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A Joseph Mbong second-half wonder strike is all that separated Gibraltar and Malta last night, as Julio Ribas’ side proved a tough nut to crak at the Ta’ Qali National Stadium. 

Coming into the fixture with the regular Gibraltar Football League Season yet to get underway, Gibraltar’s national team players were missing the match sharpness of their opponents and were also without the likes of regular starters such as Graeme Torrilla and Julian Valarino.

Despite this, Gibraltar walked out at the Ta’ Qali determined to put on a fight against a Malta side who were coming off the back of two impressive performances against International giants England and Ukraine. 

 

 

Malta got the game underway and looked to keep possession as they searched for an opening in the resolute Gibraltar rearguard.  Gibraltar's men, as always, proved tough to get through, and, whenever called upon, Dayle Coleing was ready in between the posts and twice pulled off impressive saves to keep the score at 0-0 early on.

It wasn’t all one way traffic however, as Gibraltar, through the battling performance of Tjay De Barr up top, were determined to carve out their own chances on goal. 

A brilliant defence splitting pass from Bernardo Lopes close to half-time, was flicked on by Liam Walker over the top for the Wycombe Wanderers front man to chase. Plucking the ball out of the sky and shifting the ball onto his right foot, De Barr let fly from distance and was unfortunate to see his effort go wide of the mark.

 

 

Gibraltar continued to perform resolutely in the second half as Julio Ribas rotated his squad giving vaulable minutes to Ethan Jolley, Ethan Santos, Lee Casciaro and Ayoub El Hmidi.

Unfortunately for Gibraltar, the only goal of the game would be scored in the 58th minute, as Mbong chested a loose ball down on the edge of the area, before unleashing a pinpoint strike into the top corner.  

Although Malta would dominate the possession for the remainder of the half, Gibraltar remained a threat on the counter and were unfortunate to leave the Ta’ Qali pitch in defeat.

Gibraltar will now travel to Athens, where they face Greece on National Day in Group B of UEFA’s European Championship Qualifiers.