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The Victoria Stadium was treated to a promising attacking Gibraltar performance last night as our World Cup Qualifying campaign was brought to a close against Latvia.

Despite the eventual 3-1 loss on the night, however, Gibraltar performed admirably in both attack and defence, as Julio Ribas’ men proved a handful in attack while also being tough to break down in defence.  

As soon as the match kicked off Gibraltar’s attacking intent was clear to see and on the six-minute mark they were ahead through Liam Walker.

Starting with a strong tackle by Louis Annesley in the middle of the park, Tjay De Barr picked up the loose ball before shrugging off a couple of defenders and charging forward. De Barr continued onwards deep into the Latvia half before playing Walker into the box who himself would skip pass two Latvia defenders before slamming the ball into the back of the net to make it 1-0.

Having assisted Walker’s goal, De Barr would continue causing Latvia all kinds of problems in the opening exchanges of the half as the away side struggle to deal with the combative style and close dribbling of the Wycombe Wanderers striker.

With this being said, Latvia would gradually grow into the game and in the 24th minute they equalised through Gutkovskis as he latched onto a Uldrikis knockdown to volley the ball into the bottom corner.

Having equalised, Latvia would go on to boss possession and began working away at getting the go-ahead goal, which almost came on the half hour mark were it not for an incredible reflex save by Dayle Coleing who denied Gutkovskis from grabbing a second.

Unfortunately for Gibraltar, the equaliser was not the only negative of the first half, as just before the break De Barr, who had been the subject of recurring heavy Latvian challenges, was forced off clutching his shoulder.  

Despite the absence of De Barr, Gibraltar started the second half on the front-foot and looking to press high.

 

Just as was the case in the first half thought, Latvia clawed back control of the game and netted their second goal in the 55th minute when Uldrikis this time latched onto a Dubra knockdown to send the ball bobble into the net to make it 2-1.

Latvia’s go-ahead goal sparked Gibraltar into action yet again as the home side regained possession and began to dominate the ball they went in search of an equaliser.

Gibraltar’s possession only seemed to work in the favour of Latvia, who reverted to type and formed two defensive blocks in front of their goal which, having just earned a clean sheet against Erling Haaland’s Norway, was again proving hard to penetrate.

With their defensive shape holding strong, Latvia looked to stay solid and hit Gibraltar on the counter attack, a tactic which would eventually see them grab their third goal in the 75th minute.

A quick break down the right saw Savaļnieks send a deep ball into the box which was met by the head of Krollis who sent the ball back across Coleing and into the bottom corner to make it 3-1.

Latvia would have the ball in the back of the net yet again in the closing minutes, however a VAR intervention would see the effort ruled out and the match would eventually end 3-1.

Up next for Gibraltar is the UEFA Nations League, with Julio Ribas’ men now in Group C following their promotion from Group D last time out.