Match corresponding to the 13th round of the Gibraltarian Second Division and played on Monday 9th February 2015 at the Victoria Stadium
Gibraltar United Football Club 4 -1 FC Olympique 13
Gibraltar United Football Club
1 Kyle ‘Chino’ Goldwin
21 Dylan Mañasco
2 Aaron Collado
3 Lee Buhagiar
88 Carl Thomas
89 Aden Victor
77 Kaylan Rumbo
25 Mark Casciaro
7 Justin Collado
10 Andrew Lopez (C)
9 Lee Muscat
Aziz Aitlachen for Kaylan Rumbo
Evan Coleing for Dylan Mañasco
Stefan Cumbo on for Mark Casciaro
A bitterly cold easterly wind literally froze the huddled spectators that had gathered for the 18:15 kick off at the Stadium. Though the temperature felt sub-zero the match was anything but. United presented a somewhat atypical line up with Dylan Mañasco asked to put in a shift at left back due to injury to Jared Buhagiar. Mark Casciaro made his full debut after already playing as a sub and in the reserves. Kaylan Rumbo kept his midfield berth while Lee Muscat comes back into the side after fully recovering from his injury. Aziz Aitlachen, a January transfer form Premier side Lynx FC was on the subs bench.
The game started briskly enough with United quickly moving the ball out to the flanks. Justin Collado looked hungry from the off. His trademark powerful runs constantly getting him into space behind the O13 left back. Mark Casciaro showed his class and vision in the center of the park as he dropped deep to gather the ball then finding those spaces necessary to receive the ball in good positions to develop play. The strong easterly wind also played a major role in these early stages as the ball tended to hang in the air as either team launched a long ball or goal kick. These conditions meant that there was little chance to exploit Lee Muscat’s pace in behind what looked a pretty static defence line. The breakthrough came on 28 minutes when Carl Thomas weaseled his way through the right wing and rifled in a low shot. With Lee Muscat hovering around the penalty spot. Muñoz in the O13 goal inexplicably handled the ball into his own net. A peculiar OG if ever there was one! That’s when the match exploded.
As Lee run into the net to pick up the ball, conscious of the fact that our direct rivals were netting hatful after hatful of goals he wanted the game to resume quickly, something was said as he charged the O13 keeper. Heads met and both players shoved each other. As team mates of both began to congregate in waded referee Stewart Bonavia to brandish a red card in Lee Muscat’s direction. As supporters in the stand were expecting the same punishment to be dished out to Muñoz the surprise was total when Bonavia decided that the Olympique goalie only merited a yellow. The first in a myriad of perplexing decisions! The ref did not have a good game by any stretch of the imagination.
Half time followed with little goal action as United scrambled to readjust to playing with 10 on the field. As the whistle went to end the first half players gathered around the referee and there seemed to be some shoving with the opposing team as well. Temperatures on the field were much higher than in the atmosphere and fireworks were expected in the second half as O13 would no doubt come out all guns blazing to capitalise on their one man advantage.
United proved to be more resilient than anything Olympique could do however. The numerical disadvantage seemed to have focused United as the boys in red and white played their best 45 minutes of football since the Christmas break. Casciaro moved the ball around exquisitely while in Lee Buhagiar, Gib Utd have a solid rock hard defender that takes no prisoners. Justin Collado provided a useful outlet as his speed and trickery kept the 11 men of O13 on the back foot. Andrew Lopez led the pressing from the front line and the inexhaustible Carl Thomas chased after every ball and made every tackle. Rumbo and Victor supported Mark while Aaron remained as sure as always to center the defence and marshal the rear line.
Aziz Aitlachen made his debut with 55 minutes gone on the clock and he immediately brought more poise and control to our midfield. His style of play is elegant but simple making things easy but effective. With the introduction of Evan Coleing a few minutes later it was clear that we had more class on the field than our opponents. The fact that Chino had no saves to make and the chances were piling up against Muñoz meant the writing was on the wall. 60 minutes in Lee Buhagiar thundered in a half volley to get his first goal for the club. In all honesty it was what United deserved as our 10 men were clearly better that their 11.
New impetus and energy flowed through our ranks. Evan Coleing in particular looked sharp and lively. He had a very good opportunity to score, forcing Muñoz into a save and fed in some clever balls to team mates in space. Indeed it was in one clever break thorough in which he sped in between the two opposing center halves that he was fouled inside the area as he was about to shoot. Clear penno and even the ref couldn’t get this one wrong. Up stepped Mark Casciaro to put away the spot kick with aplomb. His first goal for the club and a just reward for a selfless performance. The tiring goal scorer was replaced by Stefan Cumbo. Stefan could have earned himself a brace especially following one dazzling run from deep when he left the whole of the 013 team in his wake. His finishing unfortunately was not of the same standard as the run and his tame shot was gratefully gathered by the keeper. Justin Collado however had no issues with his finishing as he totally blasted in United’s fourth goal after leaving the left back for dead for the umpteenth time in the game. Olympique bagged a consolation goal with the score at 3-0 when Lee Graham capitalised on a mistake by Chino.
3 valuable points that take us back to the top, Angels FC having gone top yesterday. We still have one game in hand but our next 3 league fixtures will be crucial in determining the destination of the title. Scorpions, Europa Point and Angels in that order. Before that however we have the no small matter of the 1/4 Finals of the Second Division League Cup versus Mons Calpe FC on Friday at 8pm. Hope to see supporters in the stands cheering the lads on!