Eagles take gold and clinch promotion for Gibraltar clubs
Eagles claimed gold winning the second final of the Eurohockey Challenge II tournament played at the Bayside Sports hockey pitch.
In a confident display Eagles walked away 4-1 victors against a Benfica side that had come as one of the favourites after running away through their Pool B matches with some high scores.
Eagles were, however, to come away with a well deserved celebrations with goals from Stagno and Lopez, two each to secure promotion for Gibraltar clubs next season.
From the start Eagles tried to be in command of play the first chance coming from some good passing from Silva that earned the first short corner.
Bidding their time and building patiently Eagles were to earn themselves a second short corner which was smashed in by Stagninto provide them with the lead.
The match attended by Minister for Sport Steven Linares saw Eagles create several more chances before the end of the second quarter.
Eagles maintained the pressure into the second quarter with the Portuguese side struggling to find a way into the final quarter.
Hernandez and Leigh’s runs were causing Benfica problems with at one time five defenders against one and Eagles still ending with possession.
With just a minute to go for half time Hernandez forced a short corner with another darting run. This time, after several failed attempts, Stagno made no mistake with Eagles adding a second to their score.
Eagles entered the halftime break with a two goal lead and knowing they had stalled the Portuguese sides offensive.
A frustrated Benfica, who could not find their route to goal were accumulating cards and forced to play at time with lesser numbers on the field.
The third goal was to come in the third quarter after a moment of magic from Julian Lopez outside the D.
With Benfica finding it difficult to control the player Lopez turned on the pivot and send in a perfect drive which sliced through the defence for the third.
Eagles kept up the momentum pressing and counter attacking as they claimed possession and build on their advantage.
The fourth goal agains came from Lopez as he slid to turn the ball into the goal from behind the defence.
With a four goal lead Eagles sat back and although conceding a goal were in the driving seat even without possession.
Benfica having to chase back to cut out Eagles quick counters.
A 4-1 victory secured Eagles gold and provides Gibraltar with promotion.
However, it will not be Eagles heading to the higher division after failing to win the league.
Instead it will be Grammarians who as league winners will go into the higher division whilst Eagles will have to content with the Challenge IV after Grammarians dropped out of their Eurohockey campaign and Gibraltar relegated into Challenge IV at the other end of the spectrum.
In the other final Croatian side Mladost came from 3-2 behind to win 5-3 against Taurus from Lithuania.