerful Roman shot that was well handled by Phoenix’s man of the match, thier keeper Ruiz Garrido.
Phoenix tried to impose their physicality but United, with Djoman supporting Baio in midfield were able to counter that threat and use the flanks to great effect. Ramalho in particular grabbed his chance with both hands. He used his guile and skill to great effect throughout the match and he created the first of four clear chances wasted by Salado as he put him in on through the keeper only for the striker to blast his effort wide.
United took the lead in the half hour mark with Negrette chalking up another assist by feeding Pipo on the edge of the box. Following some fancy footwork from the Portugese magician he was able to put the ball past Garrido to give United a well deserved lead. United in cruise control as Phoenix were forced into an early sub due to injury. Meireles then put Roman through on the keeper for the second time on the cusp of half time. As Garrido came out to narrow the angle Roman put his right footed effort wide of the marl. Mr Warwick brought the first 45 to end immediately after.
Roman had another excellent chance to score again straigth after the kick off. He was put through by Djoman but his lob over the keeper sailed aimlessly over the bar. Though he had left his shooting boots at home Roman’s pace was impossible for the Phoenix defence to deal with. He harried them incessantly and was a constant darting missle as Phoenix tried to play the ball out of defence. A third one on one on the keeper, a chance he forged due to his electric pace, forced Garrido into the save of the match as he brilliantly turned the effort wide. One can forgive Roman no squaring the ball to Pipo, unmarked in the area and certain to score, seeing that his efforts had created the chance.
Pipo was, however, to chalk up his second goal a few minutes later. He displayed some dazzling footwork in the 6 yard box sending defenders one way and then the next, the latter completely aware that any touch would have meant a penalty. Pipo was left to calmly give the keeper the eyes and slot the ball past him to put United 2-0 up and seemingly heading to three points.
Shortly after it began to unravel. Roman squandered an umpteenth chance sending a shot so close wide of the post that it must have shaved silvers off it. The manager then made his substitutes and it allowed Phoenix to creep into the game. Djoman and Negrette came off for Mouehli and Bosio. He handed the initiative to the opponent at at time when United were dominant and asserting themselves in all facets, indeed Chino had only one save to make from Narvaez to that point.
As a more defensive mentality took hold United went deeper and deeper and allowed Phoenix that silver of hope. What seemed an unecessary shift of mentality set off a red alert when Narvaez pulled one back. Nervousness and uncertainty crept into United’s game, whatever masterplan Manolo had had in mind was unravelling before his very eyes as wave after wave of Phoenix pressure, not seen before this point, assaulted Chino’s goal. The mistake was finally compounded in the 88th minute, yet another late goal conceded, with Phoenix getting an equaliser from Carrasco, though it had the strong wiff off offside. Rosato had a late chance to seal the game but his header, subsequently flagged offside, went over the bar from point blank range.
A game that was in the bag ended up as a draw through negative tactics and a bad day at the office for Roman. A game that United should have put to bed way earlier was settled late on. United now third face Europa FC on Sunday 3rd December in the last game before the extended break.