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St Joseph beat ten-man Europa

St Joseph 3-0 Europa

In a clash between St Joseph and Europa at the Victoria Stadium, both teams kicked off their 2023/24 league campaign.

Europa FC, once a formidable force in the domestic league, unveiled a lineup that starkly reflected their decline this summer, with several key players from the previous season now departed. Notably, St Joseph had scooped up three of these departed talents: Bradley Banda, Ethan Jolley, and Dylan Borge, who featured prominently in their starting eleven.

What was anticipated to be a classic showdown from previous years quickly turned into a one-sided affair as St Joseph swiftly assumed control of possession, asserting their dominance.

Europa did enjoy a promising start, securing the first corner just two minutes into the match, but St Joseph’s defense had little trouble clearing their penalty area.

The green and blacks displayed brief moments of short-passing possession but struggled to advance significantly.

St Joseph gradually settled into the game, creating a couple of goal-scoring opportunities as they approached the first fifteen minutes.

The initial tensions of the match saw St Joseph’s Head Coach, Abraham Paz, receiving a yellow card.

Dean Gibson, stationed in the heart of Europa’s midfield, had an opportunity to showcase his skills. In the 16th minute, he received a cheekily lobbed free kick but narrowly missed the far post with his shot.

An elbow from Manuel Sanchez, unseen by referee Herbert Warwick, went unpunished as Europa continued to frustrate St Joseph.

Mario Perez, Europa’s Head Coach, received a yellow card as he protested the lack of discipline shown towards the St Joseph player.

Gradually, St Joseph elevated their game, pushing their lines higher and demonstrating why they were deemed, on paper, the superior team this season. However, Europa, with a significantly altered lineup and minimal investment compared to previous seasons, showed resilience and refused to be dismissed.

On the 24th minute, a reckless elbow by Quintana on Rey Vasquez earned the Europa player a straight red card, reducing them to ten men for the next 105 minutes of play. This marked the first red card of the 2023/24 league season, after just two matches.

Despite being a player down, Europa held their ground initially, while St Joseph struggled to find their rhythm.

Yellow cards continued to be dished out, with three yellow cards and a red card on the field and two yellow cards on the benches, all within the first thirty minutes.

Tensions remained high in the final moments of the first half, with both sides struggling to create scoring opportunities. St Joseph, despite pressing high and frequently penetrating Europa’s penalty box, lacked the finishing touch.

The best chance came on the 41st minute when a curled ball by Lubango narrowly cleared the crossbar.

Perez refrained from making any changes since the red card, leaving Europa pinned back in their own half.

On the 43rd minute, a free kick for St Joseph saw Rey Vasquez deliver a ball into the six-yard box. Europa scrambled to clear it but couldn’t halt St Joseph’s momentum.

The second half began disastrously for Europa, as they gifted St Joseph the lead through a defensive error just a minute in. Lubango capitalized on the mistake, finding the net.

With St Joseph growing in confidence and pressing aggressively, Europa’s ten-man defense was breached again just four minutes later.

Europa’s technical bench protested and received another yellow card.

Immediately after the kick-off, Europa’s defense was caught off guard again, allowing St Joseph to walk the ball into the net. The Blues had transformed a lackluster first half into a dominant early second-half performance.

Europa’s vulnerabilities became evident as they crumbled under pressure. Their weakened squad struggled to cope with playing a man down.

Tensions on the field escalated, with loose challenges sparking protests from the blues before Warwick issued yet another yellow card.

Europa made changes, substituting Gibson with Julian Del Rio, while St Joseph made four changes in the 60th minute.

It’s worth noting that both teams fielded just four homegrown players each, with only two on the bench. This represented a significant drop in available homegrown talent compared to previous matches.

St Joseph had opportunities to add to their lead but chose to control the pace as the minutes ticked away. With Europa failing to pose a real threat, St Joseph secured a comfortable victory, netting three quick goals in the early part of the second half.

The match concluded with St Joseph emerging victorious, sealing a 3-0 win.

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