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A passionate offensive display ends in the narrowest of defeats for Gibraltar women

Gibraltar Women 2-3 Liechtenstein Women, Victoria Stadium

Gibraltar women’s national squad were unable to repeat their historic victory against Liechtenstein this Monday evening but not without having given their all.
A 2-3 defeat, with a saved penalty and having dominated the match might have left disappointed players on the field. However, the final whistle was to see a supportive crowd who had cheered Gibraltar’s efforts rise in applause as the players were saluted by the crowd for an exciting and passionate match which should have seen the result reversed on any other given day.
Shrewd tactical play by visitors Liechtenstein following their 1-0 defeat on Friday saw the visitors tighten up in defence and play a patient waiting game.
Using their goalkeeper as an additional sweeper through which most back passes would pass through Liechtenstein stayed firmly settled trying to keep the ball as much as they could against a Gibraltar team who placed pressure until the very last second.
Although Gibraltar had pushed their opponents into their own half from the start it was two rare opportunities from mistakes in passing at the back which provided Liechtenstein an early two goal lead with the first half hour.
Gibraltar had looked as if they were about to shorten the gap when they earned themselves a penalty. However, a brilliant outstretched save denied their their first goal.
Gibraltar were to cut the deficit just as they entered into injury time in the first half. Carving her way into the box Joelle Gilbert threaded superb pass to Shania Robba who kept her composure to slot the ball past an oncoming keeper and defender.
Gibraltar could have added a further goal on several occasions except for the timely intervention of Liechtenstein’s keeper.

The second half saw Gibraltar come out with full guns loaded and pushing and pressing on their opponents from the start. Shania Robba’s attempted cheeky chip over the keeper was among the first clear shots which provided Liechtenstein with warning bells that Gibraltar would not be walking away without a fight.
Constant pressure was maintained with the visitors struggling to get into Gibraltar’s half. However, when they did, they did with some efficiency putting Kyrelle’s goal under threat. Liechtenstein were reduced to just a handful of chances in the second half but with quite devastating impact with a quick break finishing in a one on one in which Liechtenstein grabbed their third against the run of play.
What should have been the nail in the coffin was instead a call to up their pressure as Gibraltar searched to close the gap and increased their push forward. Calls from the bench to look to finish at goal were heeded as the young team stepped forward once again.
As they mounted pressure in front of Liechtenstein’s goal an attempt at clearing the danger saw a handball given which led to another penalty decision in Gibraltar’s favour.
A calm Joelle Gilbert added her name to the score sheet as she slammed the ball past the keeper who did get a hand to it.
With the clock ticking away Gibraltar kept looking to find their way to goal with what was a relatively small crowd putting their full support behind the team as they watched a passionate and determine display from a Gibraltar team unwilling to face defeat.
They were unable to find that final finish with Liechtenstein sticking to their task and defending deep.
Liechtenstein were reduced to scrambling the ball clear from their goalmouth on several occasions as Gibraltar sought for their third goal.
As the final whistle blew it was the visitors who were to celebrate a victory. Gibraltar’s players although disappointed were greeted by applause from a crowd who did not stop cheering and applauding even after the final whistle.
Having faced the narrowest of defeats, Gibraltar’s women’s team provided further proof of their quality on the field as they continue their search to be included into official competitive international senior competitions. The latest results already seeing calls for Gibraltar to be included in senior competitions and for more international experience for the players who have only played four full official international matches, one of them finishing with a historic 1-0 victory.

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