Gibraltar put in workman-like performance
The Stade de Tourbillon in Sion Switzerland was brought to silence for some thirty-five minutes by a young Gibraltar side. With just three players over twenty-four years of age Gibraltar to keep the professionals from Switzerland at bay during that time.
It was not the prettiest of football to be seen. Julio Ribas who maintained his faith in the likes of Coleing, Annesley, Britto, Olivero, De Barr and Sergeant had seemingly drilled his players well.
Gibraltar effectively cancelled out Switzerland in those first thirty-five minutes. A solid defence was supported by a midfield and frontline willing to press , closing down Switzerland's route to goal. The commanding figure of Coleing at the back provid some reassurance, especially with corner kicks and high crosses which he dealt well with.
Switzerland had their chances, but Gibraltar's young guns were not influenced out of play by the more experienced and top-level Swiss side who dominated ploy. Met with a Swiss physicality which was allowed to go unchecked by the official, Gibraltar silenced
the Swiss crowd during this period of play. The match once again highlighted how the minnows are affected by refereeing decisions which an at times sway towards the bigger name players. On more than one occasion Switzerland’s physicality seeing Gibraltar players on the ground with no foul given. Gibraltar played to a game plan during the first thirty-five minutes.
They were, however, to be dealt a blow when Coleing injured himself during a goal kick. With a strained hamstring the young keeper tried to stick to his task but soon asked for a change.
The disruption at the back was to inevitably see Gibraltar fall vulnerable to Its own
vulnerabilities. Although Kyle Goldwin, Gibraltar's number one since Julio Ribas arrived was to take his between the posts the two keepers differed in their approach at the back. Something the defence needed getting used to.
Coleing‘ s height had given Gibraltar's last line of defence that big build presence to handle crosses into the middle. The first goal arrived when an unmarked Zakaria finds himself with a free header as Goldwin rose from behind him.
With Switzerland breaking the dead lock. their confidence rose whilst Gibraltar struggled to refocus. A cross through the centre of defence saw Mehmedi ran from behind the defence to flick a header past an oncoming goalkeeper unable to cover in time. chino left exposed by his defence who had not checked Mehmedi’s run into space.
Gibraltar was to once again feel the effects of an official, as Switzerland were handed a corner from a ball clearly put out by a Swiss player. Gibraltar already on the back foot struggled to clear as they entered injury time.
The fourth consecutive corner from the same play saw Gibraltar's defence clear but only to the edge of the box. A misplaced short pass was left at the feet of Rodrigues who obliged with a low driven shot at goal.
Chino, who was obstructed by his defence was unable to stretch fast enough to clear as Gibraltar went 3- 0 down.
Gibraltar came out more focused but showing the effects of two big matches in just four days. Pinned back for most of the second half they had few chances to step forward to reduce the gap. Strikes from Liam Walker from outside the area were the only attempts at target.
Some brave defending and some good saves from Chino kept the score at 3- 0 until the final minute,
Garranovic was to produce Switzerland's fourth-after pouncing on a rebound.
After the ball had been put across goal Chino was able to palm out, but only to the Swiss player's path. Tired defenders reacted slow to prevent a shot at goal from just outside the six yard box.
Ribas was to substitute later both Andrew Hernandez and Ethan Britto.
Pons was to add that more defensive role with Jamie Coombes coming in and taking over the front man's role. Tjay De Barr dropped behind him.
Coombes brought some fresh hope as he tangled with the Swiss defence and earned Gibraltar some space with free kicks .There were , however, many tired legs among the Gibraltar team who managed to keep the score at 4- 0 at the final whistle.
This, although a heavy defeat after the progress mode, was a further demonstration of Gibraltar's workman-Like attitude which in the first half paid dividends. The lack of international experience and individual mistakes, however, were easily punished at this level. these areas still a factor which let Gibraltar down.
Gibraltar’s change of attitude and progress, even after two big defeats against teams in the top ten in Europe was highlighted by Gibraltar FA General Secretary. Mr Beiso was to post on twitter ‘It’s a mark of how far we have come that the boys are disappointed with a 4-0 defeat to the 11th ranked nation in the world. Thanks to all of you who have supported us here in Sion, online and from home.’
In the meantime Football Gibraltar reports that the latest indications on Dayle Coleing’s injury is that it is muscular, but not serious with more tests in next 24/48 hours.
Photo by FootballGibraltar (footballgibraltar.com)