Match corresponding to the 11th Round of the Gibraltarian Premier Division and played on Friday 11th December at 20:30
Gibraltar United Football Club 0 -2 Europa Football Club
Gibraltar United Football Club
31 Liam Neale
11 Jared Buhagiar
19 Brad Power
23 Kenneth Chipolina
30 David Gallardo
88 Carl Thomas
18 Byron Espinosa
21 Duane Robba
77 Kaylan Rumbo
90 Jamie Currer
8 Robert Montovio (C)
Sean Gilbert on for Jamie Currer
Manolo Nuñez had a very short squad to play about with for the game versus 2nd placed team Europa FC. Liam Neale replaced Chino who was unavailable while injuries to Alan Parker and Andrew Lopez meant starting berths for Duane Robba and Kaylan Rumbo. After getting a very credible 2-0 result in the first round, Nuñez went with a conservative 5-4-1 with Kenneth Chipolina retaining his spot alongside Brad Power and the returning David Gallardo. United were out to make Europa work hard if they wanted something out of the game!
Europa got immediate control of the ball from the off. Though they kept possession for long spells early in the game they created very little in terms of dangerous play in and around the United box. Indeed it was United that had the first sniff of a chance when Robert Montovio broke the offside trap but his shot did not really trouble Arevalo in the Europa goal. As Europa pressed, United’s Catennacio held firm. The line of 5 at the back was marshalling the dangerous Carrion well and both Robba and Rumbo in center midfield were acting as an effective shield for the defence. Indeed, Rumbo was having a blinder of a game with energetic runs, powerful tackles and clever positional play. Yet the green and black hordes came coming. A lucky lob bounced off the crossbar just before we lost Jamie Currer to injury, Sean Gilbert replacing him on the half hour.
Europa had also just taken the lead. A corner had evaded the defenders and was nodded in by Sanchez Perez that seemed to have the freedom of the United area. Galvanised by the goal Europa lionised possession once again but credit to the players in Red and White. Thomas and Espinosa worked the right wing effectively while Jared and Sean did likewise on the left. Europa had to be wary not to let United in as Robert, captain for the night, was constantly seeking to exploit any slip in concentration. As Mr Barcelo brought the first 45 minutes to a close Nuñez could be happy with the effort his troops had put in.
The second half was a facsimile of the first but United showed more ambition. The ball was circulating in the Europa half with a greater frequency than in the first 45 minutes. Byron forced a good save from Arevalo and Chipolina’s long throws caused some consternation among the Europa defenders. Robba and Rumbo once again holding their own in a most effective manner. Europa’s long possessions resulted in long balls and forlorn crosses easily dealt with by Neale and the defence. Mr Barcelo then decided to take center stage. Kaylan was quick to stop a developing Europa counter attack by committing a foul in the center of the park. He made his tackle got up and was ready to receive his booking, the colour of the brandished card caused consternation among supporters as the ref saw fit to send him off. An unfair decision for a player that had been having a tremendous game to that point. If United’s trenches had been deep to that point, that got even deeper! Europa were now clearly in the ascendency and their second goal was a great strike from outside the area by sub Antonio Trujillo. A great strike, no question, but he did find himself in loads of space in center mid! The game petered off to a quiet end from then on but United’s players can find heart in the fact that Europa had to work very hard to earn this victory!