Sunday the 3rd of February, and the world was waiting for a sporting spectacular. No, not that Football rip-off over in the states, this was much bigger, Gibraltar was awaiting its own Superbowl, it was El Derby! For a start, the lights managed to stay on for the length of the derby, something which proved too difficult to ask from America’s greatest sporting event. What about the half time show I hear you ask? Well, as great as Beyonce and a Destiny’s Child reunion was, it still was not enough to trump Victoria Stadium being treated to Aaron Soleci’s Hulk Hogan impersonation! (more on that later)
The match itself was mostly the sort of cagey affair you would expect from a derby. Britannia came close to getting off to a flyer as the left winger cut in off the flank and aimed a shot towards the top corner. Joe Borg, starting again in goal flew across to tip the ball over, a top top save. He then made another comfortable save from distance before a second stunning save from a one on one. Those 3 sole Britannia attacks were the only highlights in a nervy first half. In truth, Boca were lucky to go into the break level and had Joe to thank.
Just before the break came the Hulk Hogan moment. Soleci, after seeing his beloved Liverpool concede an equalizer to Aguero, after Mr Reina decided to take a countryside walk before the game had actually finished (#nomansland), was clearly and visibly upset. The final straw came when Crawford drew a foul on the edge of the box. Clearly incensed, Soleci jumped up to berate the referee and in the process decided to rip open his shirt. With buttons flying everywhere, and Soleci’s torso exposed the crowd burst into laughter, top that Beyonce!
The second half kicked off and soon the ball was in the net. A cross came in from the left and Joe jumped to collect. He was unable to gather the ball however and it was tapped into the Boca net. The goal was disallowed though, as the referee ruled the striker has impeded Joe. It was a sign of things to come as Britannia seemed to take control. Cumbo soon found himself in a scrap brought on by frustration and earned himself a yellow card. Britannia then took the lead as a deep cross into the box was headed past the advancing Joe.
An extremely rowdy Boca crowd had been silenced. Many on the Britannia bench jumped up and began to taunt the Boca faithful, derby day was getting tasty. The Gafa looking for a way back into the match threw on Willy, making a very, very, very rare appearance in the squad. He replaced Makepeace and took a spot in the centre allowing Cumbo to be pushed into a more advanced position. It made little difference and Britannia continued to look comfortable and soon made it 2 with a header from a corner.
Things then just continued to go from bad to worse. As Boca pushed for a way back into the game they were hit on the counter. A break down the right was followed by a low cross in for an easy finish. At 3-0 the game was dead, and so was the once noisy atmosphere. It would however still get worse as Seb earned himself a red card for abusing the referee. His frustration clearly getting the better of him as the referee with the exception of the 2 minutes prior to the sending off had actually had a fairly good game.
Thankfully the full time whistle soon came. Boca’s run was never going to last forever but the pain of it ending here was hard to take. In truth however it was a fairly poor performance with Boca offering very little in attack. A repeated frustration of the crowd was how easily Boca seemed to give possession back to Britannia. The full backs, especially down the left seemed like a low level Pokemon in battle, only knowing the one move. Like a Metapod repeatedly using ‘Harden’ despite it having no affect on its rival, the long ball was booted forward and easily collected by the Britannia defense. It has since become known to me that this may have been a tactical decision taken by management and thus the players can’t be blamed. It did not seem to work however so hopefully players will be allowed to ‘level up’ quickly and learn a new move!
A source from inside the dressing room has also revealed to me that post match, the Gafa felt the team had lost their legs in the centre of the park as they began to tire. Despite having a fresh pair of legs on the bench however in Bill, once again he was overlooked. I know what your thinking, hes not a midfielder. He is however a fairly tall fella who could have been used in an attempt to hold up the ball further up the field. He could have been brought on for once of the tiring midfielders and Crawford, one of the seemingly fitter individuals in the team could have been pushed into the centre to give the team the needed legs. Bill may not be known as the best goalscorer, but he did manage a couple last year lets not forget. At times when things are not going to plan it’s the easier decision to keep your supposed better scorers on the pitch, even if they have been quiet. I would like to urge the manager to have the belief, and have the courage to make the change. Whats the worst that could happen? It would certainly give the crowd a lift, which in turn may lift the players, but what do I know.
Man of the match, sponsored by Twix, will this week be given to Joe, this second already since joining the side. His performance in the first half kept Boca in the game and proves a worthy winner, with in truth not much competition. Another tough match up next, lets not let one defeat sap all the confidence!