Historic win for Gibraltar u17s with 8-2 victory against Liechtenstein
Gibraltar U17 8-2 Liechtenstein
The Gibraltar U17s responded in style to critics of youth football and those claiming that youth football was going backwards.
An impressive 8-2 victory against Liechtenstein at the Victoria stadium, with the type of showcase display which left many rising in praise secured for the under 17s one of the biggest victories Gibraltar has delivered in recent years.
The Under 17s left little to the imagination as they produced a series of drag-ball controls, multiple-man dribbling, flicks, volleys and one touch play as they searched to capitalise on their lead and grab as much as they could.
A confident, composed style of play from kick-off marked Gibraltar’s presence on the field highlighting how months training as a unit, on a near daily basis for some, was starting to produce results.
Under a hot midday sunshine, where it was evident from the start that the players would need hydrating during the match, it did not take Gibraltar’s under 17s long to stamp their mark on the game.
A great through ball put Bartolo through and on the run struck low past the keeper for the first goal after just five minutes. The close to 200 fans, many of which were youth players watching their colleagues, parents and family, all trying to find shade under the west stand roofed area, were soon on their feet.
Just ten minutes later the cheers became jubilation as the first signal that Gibraltar could be heading for victory showed. Bartolo was to win a challenge in the penalty area and on the turn beat the keeper with some confidence.
Gibraltar could have added a further two immediately after but were held back by the visitors who were happy to finish the first half just 3-1 behind.
It did not take long in the second half for Gibraltar to add to their tally.
With five minutes of the second half gone it was Sebastian Diaz who scored to make It 4-1.
Again a hard grafted play through the centre with the confidence to strike at goal.
The under 17s were playing their own breed of football under the guidance of Jansen Moreno.
This was not so much bringing the philosophies of the senior head coach down into youth. But rather youth football building on its own momentum and strengths.
There was a confidence and composure across the field, with the players well drilled and disciplined and sticking to their tasks but allowed to venture into their creative play.
They did not look at the opponent to set the game tone but instead set it themselves.
The fifth goal showed Gibraltar’s confidence as the player held off challenges to carve a path into the penalty area and slot past the keeper.
Just moments later Bartolo was denied a goal by a fine save.
Just as quickly Gibraltar added another to their tally.
What once would have been a rushed shot which generally missed its target to the calls of “ooooh” this time saw how a loose ball was controlled, and with the keeper off his line Gibraltar’s players secured the shot instead of merely hoofing it forward towards goal.
With thirty minutes still to play you could not blame Liechtenstein for trying to squeeze every second they could from physios on the pitch and time wasting moments as Gibraltar had already doubled their scoreline.
After the sixth goal Gibraltar’s youngster continued to look for goals instead of falling back and settling for a 6-1 win. Gibraltar could have reached double digits had it been for two posts and an underside of the crossbar hit during attempts on target.
With eight mins left on the clock the eighth goal arrived.
A back heel flick, a dragged ball dribble, a quick one touch combination move and dribbling past four and Gibraltar were 8-1 ahead and with the spectators on their feet.
It could have been nine just a minute later as Gibraltar youth were showcasing with a dragged ball to get past defenders by the by line before the ball hit the wrong side of the side of the post.
Gibraltar was showcasing its talents on the field and the players were being allowed to enjoy their game and gain their confidence on the field.
Importantly, whilst the victory was a significant boost for the under 17s, it was the reports that a youth player was joining the ranks of Watford U18 which was grabbing as much attention among some of the youth players watching.
The 8-2 victory is understood to be the biggest win for Gibraltar u17 since it arrived into UEFA membership ranks. They next face Liechtenstein this Saturday where another victory would underscore the hard work that has been taking place behind the scenes as revealed recently by this newspaper.