Gibraltar’s Men’s National Team bowed out at the Victoria Stadium in style last night, as they made it two wins in a row, beating Andorra 1-0 courtesy of yet another trademark Roy Chipolina header in front of a sold-out crowd.
Gibraltar started the better of the two sides, with the defence holding solid, while their attack, powered by the constant running of Tjay De Barr and Ethan Britto, continually asked questions of the Andorra defence.
Britto in particular, who was unfortunate not to end the night on the score-sheet, was in fine form himself, not just full of running up and down Gibraltar’s left flank, but also proving to be a creative outlet and dangerous threat in the final third.
This threat from the left-winger almost materialised in the form of an assist as, in a corner, the young winger flicked the ball towards the back post where Chipolina was lying in wait.
Chipolina directed his effort towards goal only to see it cannon off the post and seemingly out of danger, however, seeing the ball fall at the feet of Liam Walker, the Gibraltar captain got himself back onside before connecting strongly with a back post cross to thump Gibraltar ahead in the 34th minute.
As the ball hit the back of the net, the packed crowd at the Victoria Stadium roared while their captain, whose goal put him level with Walker atop Gibraltar’s goal-scoring charts, wheeled away in celebration.
Gibraltar would remain in control for the remainder of the half, going into the break leading 1-0 and looking comfortable.
When the second half began it was more of the same for Gibraltar, with De Barr, as he had done against Liechtenstein and earlier in the first half, proving to be a nuisance for the Andorran defence who were unable to cope with his speed, strength and directness in the final third.
It wasn’t just De Barr who was making life difficult for the visitors, as Gibraltar’s defence, who were marshalled expertly by Graeme Torrilla and Louie Annesley in midfield, were offering up no chances for the Andorran attack, with the centre-back pairing of Chipolina and Bernardo Lopes looking just as comfortable with the ball at their feet as they were heading away any danger.
Although the scoreline would remain unchanged, Gibraltar went close on a host of occasions, specifically through Walker and Britto, with the former twice seeing his long-range efforts tipped onto the crossbar.
With this being said, Gibraltar was made to suffer for their victory. In the final minutes of the match, Andorra piled on the pressure which resulted in Dayle Coleing coming to Gibraltar’s rescue, as he showed great reactions to spread himself and parry a close-range strike that looked destined for the back of the net.
The save all but guaranteed the victory, with the Victoria Stadium crowd letting out a huge roar moments later as the referee put his whistle to his lips and blew for full-time.
The victory not only made it two wins in a row for Julio Ribas and his men following Wednesday’s triumph over Liechtenstein, it also ensured that Gibraltar bid farewell to the Victoria Stadium with a win befitting of its historic status in Gibraltar football.
Gibraltar’s Men’s National Team will now return to Faro, and to the Estadio Algarve, where they will play out their home fixtures in next year’s UEFA EURO Qualifiers.
Gibraltar’s Men’s National Team will be home soon.