”Sam with the ball in and it’s headed past his own keeper!! Boca lead in the 90th minute!!!!” The own goal was nowhere near as comical as either of these goals by this idiot:
but it still brought a smile to our faces in the stands. After 4 games without a win, Boca managed to sneak a result which gave us all a reason to be cheery for the next few games and the summer. The game looked to set to end in a draw after a good, solid but goal-less performance from the lads, although that was until Sam had other ideas, as one of his crosses was diverted into the net by one of the defenders to give us a 1-0 win in the lovely May sunshine.
The eleven men chosen for this game were Phil, Sam, Eliy, Bear, Crofo, Nyall, Xemi, Sean, Rick, Mo and Seb, there were 5 at the back in a new formation tried by Berllaque. The talking point was already being highlighted in the stands as Bear and Pardo exchanged an awkward hand-shake in the pre-match formalities, there was more to follow on this incident. Boca started the game brightly and soon had some good attempts at goal. Good build up play resulted in Sean shooting over minutes before Mo ran onto a through ball which saw his shot saved by their keeper. Some sloppy Boca marking allowed for the maroon’s to have their first effort at goal, a header which sailed wide and didn’t cause Phil any trouble. It was a reminder though, that Boca couldn’t afford to lose concentration despite dominating as all it would take is one chance and we could find ourselves a goal behind.
Mo was again causing havoc in the area and found himself running onto another pass but he dillied dallied on the ball for too long, he delayed shooting and eventually got tackled. They went up the other end and had the ball in the net courtesy of Justin Santos. He was adamant that he had beaten the offside trap – and after a chat in Champs on Saturday, he claimed to have been 2 metres on-side – but anyways, the linesman had raised his flag and Boca were counting their lucky stars. Shortly after this controversial moment, Nyall signalled to the bench and he was replaced by Nali due to an injury. As Nali arrived on the pitch, Boca’s newest fan made his way to the stands, Lucas had arrived to watch the game as well. The game drifted on and became a more even contest as the first half drew to a close, Rick and Seb both tried their luck before the ref blew his whistle to signal Jaffa Cakes and Tea time.
The 2nd half began with Seb on a mission and he found himself through on goal, he tried to dink a shot past the keeper but didnt quite have the composure to finish. Nali found himself in the opposition half and had a cross-come-shot on target, but the effort was deflected out for a corner. The resulting corner came in and Seb headed over with Boca seemingly in control of the game. Crofo who was enjoying another fine game ran down the left and played a neat 1-2 with Sean but the centre back’s cross went straight out for a goal kick. Boca were in control and the gaffer reacted by bringing fresh legs on.
Hamza replaced Seb and was involved right from the off. Txemi held the ball up well under pressure from 3 players, he laid off to Rick who released Hamza but he miscontrolled and couldn’t quite dribble past the onrushing keeper, another let off for Olympique. Rick was then made a superb tackle in our half and attempted to play Mo in with a good ball, sadly the off-side flag rightly went up and Boca were denied again.
With 20 minutes to go, Txemi limped off with cramp and replaced with Sols who is enjoying a very good run of form. Boca’s biggest chance to score was with a 3 on 1 break but Hamza didn’t seem to be have his controlling boots on and the chance went begging. Boca were beginning to look frustrated and pushed forward again, Nali again was in the opposition half getting on the end of a cross, the effort was creeping in slowly but the keeper made a diving save to parry the ball away for a corner. That would have been a historic moment but Nali was denied. There was coming together of Pardo and his hero fairly late on in the game, Bear can’t have done himself any favours after taking him off his feet, literally.
The imaginary 4th official was getting his board ready to show a big 3 when the biggest moment of the match occurred, Sam coasted down the right wing and aimed a ball at Mo in the penalty area, one of their defenders knew he had to deal with it and got his head to the ball, the contact was slight and the ball had beaten everyone and in it went. The maroons slumped to the ground as one, while Boca celebrated wildly. Anyone who believed this game meant nothing to anyone clearly didn’t envisage the contrasting emotions that were on display on the hallowed Victoria Stadium turf. Boca led 1-0 and a mere 2 minutes later, the final whistle went much to the delight of the Boca-rones.
A game that was played in great spirits provided us with late drama and thankfully a Boca win. This is generally known as the friendliest rivalry in Gibraltar football (one of their lads even celebrated with us and gave me a packet of fags! Cheers!) And that was clearly on show at the full-time whistle. Fans mingled together and the players and back-room staff all walked down the tunnel in happy spirits. Man of the Match sponsored by Steven Gerrard’s slip went to Mo who covered every blade of AstroTurf on the pitch! The only thing missing from his performance was a goal but nevertheless, he deserved the MOTM accolade! Bear also deserves a mention here as he harshly clattered his biggest fan during the game, whether that will change attitudes towards Bear remains to be seen. We will of course be the first to let you know if they do change!