Match corresponding to the 16th Round of the Gibraltarian 2nd Divison and played on Thrusday 5th March 2015 at 18:15
Gibraltar United Football Club 1 -0 Angels Football Club
Gibraltar United Football Club
13 Joe Borg
69 Adrian Lopez
11 Jared Buhagiar
3 Lee Buhagiar
89 Aden Victor
25 Mark Casciaro
21 Dylan Mañasco
22 Aziz Aitlachen
10 Andrew Lopez (C)
7 Justin Collado
9 Lee Muscat
Stefan Cumbo on for Aziz Aitlachen
Kaylan Rumbo on for Adrian Lopez
A strong and cold easterly, un levante de lo buenos, greeted players and fans, who had gathered in numbers, gathered in the stands and on the pitch. Aaron Collado’s one match ban for accumulation of yellow cards forced manager Ian Mañasco into a defensive reshuffle. Jared Buhagiar moved into the center half to partner Lee Buhagiar. Aden Victor moved out to left back and Adrian Lopez came into right back. Joe Borg also kept goal which meant that regulars Carl Thomas and Kyle ‘Chino’ Goldwin were relegated to the bench. Aziz Aitlachen returned in centre mid with the big guns all leading the line. United set out in a 4-3-3 formation designed to exploit Andrew’s and Justin’s pace on the wings and wide areas. Angels FC, though a physically imposing side lack pace and United sought to exploit this.
The wind played a crucial role since the moment the match kicked off, indeed the ball rolled away from the center spot before the ref blew his whistle. United, however went onto the front foot from the off. The Angels FC left back, Contreras, knew he was in for a torrid time the first time Justin got on his bike and left him for dead eating his dust. Yet Angels are a quite imposing physical side and the game degenerated into a pitch battle in midfield where Dylan, Mark and Aziz presented a mixture of class on the ball and sheer guts and determination against strong Angels players like Ndiaga Kane and Moreno. Our players persevered and it was United with the first chance of the game when an Aziz shot from middle distance left Mateo Perez in the Angels goal watch the ball fizz past his post.
Chances before half time were few and far between but our chances centred around the powerhouse that is Lee Muscat. Pace and power that attracted tackles leaving his team mates free from marking. A scare just before half time saw an Angels goal chalked off the scoreboard after the officials spotted an offside position. Ref, Mr Warwick blew for half time. The tension among United supporters were palpable totally aware of the high stakes involved in this match, a 6 pointer in all essence.
United were quick off the mark in the second half. With the wind at their backs the offensive impetus was with the lads in red and white. Our midfield 3 had clearly won the battle and the ball was moving quickly and effectively towards our advanced areas. Lee Muscat was starting to grab the game by the scruff of the neck. The Angels defence could not cope with his sheer devilry with the ball. In a lighting break he left his marker behind and served a delicious ball to Justin Collado with only the keeper to beat. He unfortunately scuffed his shot and saw his effort sail over the bar. Credit to Justin and team that heads didn’t drop rather onwards they surged. Muscat had his chances but so did Angels. With United caught upfield, a quick ball launched forward and a shot on goal brilliantly handled by Joe Borg in goal. A timely reminder to keep the back tight as we surged forward.
Lee Muscat was the next United player to exhibit profligacy in front of goal. With roles reversed Justin delivered a ball on a plate that Lee blazed over the crossbar. A miss that was hard to believe bearing in mind the quality of the player. Justin himself had another excellent chance that blazed past the post. Mañasco moved his bench and Cumbo came on for Aziz. He immediately got stuck in and showed his class with the typical touches we have been accustomed to see from Stefan. Hearts in mouths once again as Lee Buhagiar was denied an offside goal on the 81st minute. Tension in the stands, nerves at fraying point.
The pivotal moment of the match came on the 89th mintue. With United totally launched to the attack Lee Buhagiar was felled in the area. Mr Warwick did not hesitate to point to the spot and cue protests and shuffling in and around the referee. There was no hesitation at all from Lee Muscat. As the chaos enveloped around him he tucked the ball under his arm and stood patiently by the spot. Would his misses haunt him? Would he fluff his lines? Supporters could not even watch as Muscat took his run up, eyed the keeper and blasted the ball squarely down the middle of the goal. The Angles keeper saw the ball fly past him and one could see the fight droop out of the Angels players. A telling blow not only in this match but possibly in the destination of the title. Never has such a final whistle been so eagerly awaited than the one today at around 20:04!!!
United go back top with a game in hand and 3 points clear. With all our direct rivals to play each other we are in pole position for the run in, but this is far from over. Minds now on FC Magpies on the 15th March
‘Vi Et Animo, Ad Victoriam‘