Gibraltar U17 face defeat with result that did not reflect confidence displayed
Switzerland U17 7-0 Gibraltar U17
Gibraltar’s under 17 were put to the test from the very kick off as Switzerland went immediately on the offensive. Focused and ready for the challenge Gibraltar’s youngster displayed a bite to their game as they defended well and added additional pressure upfront to force Switzerland onto the back foot within the first ten minutes. This allowed Gibraltar to take the game into the centre park and Swiss half easing the pressure and providing some confidence on the field.
The Swiss, looking strong in possession found a route into Gibraltar’s half but were forced to long distance attempts within first twenty minutes with Gibraltar threatening to break on counter.
A superb save by the Gibraltar keeper saw the crowd raise in applause. However the subsequent corner saw Switzerland break the deadlock as the ball was smashed through the defensive wall for the 1-0.
Gibraltar were put under pressure as Switzerland grew in confidence but weathered the initial onslaught. Not waiting back for Switzerland’s offensive the young Gibraltar squad, led by Jansen Moreno, took the game to Switzerland when in possession forcing the Swiss to keep players back and having to rebuild their own offensive play from deep within their half.
Gibraltar were unlucky not to score with Jessop controlling well on the break and turning on his marker his shot blocked and the rebound falling to Bartolo who sliced it just wide with five minutes left of the first half. A confident first half display by Gibraltar settled nerves on the field. Gibraltar coming close to scoring again in injury time with a cheeky adventurous lob that forced a corner. Switzerland defending well to keep their 1-0 lead into the halftime break.
Switzerland came out strong and soon found the back of the net with their second coming from a shot from the edge of the box past an outstretched keeper.
Just moments later placed under pressure Gibraltar’s defence opted to play back to the keeper who himself under pressure miscued to allow the third in.
Gibraltar’s response was to go on the offensive immediately hitting the woodwork with the first attempt and forcing a save from the subsequent play.
This enough to ensure Switzerland did not grow in confidence. Instead it was Gibraltar hitting the woodwork again and earning a corner within minutes although they were unable to capitalise from this.
Again regaining possession Gibraltar threatened to score this time a chase for the ball seeing the Swiss keeper lobbed but the ball falling for a defender to clear.
With 55 minutes on the clock Switzerland added their fourth after regaining possession. Vulnerabilities in defending allowed for space to have a crack at goal after the ball was allowed across the crowded penalty area and landing nicely for a Swiss attacker.
With four goals against them and still half an hour of play left Gibraltar’s youngster had a steep task ahead. Still searching for the goal Gibraltar risked being exposed on counters. Switzerland now able to sit back and defend and wait for their chance.
Putting men forward when in attack Gibraltar continued to look for what seemed to be an illusive goal.
The Swiss added a fifth to their tally on the 63rd with a free kick swung behind the defence for a header on target. This one of just two attacking plays since they had scored with the match having been played at their end of the field.
Gibraltar did not let up on their objective to at least get a goal back and did not sit back defending instead taking the game back to Switzerland. This forced Switzerland to keep players back in defence providing more ground to play through. A disciplined performance was seen with Gibraltar players chasing from defence to attack and back although as time wore on tired legs started to emerge.
A well worked string of passes down the left saw Gibraltar with a chance on the 78th as the ball was swung into space inside the box. Unfortunately Bartolo judged to have been offside as he swung for goal.
Entering the final ten minutes Gibraltar kept up looking for a goal. Yet again, however, a mistake in the passing through defence as they were looking to build from the back left Switzerland with another opportunity as the Swiss added their sixth goal. The seventh coming in injury time. In what had been a confident display in which Gibraltar had seen numerous opportunities to score but ending in defeat Gibraltar once again discovered that even the smallest mistakes are heavily punished at international level.
Gibraltar’s under 17 had nevertheless shown that they were not willing to sit back and let the opponents come at them and just park the bus. Instead their offensive play showed that, whilst there were many an area to work on for improvement in defence, the capacity to be more offensive and challenge opponents on the field had already started to be instilled in the team. The match showing Gibraltar’s under 17s seemed to be on the right pathway already, although still early days.