Match corresponding to the 17th Round of the Gibraltarian Premier Division and played on Monday 2nd April 2018 at 12:00. Match report brought to you courtesy of Turicum Private Bank and Quantocoin
Gibraltar United 1 – 0 Gibraltar Phoenix FC
1 Kyle ‘Chino’ Goldwin (C)
23 Andre De Oliveira Farinha
15 Aymen Mouelhi
5 Erin Barnett
8 Filipe Aguiar
24 Jamie Bosio
40 Carlos Carrasco
20 Michael Negrette
10 Filipe Da Cruz Ramalho
17 Marco Meireles
9 Ayman Elghobashy
Daniel Ponce de Leon on for Filipe Da Cruz Ramalho
Leo Pereyra on for Jamie Bosio
Alberto Del Rio Fernandez on for Michael Negrette
First match after the International break and United make several forced changes to the line up. In Power’s absence Mouehli returns to partner Erin in defence while Baio starts a two match ban. Pipo gets a rare starting berth while Ponce de Leon drops to the bench where Steffan Cardona has been called up for the first time this season.
Strange kick off time in the Easter midday sun as Gibraltar United take to the field after the International break. 3 points the objective in this game following St Jospeh’s win earlier in the weekend. Questions abounded about the kick off time, would the players coma back tired and so on? Facing us a very tough Phoenix side whose 9 men battled Mons Calpe to a valuable point last Wednesday.
Both teams started the game lethargically but is was Phoenix who would dominate the first 30 minutes by executing a high press forcing United into a series of mistakes and nervous play. That said United had the only clear chance of the first passages of play when Elghobashy was put through by Meireles only to slip at the crucial moment and skying his shot way over the bar.
Phoenix then went on to play both the better football and win the physical battle for the next 30 mins. There is no doubt that they had come to battle for the points to aid them in their relegation battle and were up for the fight. The little football played created little in terms of danger for Chino to deal with but it was telling of the pressure that they were exerting that Barnett, Mouelhi and Carrasco had the most touches in a United shirt in the first half. Furthermore United were moving the ball slowly across the pitch as the heat began to take a toll. Phoenix were quick to pounce and close players down forcing United’s players into nervous mistakes.
Whatever little motion United made forward was dealt with magnificiently by former United defenders Pusey and Gallardo. Morales in goal had yet to test his gloves. As their energy levels dropped United were able to create two openings, the second being the decisive one. First it was Bosio who headed a Negrette cross just wide. The Under 21 International was having a quiet game but his next contribution was key. He drifted a ball over the heads of Gallardo and Pusey and as Morales came to claim Elghobashy made his move. Catching the keeper in No Man’s Land he rolled the ball into an empty net to the relief of all in Red and White and Negrette grabbing another assist; Ayman his 8th of the season. More so when Mr Reoch called time on the first half a few minutes later; smash and grab!
The second half kicked off with Phoenix once again pressing high and strongly. Though more football was played it was also a very physical encounter with a number of players being booked and having to receive attention from their respective physios. Pipo and Meireles tried to widen and expand the play while Ayman ploughed the loan furrow up front. Barnett, Carrasco and Mouelhi were kept busy through out and indeed Erin cleared a ball off the line when Phoenix had all but equalised.
Manolo looked to the bench to inject new energy but it was a tiring Elghobashy who had the best chances to settle the game. He forced Morales into two excellent saves to keep his team in the game, the second one in particular was of outstanding quality as he somehow got his hand to the ball as it was almost past him to send it to a corner. Gallardo also thundered a shot off the crossbar in a tense last 15 minutes of action that could have resulted in a 1-1 or a 3-0 scoreline. It was a jubilant set of United players that greeted the full time whistle after 5 minutes of extra time. Gibraltar Phoenix should count themselves unfortunate not to get something out of the game but United’s defence stood tall and proud in the heat to see the game off and gain three valuable points to keep us on par with St Jospeh’s.
Attention now turns to Friday Night Football and Europa FC, kick off 20:30.