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A youth filled Gibraltar side showed great character and determination bouncing back from Friday’s defeat to Slovenia to grind out a 0-0 result away at Andorra, as captain Roy Chipolina helped his side grind out a clean sheet on the night he earned his 50th cap.

Hot on the heels of a busy schedule which included an intense match away against the aforementioned Slovenia as well as a gruelling travel schedule, Gibraltar put in a massive shift both on and off the field as the technical team as well as the players, used what little preparation time they had in order to put on a much-improved performance on Monday night.

The young transitioning Gibraltar side, which from midfield up were all under the age of 23, started the game on the front foot and almost went ahead in the opening 10 minutes through Kian Ronan.

 

A lovely touch and through ball by Tjay De Barr, who would go on to prove a nuisance for the Andorra defence, set the midfielder through on goal whose low drive past the keeper looked destined to nestle into the bottom corner before it flicked off the outside of the post and out to safety.

Ronan’s chance would go on to be Gibraltar’s best chance of the half, however, Julio’s warriors, who were again without key men Lee Casciaro, Jayce Olivero, Erin Barnett, Liam Walker, Ethan Jolley and Jack Sergeant, kept possession well and controlled the game for most of the first half.

Despite Gibraltar’s hard work and control, Andorra proved that they could be dangerous on the counter attack, specifically thanks to the pace of Alex Martinez.

 

 

 

Having remained largely untroubled for the entirety of the match, Dayle Coleing almost found himself picking the ball out of his own net after a rapid breakaway down the left flank saw Martinez cut inside on the edge of the box and unleash a curling effort that cannoned off of Coleing’s crossbar.

The near chance would prove to be Andorra’s only real effort of the 90 minutes as the much-improved Gibraltar outfit were fittingly solid as a rock at the back and limited space in the midfield thus starving their hosts of a clear path to Coleing’s goal.

With both sides having hit the woodwork in the first half it seemed a certainty that the home fans would be treated to a goal in the second half, and it was Gibraltar who went closest as Julio’s men restarted the game on the front foot.

 

 

Gibraltar’s chance came in the opening five minutes of the half and through a set piece as Graeme Torrilla ghosted in at the far post to meet an Ethan Britto corner.

Torrilla's shot would have certainly rippled the net and opened the scoring at the Estadio Nacional were it not for the quick reflexes of Gomes in the Andorra goal who flung himself low to his left to tip the midfielder's effort round the post.

That would prove to be the most clear-cut chance for either team in the match, however, Gibraltar continuously gave the Andorra defence something to think about in the form of their set pieces, especially through the deliveries of Kenneth Chipolina as well as his long throw-ins that regularly unsettled the home side.   

 

 

With this being said, Andorra would respond to Gibraltar’s set piece threat by bossing possession and slowing the game down, as they successfully isolated De Barr from the rest of his team and got to work on trying to breakthrough Gibraltar’s tightly packed defence.

Despite being crowded out and swarmed by Andorra’s defenders whenever he was in possession, De Barr’s never say die attitude epitomised the passion and desire shown by the team who, under Julio’s guidance, continued to keep Andorra at bay and did so for the remainder of the match.

Having earned a clean sheet and created the majority of clear-cut chances, the result as well as the performance gave Julio and his team plenty to be proud of, not least the attitude and character shown by his players on the pitch as they continue their development.