Lions fall to ten man College 1975
Lions Gibraltar 1-2 College 1975
Lions Gibraltar and College 1975 opened the midweek league matches this week. This first encounter was somewhat of an enigma in how teams would fare, not only because two rounds would be played before the league is left with just the top six but also because College 1975, in what was their first match of the season, had beaten Europa 3-0.
College 1975 started well. A mistake by the Lions goalkeeper, who attempted to collect a floated ball, led to him misjudging the flight of the ball due to miscommunication with his defender. This left German Cortes to nod in a simple header behind them into the goal after six minutes.
The goal did little for College 1975 as the match was turned upside down quickly when, in the 16th minute, a red card was shown for a two-footed challenge with studs upfront, leaving them with ten men.
Slowly, Lions started to dominate possession and press on College 1975 as they sought the equalizer.
This came in the 34th minute with a counterattack giving them the goal. Adrian Parral’s team kept the momentum and pushed College 1975 back, trying to grab a second.
Lions, who had lost their first two matches 4-1 against Kynx and 5-1 against St Joseph, were now seeking to benefit from the man advantage they had on the field and looked for the goal that would give them the lead.
College 1975 did threaten to go ahead themselves. A quick run down the flank saw Cortes break through the right and into the penalty area, forcing the defender and keeper to block.
The corner cost Lions dearly. Not clearing the ball well, it was sent in from behind the defense and left at the feet of an unmarked College 1975 player. Anaya’s shot was blocked by the keeper on the goal line, but Anaya tried again, and although the Lions’ defense seemed to have cleared it on the line, the linesman signaled that it had crossed the line for the referee to give the goal. College 1975 surprisingly took the lead against the run of play in the 40th minute.
Referee Seth Galia had a difficult game with the challenges and protests constant throughout the first half. The referee kept control of the match, although players and sets of fans were not content with the calls, not favoring their side.
Lions’ lack of finishing in the final third, which saw many passes giving the ball back to College, was costing them dearly as they sought to level the game again. Breakaway opportunities were lost due to ineffective passing into space.
The second half started with College 1975 threatening to add to their tally, even though they were playing with ten men. Lions were pushed back and initially struggled to find their way out. Feigning a foul inside the penalty area earned College 1975 a yellow card, the second for the same offense with Lions getting their own in the first half.
An overhead kick by Casa towards College 1975’s goal went just wide after 51 minutes of play as Lions started to find their way forward. Valadez, Lions’ keeper, made another serious mistake trying to clear outside his penalty area, but luckily this time, Lions’ defense was attentive and cleared the danger while Valdez’s goal was left exposed.
Two minutes later, Lions forced College’s keeper to block a dangerous low cross across his goal. College’s defense had to clear the danger for a second time after the ball rebounded off the keeper’s chest.
Lions pressed high with Ruiz trying to dribble past five defenders before he finally lost the ball. Lions kept coming at College, pumping the ball into the penalty area and keeping College’s defense and keeper busy before College could break away.
Luckily for Lions, an offside and a block by Valdez saved them from conceding against the run of play. The long balls into the penalty area were not working for Lions and were risking a quick counterattack from College 1975.
As they entered the last 30 minutes, Lions continued to struggle to find an effective way through College’s defense. The latter had now sat back into a defensive posture, which closed the gaps in front of goal as they protected their lead.
As they entered the final ten minutes, frustrations grew, especially among Lions players, as they continued to struggle to find the route for an equalizer and found themselves with College 1975 making headway towards their goal.
Time-wasting started to make its presence known among College players, with minor knocks seeing prolonged periods of time on the ground as College hoped to run down the clock.
Officials gave seven minutes of injury time, although nine were played. Lions were frustrated until the end as College 1975 protected their lead with just ten men on the field.