Match corresponding to the 18th Round of the Gibraltarian Premier Division and played on Friday 6th April at 20:30. Match report brought to you courtesy of Turicum Private Bank and Quantocoin.
Gibrlatar United 2 – 0 Europa F.C.
1 Kyle ‘Chino’ Goldwin
23 Andre De Oilveira Farinha
15 Aymen Mouelhi
5 Erin Barnett
8 Filipe Aguiar
39 Leo Pereyra
24 Jamie Bosio
40 Carlos Carrasco
20 Michael Negrette
17 Marco Meireles
9 Ayman Elghobashy
Alberto Del Rio Fernandez on for Filipe Aguiar
Filipe Da Cruz Ramalho on for Leo Pereyra
Javier Cantelmi on for Ayman Elghobashy
With Power still absent United’s list of absentees grows larger as Ponce De Leon is suffering from an injury in training and Baio serves the last game of his suspension. Leo comes back into the starting XI in detriment of Pipo who drops to the bench in anticipation of the physical battle with Europa. Cantelmi and Minni earn a spot on the bench.
What a game of football! Tension, drama, goals the lot. United came into the game following the hard won victory over Phoenix while Europa had beaten Man 62 meaning both teams were in good form. With high stakes at play for both teams Manolo set out a game plan that would hopefully see the first win ever against Europa.
The game started brightly enough with both sides getting into the groove quickly, as opposed to the lethargy last Monday. United had Aguiar, Farinha and Meireles while Europa had the ever sharp Kike as their most effective players in the opening exchanges. The tone of the match was set early. United allowing Europa to have the ball in their half and then pressing as a unit as of the half way line. With Elghobashy ready to spring into the attack the 5 midfield players had an almost flawless game.
The first chances fell to Europa with Kike flashing a shot wide and with Chino safely gathering a Quillo shot minutes later. Though Europa were shading the possession stats at this point they were not really putting the United goal under any real pressure. Indeed Elghobashy was to give Europa their first scare in a usual trademark burst of pace and power he run in behind Belfortti but sent his shot wide. Ayew then cleared another Ayman effort off the line but United where already one up by then courtesy of a piece of sheer brillance by Michael Negrette, surely the leading contender for Young Player of the Season.
He already has a long range stunner to his name and tonight’s effort was its equal. Receiving the ball out on the left wing he had the briefest of glances up to spot Camara slighty off his line. He wrapped his right foot around the ball in that Beckhamesque manner he has and sent in a rocket of a ball that did not stop until it had sailed past the stanchion and hit the net on the inside of the goal. A calcualted and placed shot that one runs out of superlatives to describe. ‘Take a bow son, take a bow’ (again).
Europa looked stunned. Yet they qucikly recovered and tried to break through the Red and White defence. Erin and Aymen were marshalling the back line and Chino was the equal to everything thrown at him. Once particularly tricky shot almost crept in but was kept out by a combination of the keeper’s hand and the post. It was clear that, despite the vociferous Europa appeals, the full circumference of the ball had not crossed the line.
With half time beckoning, United sought the ball and with Leo, Jamie and Carlos in control they saw out the remaining minutes until Mr Warwick called time. United in front and from the measure of play deservedly so. Europa had it all to do in the second half.
They started with a double substitution with the deadly Carrenño coming on to add his firepower to Kike up front. However United had also come out with the bit in their teeth. Meireles was to go and have an excellent 45 minutes and Farinha too would add to his excellent performance in the first half. United were showing a tremendous composure to keep to Manolo’s gameplan that was snuffing out the space for Europa’s stikers. All good attack play is based in a solid defence and tonight, bar one or two moments, United’s was as solid as it can get.
One normally associates Ayman Elghobashy with goal scoring but tonight he also demonstrated sacrifice and vision. He is always up for the fight and despite a very harsh booking for alleged simulation early on and an injury scare he showed the supporters at the stadium what he is capable off. Showing pace and strength he won the sprint with Belfortti and arrowed into the area. Driven slightly wide by the covering defender he skipped past the incoming tackle, lifted his head and delivered a pin point cross to the onrushing Jamie Bosio that had made a lung busting 40 meter run from midfield. He made the sweetest of contacts with the ball to send it into the roof of the net and send United supporters into ecstasy as he doubled our lead with just over 30 minutes to go.
The Europa bench responded immediately with Joselinho being thrown into the fray, the Green and Blacks with three strikers on the pitch now. Yet nothing of real danger was created as frustration began to creep into Europa’s play and more and more wayward long balls were sent forward. United even had the chance to score a third as Marco found Negrette during a counter attack only for Camara to paw the resulting shot away for a corner. United had so effectively snuffed out Europa’s strengths that the game ebbed out without any real scare on the United goal. Tactically astute and spot on and the attitude of the players was a solid 10/10. An immense morale booster ahead of another crucial game against Mons Calpe on Tuesday. St Joseph’s play Lincoln tomorrow as the battle for third place heats up.