Match corresponding to the 27th Round of the Gibraltarian Premier Division and played on Saturday 2nd June 2018 at 20:00. Match report brought to you courtesy of Turicum Private Bank and Quantocoin.
Gibraltar United 1 – 2 Europa F.C.
1 Kyle ‘Chino’ Goldwin (C)
8 Filipe Aguiar
15 Aymen Mouelhi
5 Erin Barnett
23 Andre De Oliveira Farinha
39 Leo Pereyra
24 Jamie Bosio
40 Carlos Carrasco
16 Daniel Ponce de Leon
17 Marco Meireles
9 Ayman Elghobashy
Yalany Baio on for Leo Pereyra
Michael Negrette on for Jamie Bosio
The last game of the season and the ultimate prize of Europa League football is at stake. As expected Bosio and Carrasco are straight back into the XI following a two match ban for accumulation while Baio is fit enough only for a spot of the bench. Manolo comes out all guns blazing knowing that a win assures third spor irregardless of the result in the Lincoln St Joseph’s match that kicks off at 18:00
Photo Credited to Neil Wilson
Alas it was not to be. St Joseph’s did what they had to do against a depleted and lethargic Lincoln and made sure that only a win would suffice. United kicked off knowing that and went immediately on the front foot against a full strength Europa. Chances were few in the inital exchanges but that was simpy the calm before the storm; the storm that broke 20 minutes in when Mouelhi came up for a corner from the back. The ball was floated in from the left and there rose Aymen to place the ball beyond the keeper and into the net; United in the promised land and it all looked rosy.
Photo credit to Neil Wilson
The goal woke Europa up and fans were treated to a great game of football for the remaining 25 minutes of the half as both teams ebbed back and forth. Chino made one excellent intervention from Kike as he broke from deep but it was a defensive misjudgement that allowed Europa to equalise 5 minutes before half time as Garro tapped into an empty net. Mr Warwick brought the game to its midway point with everything still in play, but not before denying Elghobashy a clear penalty shout after he was clattered by Muñoz in the box.
The second half turned into a pitched battle during which the referee lost control at times. Tackles were flying in, players were sent off (one apiece), the officials heckled. Tensions were running high. Europa hit the crossbar, Ponce smashed one off the upright. Elghobashy came close; it was heart racing stuff. Chino made an excellent save down low, in summary a belter of a game!
Photo Credit to Neil Wilson
The crucial moment of the game was shrouded in controversy, something that seems to pursue this team of officials. With United seeking a goal and holding a high line Kike was put through with a ball launched over the top from deep. He looked offisde as there was clear daylight between the defence and the striker but the linesman’s flag remained down. Kike finished the move off with the class he has accustumed us too but it was the final nail in the coffin of our hopes of finishing third. Supporters in the stands certainly let their feelings know to the officials as they marched off at full time. However, one must remember that European qualification was always in our hands and we came up short at the last time of asking.
What cannot be allowed to happen is for the shine to be removed from a simply fantastic campaign that has seen a team jump from 7th to 4th and more than double its point tally. It has defeated every team in the league at least once and reached a cup semi final. All this while gelling a large number of new players. Though the Europa League would have been the icing on the cake United supporters know that a most solid and most professional and dedicated foundation has been laid. As we drift off for the Summer our minds are all ready on next season and its mid August kick off. Season review and stats will soon follow. Until next time!
Vi et Animo, Ad Victoriam