Match corresponding to the 14th Round of the Gibraltarian 2nd Division and played on Thursday 19th February 2015 at 20:00
Gibraltar United Football Club 0 – 1 Gibraltar Scorpions FC
Gibraltar United Football Club
13 Joe Borg
11 Jared Buhagiar
3 Lee Buhagiar
2 Aaron Collado
88 Carl Thomas
89 Aden Victor
25 Mark Casciaro
22 Aziz Aitlachen
77 Kaylan Rumbo
7 Justin Collado
10 Andrew Lopez (C)
Evan Coleing on for Mark Casciaro
Shane Howe on for Kaylan Rumbo
It has taken 14 matches and 6 months but we fell to our first league defeat today in a lackluster and dour match in which the referee and the opposition play acting took center stage. With Muscat and Mañasco still suspended Andrew Lopez led the line up front on his own with Casciaro, Aitlachen and Rumbo supporting him from midfield. Jared Buhagiar slotted back into the left back berth after his injury lay off and Lee Buhagiar returned at center back after resting for the Mons game. Joe Borg was a late replacement as Chino was carrying an injury that he aggravated in the warm up. Coming out with one striker in such a pivotal game seemed to suggested a draw would have been a satisfactory result for the manager.
The game started poorly as both sides jostled for position and showed each other some respect. That said it was Scorpions who had the first chance, but in Joe Borg we have a solid keeper with safe hands and easily dealt with tame shots from distance. Lee Buhagiar, an immense rock at the back, had a tremendous game from the off. His positioning was excellent, his head a magnet to all balls floated in. Vocal in encouragement to his team mates he showed excellent leadership qualities on the field.
20 mins in and the referee starts to take a hand in affairs. A ruckus on the far touchline saw a number of players wade in with the usual handbags. Warwick brandished a yellow in the direction of Scorpions Number 7 Gomez and play resumed. Nothing extraordinary in that, but it was a second event involving Gomez that would prove to be decisive. Chances were few and far between as both teams battled it out in midfield. Eager to create something Mark Casciaro deftly turned the aforementioned Gomez. With the Scorpions player beaten he callously pulled on Mark’s shirt to bring him down. A clear yellow if there ever was one. Why the referee bottled it and did not send the player off is beyond everyone’s comprehension. He certainly did not show any hesitation to brandish a second yellow in Aziz’s face late in the second half though. Interesting.
As the teams emerged for the second half it was more of the same dour affair. In all honesty Scorpions had the fair share of possession but lacked any killer bite. United’s resolute pair of centre halves saw to that! Former College Europa player to Tostao however blew the clearest chance of the game wide when put clear on goal.
The decisive moment came on the 80th minute. A good through ball to the wing followed by a decent cross found the ball at the feet of Gomez, he of the nonexistent second yellow card, who looked a meter offside. Using his pace he left Aaron behind to rifle the ball past Joe Borg. Despite protestations, rather raucous ones from the crowd, the goal stood. Things went from bad to worse as 2 minutes later Aziz was shown as second yellow as he showed his frustration at blatant Scorpions play acting. I guess footballing cultures are different all around the world and we are more used to an English fair play culture as opposed to one where conning the ref is endemic. Pity the refs always seem to fall for it. Surprising how the second yellow didn’t hide as it did earlier with Gomez.
With 10 men on the pitch and energy levels dropping Scorpions took the 3 points home. Coleing and Howe, a belated second striker, came on too late to have any effect on the outcome. However, with a game in hand and our direct rivals to play each other as well as United, we are still in pole position but well done to Scorpions for doing what they had to do and scrounge out a result. Minds now firmly on Europa Point and the next match.
‘Vi Et Animo, Ad Victoram’