Match corresponding to the 4th Round of the Gibraltarian Premier Division and played on Saturday 28th October 2017 at 20:30. Match report brought to you by Turicum Private Bank and Quantocoin.
Gibraltar United 3 – 1 Lions Football Club
1 Kyle ‘Chino’ Goldwin (C)
23 Andre De Oliveira Farinha
5 Erin Barnett
15 Aymen Mouelhi
2 Alberto Del Rio Fernandez
4 Yalany Baio
24 Jamie Bosio
20 Michael Negrette
17 Marco Meireles
8 Filipe Aguiar
19 Manuel Roman Salado
Ayman Elghobashy on for Manuel Roman Salado
Igor Djoman on for Jamie Bosio
Filipe Da Cruz Ramalho on for Michael Negrette
A rarity for Manolo in that he names an unchanged side and he keeps faith with the eleven that defeated St Joseph’s last time out. With several subs also showing their worth with the Reserves mid-week competition for places is at an all time high and both Cantelmi, Djoman and De Torres are rewarded with a spot on the bench after their performances on Thursday evening.
Both clubs came into the match knowing that a win would consolidate a 2nd place in the table that would have been unthinkable a year ago. Lions’ tough defence would seek to neutralise Roman’s pace while their defensive midfielders were given the task to snuff out the creative hub of our midfield. Yet it was the Oranges that started on the stronger foot taking the game to United. It seemed to catch the team off guard and it was an early goal that became the catalyst for what was to come.
A ball dinked over the top caught both Erin and Aymen flatfooted. Rodriguez was both faster and stronger to the ball as he out muscled both defenders to get himself goal side. He blasted his shot past Chino to give Lions a 6 minute lead. This was certainly not in Manolo’s script. It was time for this team to show its character and what followed was a great 40 minutes of football in which both teams went all hell for leather and provided a great spectacle for the neutral spectator.
United reacted as one expected them to. Aguiar took complete control of the match and the ball and simply produced a brilliant 40 minute display. He used his pace and guile to outfox his opponents but also demonstrated a physicality to his game that we had not yet seen. He tracked back to support the defence and was qucik and accurate in transitioning the ball forward. Ably supported by Meireles and Negrette he took the attack to Lions.
The equaliser came on the 22nd minute and it was only fitting that it came from the boots of Aguiar. A free kick on the left of the Lions box was crossed in by Filipe into a crowded 6 yard box. Erin Barnett seemed to run into the ball as he propelled it into the net past a helpless Oliva in the Lions goal; though it may have come off a Lions defender too. A justified equaliser as United had taken complete control of the match since the Lions goal.
Lions picked up the gauntlet and began to be more expansive in their play. They surged forward and the midfield began to ressemble a battlefield with tackles going in and handbags flying all over the place. Amid all this there were reports of racial abuse towards one of United’s players and this led to some heated pushing and shoving which Mr El Yettefti took a few minutes to control. If these allegations are confirmed it is hoped that the powers that be act swiftly to stamp out these acts that have no place in our game.
Roman shortly fluffed his lines by miskicking what appeared to be an easy chance. This was followed by a save from Chino from Gonzalez while moments later Bosio totally miscued what seemed to be a certain goal. Certainly end to end stuff and exciting but not too kind on the nervous system! The breakthrough finally game on the 38th minute as youngster Michael Negrette got his first goal for the club. Once again the goal came after great work, again, from Aguiar, this time operating on the right. He crossed the ball which found itself with Marco. He quickly looked up and spotted Negrette on the left. The video below shows the quality and precision of the shot that put us 2-1 up. Thanks to Vanessa Correa for tweeting the goal!
Lions shoulders dropped as United supporters celebrated a deserved lead given to us by the Gibraltar Under 21 International. As the game petered down to half time there were more scuffles as the players left for the changing rooms, a hangover from the earlier allegations perhaps?
The teams leave the field at HT with United 2-1 up.
The second half kicked off with Lions going all out to find an equaliser. They pushed hard and started to peg United back and the Red and Whites were happy to contain and hold the Lions attacks that though numerous were largely ineffective as they sought to find the killer ball over the top. A weak penalty claim was waved away by the referee as Untied weathered the storm.
Elghobashy replaced Roman who succumbed to an injury and with Ayman in red hot form, United supporters were expecting a 3rd goal. Yet the Egyptian striker played a selfless game and was the first defender in pressing the ball and harrassing the Lions’ playmakers. At the back both Aymen and Erin were commanding in the air batting away the constant missiles being thrown their way.
With Lions’ shift to a 3-5-2 and a tiring midfield Manolo threw on Djoman first and then Pipo to energise the team. Igor’s energy was a welcome boost while Pipo’s quailty was to prove Lions’ undoing. In a late counter attack Pipo put himself through on goal after a clever 1-2 with Elghobashy. As he drove into the area he was felled by a crunching tackle by illustrious veteran Al Greene, or should he change his name to Evergreen! Mr El Yettefti had an easy decision to make as it was a stonewall penalty. He pointed to the spot and there was only going to be one player to take it…
Ayman put it away to the keeper’s left. His third Premier Division goal and his 10th in 8 matches for the club. The final whistle followed shortly after and supporters were left as exhausted as the players on the field. A tremendously exciting game of football that has been marred by some very serious allegations. Yet United finish round 4 in the second position of the table but with Mons Calpe up next the club knows that there are no easy games in this division and the hard work will once again be evident in the traning pitch during the week.
Vi et Animo, Ad Vicotriam