Lions Gibraltar Women stamp their superiority with 8-1 victory against Europa
Lions Gibraltar women 8-1 Europa Women
Lions Gibraltar Women dominated from the kickoff, pushing Europa Women back into their own half during the first five minutes. It wasn't until then that Europa actually crossed the halfway line, only to find themselves losing possession.
Soon after, Mara Rodriguez, who scored twice last week against Hercules, intercepted a defensive pass, broke free toward the goal, and, appearing to momentarily lose control of the ball while rounding the keeper, took advantage of Grech's slip to secure Lions Gibraltar's first goal.
Despite Europa's attempt to advance their lines and earn a corner after resuming play, a wasted corner kick returned the ball to Lions, who resumed their attack. Lions continued to dominate possession, nearly extending their lead within the first ten minutes, penning Europa into their own half. Europa's keeper, Grech, appeared tested and at times nervous in her reactions.
Players such as Ferro, Rowbottom, Josie, Alvez, and Rodriguez controlled midfield possession for Lions, swiftly neutralizing Europa's early offensive attempts.
On the 16th minute, in a rare attack by Europa, they earned a corner. However, Lions quickly cleared the danger and initiated a counter, with Rodriguez taking possession upfront and finding space to deliver a shot that beat Grech.
Within minutes of taking the lead, Mara Alvez displayed composure and ball control, collecting at the edge of the penalty area. The young sixteen-year-old showcased her talent, launching a shot that easily beat Grech for Lions' third goal.
Europa, who previously scored their first three goals against Lynx within twenty minutes the week before, now faced a similar fate against Lions Gibraltar, the defending champions, who asserted dominance without exerting full force.
At the twenty-fifth minute, Lions scored their fourth goal through a low driven shot by Nash to the far post, maintaining their hunger for goals and dampening Europa's aspirations for a title challenge.
Europa had a chance to score on the thirtieth minute, but Benggio's fine stops denied the green and blacks. Grech also made a great block moments later as Rodriguez aimed for an early hat-trick.
With rolling substitutions allowed in the league, Lions gave players field time, weakening their formations at times but still dictating the match's pace.
On the 36th minute, Lions almost extended their lead when defenders and the keeper experienced a mix-up inside the penalty box, narrowly escaping embarrassment as Lions were pushed wide from an open goal opportunity, eventually losing possession.
Lions entered halftime leading 4-0 and resumed the second half with an aggressive attacking stance, seeking more goals.
Europa struggled to exit their own half, faced with a disciplined Lions defense that maintained their roles despite the comfortable lead established early on.
Twenty-two-year-old captain Ferro's presence offered leadership in midfield. However, Europa managed to score the first goal of the second half on the fifty-third minute due to a rare defensive error, boosting their confidence and narrowing the gap.
As Lions sought to widen their lead and Europa aimed to close the gap further, the match's pace intensified. Four changes by Lions altered the match's rhythm, with several attempts at goal being blocked or going wide as Lions signaled their intent.
Lions' pressure led to Europa conceding a penalty after Hernandez blocked a shot with her arm. Lions' captain Ferro converted the penalty, making it 5-1. Hernandez's reaction to match officials earned her a yellow card moments later.
Lions added their sixth goal through Navarro, receiving a cross and firing a shot past Grech. Rodriguez then secured another goal minutes later with a low ball past Grech at the near post, taking Lions to seven goals.
Europa's goal spurred Lions, who relentlessly sought an eighth goal, comfortably securing the match.
The eighth goal arrived impressively: after a 15-pass sequence, Rowbottom earned a freekick, which Tellez converted with a stunning shot dipping just behind the keeper into the top corner in the 86th minute.
The 8-1 victory highlighted Lions' superiority, potentially signaling another one-sided campaign in the women's league. Lions seem poised to lead, while Europa, Gibraltar Waves, Lynx, and Hercules battle for other spots.
Friction between players arose in the final minutes following a minor incident between Tellez and Scalon.