One hour of dreaming before inches became miles as Gibraltar fell to Turkey
Gibraltar fans were allowed to dream of a possible giant killing for a short while as Tjay De Barr smashed the ball onto the post in the early moments of the second half. Later turning on defenders and forcing Turkeys defence into action as he threaten to score whilst the score was level.
Yet the dreams were to fade away as the differences in the levels of football players from both sides are used to came into play as tired legs could be seen across Gibraltar’s ranks whilst Turkey finished the nighty minutes as if they could play.
It took Turkey just under the hour to crack open their chance to once again leap frog Norway into first place of group G of the European qualifiers. Dervişoğlu, given just enough space to find a shot on target highlighting the differences as Turkeunmade the goal look routine.
The match, played in front of a close to 700 plus crowd, just over two thirds of the capacity allowed, and far more than some critics had been professing before the match, started with Turkey awarded a penalty within the first minutes.
Gibraltar was implementing UEFS protocols with only 30% capacity allowed, further reduced by seats required for teams and possible disciplinary actions.
What had seemed as a soft challenge in the first minutes was met with a VAR decision against Gibraltar by the Estonian officials.
Dayle Coleing was to become an immediate hero as he guessed right and pulled off his first save of the day and denied Turkey a chance to score from the spot kick.
Rattled and unsettled Gibraltar struggled in the early moments but fended off Turkey’s pressure. Dayle Coleing was made to work in those early minutes with a string of saves and blocks.
Weathering the early storm Gibraltar started to find their composure making it more difficult for the Turkish side. With Tjay DeBarr more than willing to try it on against the visitors defence he was to have the crowd rising as he brushed aside his marker on the halfway line and took on the sole defender left chasing, eventually stopped at the edge of the box.
The Gibraltar forward was to later receive a yellow after he had been tumbled inside the penalty box and complained about the decision to ignore calls for a penalty. This, however, not before Ribas had to change his formation as Ethan Britto limped off injured.
Pons was to come on taking his place at the back.
Already Ribas had seen changes in his lineup starting with Mouehli and Hernandez due to the absence of Annesley and Bosio. Both were to prove astute changes with Hernandez adding an element of control in midfield which saw him distributing the ball well and creating his own chances. Playing well with Tjay De Barr, Ronan and Valarino around him.
Anthony Hernandez was Once to enter the box after taking on three defenders only to see the keeper cut his path to goal after his final touch had been slightly too long.
Gibraltar had kept their heads throughout the first half and were rewarded by going into the break with Turkey having few clear chances to score and leaving the scoreboard scoreless.
The start of the second half was quite unlike what Gibraltar has demonstrated in the past. A focused and accelerated start saw Gibraltar creating chances with one clear chance from Tjay hitting the post.
However, Turkey was to turn the tables within eight minutes of the start of the second half when Dervişoğlu was allowed through after a string of short passes across the peripherals of the penalty box before he found himself in space and hammered it past Coleing. The goal coming just as Gibraltar had seemed to be getting control of the game with a string of confident passes across field and into space which had Turkey having to defend deep themselves.
The crowd buoyed by this were silenced with Turkey’s goal.
Just ten minutes later Internazionale’s Hakan was given little resistance to find enough space to crack the ball past defence and keeper for a second.
Although Tjay continued to threaten when the ball went forward Gibraltar found themselves sitting back deeper and deeper as tired legs showed.
Although Turkey had some 21 attempts at goal only nine were to reach the target, most others forced attempts. In some cases even slide attempts as a Turkey looked increasingly frustrated by Gibraltar.
Reece was to take Tjay’s place after the forward injured himself.
Karaman was to add the final nail in the coffin for Gibraltar with a third where Turkey seemed to be producing goals from half-space opportunities. The three scorers for Turkey having come on in the second half in what was to prove a shrewd move from Turkey’s coach Gunes.
With Tjay gone Gibraltar did not have anymore that creative strong power which had caused so many problems. Reece, although creating a chance had little else to do than chase around.
The 3-0 victory for Turkey sees them go top of the table with their next match against Netherlands, whom they had beaten at the start of group matches.
Gibraltar now travel to Norway who this Saturday beat Latvia 0-2 in Riga. Gibraltar’s triple header gets increasingly more difficult to get any results with Norway requiring a win which could place them first if the Netherlands fore points away from Turkey.
Gibraltar’s players although not providing a giant killing had instead stamped their mark on the match against the group leaders and frustrated Turkey have for them to dig deep to earn their points.
Not everyone was content with Team 54 fans calling for Ribas to go as the pressure on the head coach continues.
The fact Turkey, littered with players playing in top leagues such as Italy and England celebrated their victory also spelt out the fact Gibraltar was looking to never return to the whipping boys results seen in the past. Although critics continued to stab for a change Riba’s block formation has provided some confidence across the team and provided better results, albeit still not the results some fans expect, but results where top teams such as Turkey and early this week Latvia left the field celebrating having obtained a victory after struggling to break Gibraltar’s formation and importantly determination and confidence now being shown by players.