Gibraltar loses at home, but with heads held high
Gibraltar lost 2-0 to FYR Macedonia last night but put on a brave fight during a feisty second half that had fans at the sell-out match on tenterhooks in the hope their side would clutch a win from the jaws of defeat in their first official match on home soil.
The result was disappointing, but the game, particularly in the second half, left the stadium abuzz with enthusiasm and pride under the shadow of the Rock.
This was Gibraltar’s debut in the Nations League and the first official international match at home since joining UEFA.
Marking the occasion, players faced and turned to the Rock as the national anthem rang out across the stadium at the start of the match.
In front of a packed Victoria Stadium, Uruguayan head coach Julio Ribas led his side into the game where FYR Macedonia had been favourites to win.
Ranked within the top 100, Macedonia presented the most difficult opponents from Gibraltar’s group which includes Armenia and Liechtenstein
Ribas had set his sights on wanting his players to put their all into the match, calling for “passion” and “national pride” when playing with the Gibraltar shirt.
Although unable to find that winning route, a sold-out Victoria Stadium cheered the local side in what was a historic occasion as football came home to the Rock.
After playing all their competitive UEFA and FIFA matches in Portugal since joining both organisations, Gibraltar had never had a chance to play before its home crowd.
The resurfacing of the stadium pitch with an approved FIFA artificial turf and numerous changes to the stadium allowed for the match to take place.
Gibraltar will now be looking forward to playing its second match in the Nations League seeking its first points from the group matches.
The national side plays Liechtenstein on Sunday, away from home, a match in which Gibraltar expects to have an opportunity to fight for more points.