Late goal denies Gibraltar Under 21 chance to grab a deserved point in Moldova
Moldova U21 1-0 Gibraltar U21
Gibraltar walked out to their match against Moldova to a near empty stadium.
Moldova started on the attack from early on with Parkinson denying a cross to the centre with good tackle putting it out for a corner.
The Gibraltar under 21 set about to calm the pace and when in possession slowed the pace down enough to start to build into Moldova’s half.
With four minutes gone Gibraltar earned a free kick putting Moldova’s defence under pressure. Those early moments of play gaining some confidence on the ball to try take the game back to Moldova early on.
Moldova had a first attempt on the ninth minute with a shot from distance with Hankins easily handling.
It was a confident start for Gibraltar’s under 21 keeping a tight defence and taking the game to Moldova when in possession.
Gibraltar earned a corner on the twelfth minute which was swung into the middle where Peacock collected the clearance and tried an overhead kick that went just wide off the post.
It was end to end in the first quarter of an hour. Moldova immediately attacking and themselves earning a corner which Gibraltar’s defence cleared.
Some intelligent work from Borge stole a back pass thrown-in putting Moldova’s defence under pressure at the edge of the box as Gibraltar threatened to surprise as they reached the twenty minute mark.
Borge was to force a clearance in front of goal after working the ball well down the wing and swinging a cross into the middle send out for a corner.
El Hmidi was to concede a free kick on the right side of the penalty box which put Gibraltar’s goal under pressure. After a number of ricochets the ball fell for a goal kick with Gibraltar regaining possession. They immediately went on the offensive.
After keeping Moldova penned in their half Borge’s taunting with the ball earned Gibraltar a free kick which unfortunately saw the ball wasted as the cross flew over the attackers head. This allowed Moldova to settle down and regain possession with an attempt at goal put just over Hankins goal on the half hour.
Moldova tilted the balance of possession in their favour seeing a header from a corner just scrape past the back post and wide. Gibraltar were unable to maintain possession and having to defend another corner. The clearance from the corner created an opportunity on the break which was wasted with a stray final pass as Gibraltar run forward facing just the one defender against Gibraltar’s runners. Gibraltar kept the pressure on for a few minutes before giving the ball away with too long a free kick. Just as quickly Gibraltar’s defence forced to defend deep inside their penalty area as Moldova threatened to break the deadlock.
Peacock was to receive a yellow card in a surprising decision after he stopped a chase with a great tackle which the referee did not think was a foul. But as the Moldova player was being treated and Peacock collected his boot and started to put it back on whilst on the field he received the yellow to everyone’s surprise.
Gibraltar had to keep their focus very on in the second half as Moldova kicked off with an immediate attack which was eventually blocked as the shot rung in.
Borge was again the target of some tough defending providing another free kick. Again the cross wasted as it was swung too deep behind the defence.
Just as quickly the action went to the other end of the field, this time Gibraltar lucky not to be penalised with a penalty after a foul on the edge of the box. Clearing the danger it was Gibraltar on the offensive in a counter again Borge put to the ground. A better free kick was this time cleared with Moldova on the counter. The final shot send over the bar. These all in just five minutes of the first half.
The frantic pace eased off as both sides tightened to keep possession and build up. However, neither side dominated possession keeping the match wide open from one half of the field to the other during the first ten minutes.
Hankin was to make a magnificent one hand save as a flicked header lobbed over him heading into goal from the near post. The keeper saving right on the line to keep Gibraltar very much in the contest for the points.
As the match reached the hour mark it was Moldova gaining some ground with possession. Gibraltar’s Under 21 kept their composure with some confident defending and keeping their sights on opportunities to attack into Moldova’s half.
Moldova made two changes on the hour mark both immediately creating chances for the hosts. Within minutes David Ochello brought on Galliano for Ruiz as he added fresh legs on the field.
Entering the final twenty minutes Gibraltar were absorbing the pressure from a host team trying not to drop two points at home. Hankins goalmouth seeing some action as Gibraltar seas penned back.
Hankin was to stop an attempt at goal on 72nd minute going down well to meet a low drive to goal.
St Joseph youngster Caetano was to come on as Ochello added further fresh legs on the field as Gibraltar started to tire.
Borge continued to be the target of some tough challenges with the referee showing little indication of putting a stop to it.
With ten minutes left in the clock Moldova earned a free kick close to the edge of the box. Hankin was equal to the low drive shot finger-tipping it past his post for a corner.
Just a minute later, with Gibraltar not clearing their half Moldova broke the deadlock. Hankin who had had a great match was caught just slightly off his line by an unexpected very long range attempt. The shot hitting the underside of the crossbar and bouncing into the goal, Hankin just millimetres from reaching it with his fingertips as he stretched to catch.
With five minutes left Borge came off for Garcia, Gibraltar now trying to find an equaliser after what was a late blow following a very confident display until then. Moldova day back and tightened at the back closing down as they protected their lead.
Moldova walked away with the three points in a match which could have easily have gone the other way after Gibraltar’s display on the field. Goalkeeper and Captain Jaylan Hankin once again inspiring at the back with his commanding display and unfortunate to concede such a goal.