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Gibraltar Women show resilience but faced defeat against Panama in International Friendly

Gibraltar women’s national team faced a formidable challenge as they took on a strong Panama side in an international friendly at the Victoria Stadium. Panama, having recently qualified for the Women’s World Cup, arrived in Gibraltar with an impressive record, having defeated Dominican Republic and Paraguay and drawn against Colombia. Gibraltar, on the other hand, had a relatively young squad with most players under the age of 23 and were yet to play a competitive official international tournament match.

The match kicked off with Gibraltar showing their attacking intent from the start, putting pressure on the Panama defense. Playing in a 4-3-3 formation, Gibraltar pressed high up the field and displayed confident footwork and control, surprising the visitors with their early attacking prowess.

Panama gradually settled into the game and started to control possession, creating several opportunities to break through Gibraltar’s defense. The visitors earned their first corner in the eighth minute, which was well defended by Gibraltar. However, Panama continued to press and won a series of corners in quick succession, forcing Gibraltar to defend deep.

As the match progressed, Panama began to exert their authority, utilizing the flanks to run at Gibraltar’s defense. Despite the young Gibraltar squad’s determined defending, Panama’s tight distribution of the ball allowed them to create scoring chances. In the 20th minute, a miscommunication between Gibraltar’s goalkeeper and defender led to an easy rebound for Panama, resulting in an opening goal by Coba.

A water break shortly after the goal provided Gibraltar’s coaches an opportunity to regroup and offer guidance to the players. However, Panama continued to apply pressure, and with 25 minutes played, Coba scored her second goal, guiding a delivery across the goal into the net. Gibraltar struggled to maintain possession and gave away passes in the middle of the field, allowing Panama to exploit their defensive vulnerabilities.

In the 38th minute, Riley extended Panama’s lead with a stunning strike to the top corner, leaving Gibraltar’s goalkeeper with no chance of stopping the ball. Despite some moments of individual display of talent from Gibraltar’s young players, Panama continued to dominate the game and scored their fourth goal in the final minutes of the first half. The visitors exposed Gibraltar’s inexperience on the international stage, scoring four goals within the last 20 minutes of the first half.

The second half began with Panama maintaining control of possession and creating early opportunities to further increase their lead. Gibraltar’s defense had some shaky moments, but they managed to settle down and put up a more organized resistance. However, Panama earned a penalty in the 57th minute, which Cox converted expertly, making it 5-0 in favor of the visitors.

Despite being five goals down, Gibraltar showed resilience and continued to battle across the field. They had a few defensive scares but also managed to create some attacking opportunities. As the match entered its final stages, Gibraltar focused on their defensive shape, frustrating Panama’s attempts to score more goals. However, Panama eventually found the back of the net for the seventh time with a magnificent long-range strike from Salazar.

In the dying minutes of the game, Gibraltar’s coach, Scott Wiseman, gave some of the youngest players a chance to gain international experience. With 15, 16, and 17-year-olds coming on, it was an opportunity for them to showcase their talents on the big stage.

Although Gibraltar suffered a heavy defeat, there were positives to take away from the match. The team displayed determination and resilience, despite their lack of international experience. It was evident that Gibraltar’s women’s national squad needs more competitive matches to develop their skills and bridge the gap in experience compared to their opponents. Panama, on the other hand, showcased their strength and readiness for the upcoming Women’s World Cup with an emphatic victory.

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