Match corresponding to the 26th Round of the Gibraltarian Premier Division and played on Saturday 26th May 2018 at 16:00. Match report brought to you courtesy of Turicum Private Bank and Quantocoin.
Gibraltar United 2 – 1 Gibraltar Phoenix F.C.
1 Kyle ‘Chino’ Goldwin (C)
8 Filipe Aguiar
6 Brad Power
5 Erin Barnett
23 Andre Farinha De Oliveira
17 Marco Meireles
15 Aymen Mouelhi
39 Leo Pereyra
20 Michael Negrette
16 Daniel Ponce de Leon
9 Ayman Elghobashy
Alberto Del Rio Fernandez on for Michael Negrette
Filipe Da Cruz Ramalho on for Daniel Ponce de Leon
Manolo fields a team for the last but one time this season knowing that after St Joseph’s won their game on Thursday there is no option but the three points. With Bosio, Baio and Carrasco still missing their is a slight change of formation and personnel as Negrette comes into the starting XI to the detriment of Pipo who drops to the bench where his joined by youngster Max Cottrell who is called up to the senior squad for the first time.
Phoenix once proved to be a very tough opponent in the sweltering heat and the fight they put in today makes one wonder at last week’s 8-0 drubbing at the hands of Europa F.C. United’s goal was clear, 3 points to jump ahead of St Joseph’s once again. As such, United started the stronger, moving the ball around well and patiently waiting to seek an opening.
Phoenix were tightly knit and had moved Pusey into midefield to add some height next to Moreno, and though United had plenty of the ball there was little penetration. Phoenix were hard in the tackle but also quick to moan about every little decision and scuffle which made the initial stages of the game stop and start as thier incessant heckling of referee, Mr Warwick, did allow for the flow of good football.
The one time it did, Marco struck a sweet opener of a goal. He played a clever one-two with Aguiar on the wing and cut inside the defender’s blind side. He set up the shot with a toe poke of his left foot and curled one past Morales and into the top corner with his rigth. An outstanding finish with great quality that left the keeper with no chance. A just reward for our opening 15 minutes or so.
Phoenix shoulders, however did not drop and the match descended into a pitched battle. Mr Warwick was forced to dip into his pocket a number of times as several tackles came close to the line. There was little goal mouth action however and the only clear chance before half time fell to Dani who was left with the keeper to beat only to have any clear and obvious advantage denied by the referee who called play back to an earlier foul, in our favour!
The second half kicked off with Alberto replacing Negrette and as the heat began to take its toll the match began to open up. Morales twice thwarted Ayman on two successive occasions as the Egyptian was begining to find his stride and range. As usual the defenders sought to constant fouling and both centre halves were soon in the ref’s book. Ayman’s persistance paid off around the hour mark. Some good work from Alberto in the middle of the park saw Dani benefit. The latter then threaded a ball of immense quality that put Ayman through. As the defence was left in his wake he rounded the keeper and tapped in his 12th league goal of the season.
Our opponents however took this as cue to press further up the field with abandon. Sub Hernandez had opened their left wing and was carrying substantial danger forward. Chino was increasingly called into action though most of it came in via floated balls and crosses. Credit to Gibraltar Phoenix for wanting to get back in the game and the glimmer of hope sparked into life from the boots of German Narvaez who scored a frankly spectacular goal from almost the same spot that Marco had given us the lead earlier.
As Ferri threw on Gallardo, Manolo subbed the flaking Ponce for Pipo. Nerves were frayed and tensions were running high. As Phoenix continued to press United had two gilt edged chances to put the game to bed. First it was Morales who again saved from Elghobashy and then Pipo whose effort was ruled offside following some sterling work from Aguiar. The game had the potential to turn nasty as Gallardo saw a straight red for punching Farinha following a coming together for a ball.
United also had to survive a very late penalty scare when Chino and the aforementioned Hernandez collided in the area and it looked as if Phoenix had a solid case. Ultimately the incident proved moot as Mr Warwick waved off appeals and motioned for a goal kick, to which he quickly followed with the final whistle. 3 more points and its sets up a final day shoot out with St Joseph’s for third place. Both clubs, however, await the outcome of tomorrow’s Rock Cup Final to see if we move into the final weekend of the season with the third place still alive in terms of a Europa League Place.