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Netball - UAE become firm favorites after beating Gibraltar in highly contested match

Gibraltar 34-49 UAE

It was a rude awakening for Gibraltar as they took on UAE following their victory in the morning against Switzerland. The UAE went 2-0 ahead before Gibraltar responded with their first to the roar of the crowd. Martinez adding the equaliser.
With height to their advantage the UAE added a third. Soon after adding their fourth after hassling their way to goal.
Gibraltar responded with a well worked third and with the aid of some great defensive work went on the offensive. Megan Martinez once again equalising.
With seven minutes gone the match was already turning out to be a tightly contested affair where Gibraltar still were looking at finding their comfort zone, the UAE taking a two goal lead again.
Gibraltar cut it down to one again and it was Pozo who took advantage of a turnover to equalise at 6-6. Pozo turning the tables as she sunk in the seventh goal for Gibraltar to take the lead momentarily.
The UAE once again turned the tables with intense defending turning to quick attack to take the lead at 11-7. It was Pozo who closed the gap to 11-8. With the last two minutes of the quarter of play seeing Gibraltar up their game to try close the gap further. Unable to score it was the UAE who added their twelfth goal to lead 12-8 at the end of the first quarter.
The four point advantage for the UAE was a narrow enough gap to be closed by Gibraltar who came out strong in the second quarter. Changes in format seeing an immediate intercept by Rovengo.
Although the UAE scored first Gibraltar responded immediately.
A tightly contested first half of the quarter saw the UAE increase their lead to 20-11 as the visitors grew in confidence.
Mcquisten who had come in at the break provided a strong presence at the back but not enough to stop the UAE going further ahead. Gibraltar made changes with Hartman coming on whilst Rovengo went off with Zainya taking back to her defensive role alongside McQuisten.
With three minutes to go for half time Gibraltar changed the momentum of the match and started to claw at the goal gap.
Getting back into their well known fast gear guided by Moreno’s constant energy Gibraltar cut the deficit to finish at half time at 25-19 behind. This leaving the match open to be turned in the second half. The decision from the bench to make changes in the second quarter which saw the Captain coming off ensuring that Gibraltar were still within touching distance to turn the match.
Gibraltar opened the scoring with the UAE responding immediately. Both matching each other goal for goal at first.
With Gibraltar trailing 29-21 with ten minutes of the quarter still to play Gibraltar’s physical conditioning now came into play. A highly contested match required Gibraltar in their third match in two days to find the energy to take on a physically strong and efficient UAE who contested every ball.
Gibraltar saw the gap increase to 33-24 as Pozo Watched the ball dance around the ring and jump out. The UAE responding with a goal of their own before Martinez could add another for Gibraltar.
With Gibraltar ten points behind there were more tactical changes in the hope of closing the gap. To Gibraltar’s frustration the UAE were up to the challenge and kept their momentum as even the calls and rebounds seemed to go UAE’s way. Gibraltar seeing the points gap widen away from them with the UAE finishing the third quarter 40-26 ahead.
Gibraltar opened the fourth quarter scoring with Ferrer who had just come on scoring her first two.
UAE responded with their own to take it to 43-28 and kept on piling the pressure across the whole court.
With ten minutes to go the UAE where 46-28 ahead but with Gibraltar still biting at their heels and not surrendering to what looked as an inevitable defeat.
Some great defending by Mcquisten was rewarded with a goal by Courtney as Gibraltar cut the deficit to 16 points then 15. Joelle Moreno replaced by Janice with five minute left of the match.
Gibraltar was looking at finishing the match positively trying to keep the points difference from not increasing. To the last second fighting both in defence and attack in what was an exhilarating match. The UAE themselves keeping their momentum. In the last second scoring the 49-34 to win their first match of the tournament. The UAE playing this competition for the first time and surprising many by becoming the firm
Favourites after their display against Gibraltar.
Gibraltar now face Malta in the morning with a crucial match against the Isle of Man. The UAE will face their own double header tomorrow which could determine final positions depending on Gibraltar’s results.

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