Under 17: Gib 1-3 Belarus
The Gibraltar under 17 went into their second match in Group 11 of the European Championship Qualifiers knowing that they had only narrowly lost against Belgium two days ago by 2-0. Belarus, their opponents yesterday had also faced defeat at the hands of Cyprus, surprisingly the latter is a firm favourite to get through.
Dressed in their blue away kit Gibraltar stepped out onto the field where a handful of Gibraltarian supporters had followed them to Cyprus. Several hundred local supporters followed the action in a live stream by one of the travelling fans.
Gibraltar was first to attack, followed by Belarus. Both teams showed their intent from the start. Neither team had many chances in the first 30 minutes. Belarus had an opportunity to score when they beat the offside trap. Keeper Hankins came out to block for a corner. His efforts in the first have ensured that there was some confidence at the back and he stamped his authority.
Gibraltar eventually broke well from attack forcing a corner, then another before the ball was struck wide over the bar. A defensive error then saw a short pass allow Belarus through to luckily shoot off target.
Gibraltar had a great chance to go ahead when a high lobbed ball caught Belarus defence unaware and the shot from Valarino went just wide of the post.
Gibraltar gained confidence and prodded by the Belarus defence. . A corner in the 32nd minute gave Llambias a chance as he headed down to goal only to see Samovich save.
Just seconds later Belarus attacked and an unfortunate mistake saw Annesey put the ball in the back of his own net for Belarus’ first goal.
Gibraltar didn’t let down and went out to try to get the equaliser. Ronan hit the woodwork as they tried to find a way through.
Gibraltar started the second half on the offensive. A penalty in the first minute of play saw Ethan Britto score the equaliser.
A confident start saw them push forward more. Gibraltar pressed up front for the next few minutes, stealing balls and prodding at Belarus’s defence.
They were nevertheless, forced to endure a couple of minutes of onslaught from Belarus. Saves from keeper Hanklin after two corners were not enough as the ball fell to Belarus for Muzychenka to score from the third rebound. On the 52nd minute of the match.
As the game became more open, both teams were forced to defend their lines against quick breaks.
Keeper Jaylan Hankin proved himself once again when Belarus broke free and he came out to block, and then clear for corner the subsequent shot from the rebound. Gibraltar endured some moments in which Belarus were stepping up a gear looking for their third. Solid defensive displays keeping them out. They kept Belarus from having too many opportunities whilst at the same time prodding the Belarus defence as they tried for the equaliser.
Gibraltar was not having many chances to score as they forced their way forward. Belarus handled the quick breaks well and closed down in defence Gibraltar keeper Hankins was also kept busy as Belarus also pushed ahead.
As Gibraltar stepped up and were getting more chances to go forward Horbach took the opportunity from an assist from Piatrenka to score their third and final goal.
A match in which Gibraltar had thought it might end up with points saw them drop to the bottom of the table without any points in their favour. They next face Cyprus, the hosts in their final group match.