Match corresponding to the 3rd Round of the Gibraltarian Premier Division and played on Wednesday 22nd August 2018 at 20:30. Match report brought to you courtesy of Quantocoin.
Gibraltar United 2 – 1 F.C. Boca Juniors (Gib)
1 Kyle ‘Chino’ Goldwin (C)
2 Xavier Carmona
5 Erin Barnett
4 David Gomez Prieto
3 Gonzalo Guijaro
24 Jamie Bosio
6 Carlos Carrasco
10 Daniel Ponce de Leon
7 Achraf Nait
16 Fran Alvarez Benito
19 German Cortes Narvaez
Alvaro Castiella on for Achraf Nait
Shaun De Los Santos on for Jamie Bosio
Moises Suarez on for Fran Alvarez Benito
Erin Barnett comes back straight into the team following a two match ban carried over from last season. He replaces Aymen Mouehli who is suspended for seeing two yellows in the match against St Joseph’s. First starts for Achraf Nait, who has achieved full fitness and German, fresh from his equaliser last Friday. United gunning for all three points to finish on high before the extended break coming up due to Internationals and the music festival.
Tough, tough game that proves that Boca are finding their feet in the division and the adage of ‘no easy games’ rings true. The first half was a tight affair characterised by United’s long spells of possession but little goal mouth action. Gib Utd wanted the ball from the off and sought to control the tempo of the match by playing it from the back. Boca started an intense press from the half way line that saw both Jamie and Carlos, the latter would go on to have an outstanding match, in a pitched battle.
It was the keepers however that made the two most telling interventions of the half. First it was Chino 5 minutes in that saved a point blank range shot following a mishap between Barnett and Xavi. Then it was Perez Pichardo,not once but twice, in the Boca goal that first saved a Barnett header and then a Ponce shot down low. Achraf showed glimpses of talent with several cuts inside but could not deliver the final article. Indeed United’s players at times seemed to lack any sense of emergency going forward and play was largely slow and lethargic, playing into Boca’s hands that sought to contain and look for the out ball to the dangerous Valdivia.
The second half however was to be far more exciting. The ball flowed quicker and movements were crisp and sharp. German had the first chance, a header that he glanced wide while corner after corner bombarded the Boca goal. However it was far from one way traffic as Boca relied on their toughness and steel to try to look for the back of the United defence and Chino was once again called into action as well as taking a painful challenge with former United player Cantelmi.
A tiring Nait was replaced by Castiella who joined Narvaez up front. It was a telling change by Lucas as he introduced a lot of mobility and directness in the attacking area. Indeed, Alvaro’s first touches were electric and he connected well with Fran on the wing. He was on the pitch a matter of minutes when he was put through followin a touch and go with Fran. A quick shimmy and he put the pall past Pichardo to give United the lead, that on the strength of the second half they deserved. Credit to Boca they fought back hard and as De los Santos came on for his debut, replacing a spent Bosio, they surged forward but with little danger and at times rather precipitated.
Ponce then had a shot from outside the box that clipped the top of the crossbar as United’s expanisve wing play was beginning to tell on the Boca line. Mr Barcelo was forced to resort to his book a large number of times as tackles and unsavoury elements of play began to permeate into the game. Nerves were taut on both sides and despite United’s forward momentum both Erin and Prieto were required to clean up at the back.
German went a long way to settle those nerves with a well taken finish on 80 minutes, his second goal in as many games. It was Castiella who gained the assist as the striker tundered the ball past Pichardo. It seemed as if United had sealed the points and indeed, had the linesman been a bit less precipitous with his flag they could have gone further ahead as two promising counters were thwarted by the flag. De los Santos tried his luck from distance and Fran also squandered a chance late on.
Valdivia, last year’s capocanioneri in Second Division, gave Boca a goal they frankly deserved. It was a lovely move that flumoxed both Prieto and Erin to rifle a shot past Chino who had no chance against the quality of the shot. It meant a tense 4 minutes of injury time but that was to be the last meaningful action of the game as Mr Barcelo duely called time on 94 minutes to leave a grateful United with 3 points.