Match corresponding to the 1/8 Round of the Division 2 League Cup. Played at the Victoria Stadium on Sunday 23rd November 2014
Gibraltar United Football Club 4 – 1 Boca Juniors (Gib)
Gibraltar United Football Club
1 Kyle ‘Chino’ Goldwin
11 Jared Buhagiar
2 Aaron Collado
15 Carl Thomas
3 Kenneth Chipolina
12 Aden Victor
8 Dylan Mañsco
14 Stefan Cumbo
16 Steven Gilbert
10 Andrew Lopez (C)
9 Lee Muscat
Kaylan Rumbo on for Stefan Cumbo
Aiden Casey on for Steven Gilbert
William Gracia on for Andrew Lopez
Cup football under the floodlights on a rainy November evening in Gibraltar. The opposition Boca Juniors (Gib), that despite their name also have local players filling up their roster. Randal Aldorino clearly stated his intentions in having the League Cup as a serious competition to win by fielding a very strong side. Indeed the two changes between this line up and our last league run out were enforced by injury. Carl Thomas having already substituted the injured Shane Crisp during the last league match and Steven Gilbert replacing the injured Justin Collado. Elsewhere both Aaron Collado and Stefan Cumbo had shaken off knocks to be able to take their places in the starting line up that, though looking very much like a conventional 4-4-2, saw Chipolina play slightly ahead of the defensive line.
United started quick, very quick with the four players playing on the wings quick to get forward into attacking positions and push the Boca defence back onto their 6 yard box. Boca had little by means of response in these early stages of the game and it was clear that they could not cope with Muscat’s sheer power. Indeed, having drawn a blank against Magpies, Lee was keen to get his name on the score sheet. Looking sprightly and sharp he linked well early on with Andrew Lopez as well as playing in both wingers with clever balls. Yet his goal was classic Muscat. Head down, pile driving forwards, his deft feet left one defender after another in his wake. He unleashed a powerful shot that thundered off the bar leaving Alvarez in the Boca goal clueless as to where the ball had gone. It, meanwhile had bounced back into the net. United 1-0 up, Muscat back in among the goals.
Boca looked somewhat shell shocked as play resumed. United went forwards again and the game took an ugly turn at times with some hard tackles flying in from both sides. Referee, Rojas, had his hands full and should have booked one of our players for retaliation after a typically bullish hustle for the ball in the center of the park. Yet Stefan Cumbo graced us with a moment of sheer class and beauty amidst all the hard tackling and graft. Aden Victor got fouled as he approached the left side of the Boca area. The ref gives the foul. Up steps Cumbo to score the most delightful of placed free kicks beyond the reach of the keeper. A sweeter ball has yet to be struck this season and both sets of supporters applauded the goal, Stefan being a former Boca Juniors player himself. United were coasting at this point with Boca resorting to long balls to a very hard working Berrack up front.
Chances fell to Buhagiar and Lopez but both were saved by the opposing keeper. Boca center half, Crawford was also forced to carry out a dramatic off the line clearance as we approached half time. It appeared that Boca could not cope with United’s blitz. Yet luck was going to throw a bone their way. With the half almost over a hopeful high punt forward hung in the air as Chino Goldwin positioned himself for the catch. Be it the weather, the greasy ball or even the ease with which Chino should have caught the ball something unsettled him as he uncharacteristically fumbled the ball.Boca forward Suarez was quick on hand to pounce upon the mistake to breath in some hope to a side that often looked at sea during the first 45 minutes.
The second half started nervously for United as we lost the ball needlessly on a number of occasions and though Boca showed little attacking prowess the tight scoreline in a cup match situation meant squeaky bum time was on the cards for the United staff if a second goal was not found. Aden Victor run his socks off and Carl Thomas, despite a booking, a ball of endless energy on the right flank. Injury woes however struck again as Cumbo felt the same knee he’d injured last week go. Kaylan Rumbo, who later tried an audacious overhead kick, quickly run on the pitch as a sub and soon followed by Aiden Casey who replaced a waning Gilbert. Nervous times ahead but Captain Andrew Lopez did what good captain’s do. They grab ahold of their ship and steer it to safety. If he had been guilty of perhaps over cooking in the first half he certainly was clinical in two key moments in the second. He tapped in a scrambled effort for his first and then gave a master class in poise and control as he rifled in a shot to beat Alvarez in his near post. It was a difficult chance to convert as the ball was bouncing on a zippy surface and the angle closing all the time.
That goal settled the game at 4-1. Lopez himself being the final sub and it was great to see Willy Gracia back on the field of play after an injury lay off. Gibraltar United march on to the 1/4 finals where Mons Calpe await after they saw off Gibraltar Phoenix yesterday. United’s next match is against….Boca Juniors in the league a fortnight from today, though the Reserves have two outings this coming week against Mons Calpe Reserves and Magpies Reserves.