Fans returned to the Victoria Stadium tonight and football was put to one side before kick-off as both the Gibraltar and the Netherlands teams lined up at the centre circle to remember and honour those who lost their lives during the Covid-19 pandemic.
As expected, Netherlands dominated the opening exchanges of the game, keeping the ball well and playing around the solid Gibraltar XI that was sent out by Julio Ribas.
Despite having most of the possession the visiting team were struggling to test Dayle Coleing in the Gibraltar goal who proved to be more than up to the task once again when called upon in the 15th minute to deny Steven Berghuis from point blank range.
With this being said it was not all one-way traffic at the Victoria Stadium as Gibraltar did test the Netherlands backline on occasion as Tjay De Barr proved to be continuing thorn in the sides of Matthijs De Ligt and Daley Blind.
Of course, with all their possession, Netherlands began to carve out better chances as the minutes ticked on and the best chance of the half fell to Denzel Dumfries who somehow managed to head wide despite having the goal at his mercy.
Netherlands continued to press the home side who again required the intervention of Coleing to keep the score 0-0 as he dived low and to his right to deny a goal-bound strike from distance from Gini Wijnaldum mid-way through the half.
The Netherlands continued to bombard the Gibraltar backline and again called Coleing into action towards the end of the half as he denied the visitors yet again with a quick reaction stop down to his left.
Despite Coleing’s heroics the visitors went into the break leading as Berghuis clipped a curling effort into the top corner in the 41st minute.
There was some controversy around the goal as the Feyenoord man looked to be offside, however, the linesman kept his flag down and Netherlands went into the break 1-0 up.
The start to the second half saw Gibraltar build on their positive first half performance as they looked to press Netherlands higher up the pitch.
Gibraltar arguably should have had a penalty also in the opening minutes as a mazey run for De Barr saw him brought down in the Netherlands penalty area by Blind however the referee saw nothing wrong with the challenge and played on.
Despite Gibraltar’s impressive start to the half, the visiting side quickly turned on the afterburners in the second half and within a ten-minute period made the score 0-5.
The second goal of the game came in the 55th minute as Luuk De Jong arrived quickly at the near post and slotted calmly past Coleing who was unable to deny the Sevilla frontman.
Netherlands quickly had a third goal in rather cruel circumstances as a Memphis Depay free-kick cannoned off of De Barr and ended up in the back of the net, before Wijnaldum powered home the fourth seconds later from inside the box.
It went from bad to worse for Gibraltar in the 64th minute as the visitors had a fifth through Donyell Malen. Berghuis was slipped through on goal and played a pass across goal for his teammate to simply tap in.
After the fifth Gibraltar managed to halt the flow of away goals, however, the bad news didn’t end there as Coleing was forced off clutching his hamstring and was replaced by Kyle Goldwin.
As was the case with Coleing, Goldwin was immediately called into action and proved to be more than up to the task as he denied Netherlands on multiple occasions.
Unfortunately, the substitute was unable to keep a clean sheet as he found himself picking the ball out of his own net in the 85th minute after Van De Beek bobbled in a sixth.
Unfortunately, Gibraltar was kicking off again before the referee blew for full-time as Memphis Depay’s near post effort squeezed past Goldwin.
It was almost eight in injury time as Ryan Babel latched onto a loose ball in the box, but Goldwin reacted quickly, stretching high to deny the former Liverpool man.
Netherlands continued to press forward well into injury time as they looked to increase what could be much needed goal-difference but they could not stretch their lead to eight.
Gibraltar is next in action in the FIFA World Cup Qualifiers in September when they again have 3 games in the space of a week:
- September 1 – Latvia (away)
- September 4 – Turkey (home)
- September 7 – Norway (away)