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Football: Gibraltar selection does Gibraltar proud against Northern Cyprus in semi-final of the Wild Cup

Gibraltar, were narrowly defeated by a very strong Northern Cypriot team tonight.

The first half was certainly an eventful half with Northern Cyprus having the majority of the possession and chances. The Northern Cypriots managed to squeeze ahead to take the lead. The goal conceeded was a poor one and our reporter thought the defender could have done better. They continued to pressure the Gibraltarian defense right up to the end of the first half.

Gibraltar did have a few chances but Northern Cyprus was the better team for most of the first half. Gibraltar demonstrated they could get something back in the second half. The first half finished with a 1-0 scoreline to Northern Cyprus.

The Pitch was in appalling condition, a factor which would not have favoured the Gibraltarian side, who are more used to playing on the more predictable surface that is an artificial pitch. The pitch however, was considered bad enough, to never be considered fit enough for any FIFA Standard. This however, was not FIFA but FIFI and the game continued unabated.

The second half saw a Gibraltar resurgence. Gibraltar started well by putting up a spirited fight but Northern Cyprus continued to be on top of the match. As the game progressed Gibraltar’s inability to pull one back and some tired legs meant that Gibraltar made a couple of tactical substitutions, which resulted in them getting back into the match. This was a good managerial decision to get some fresh legs on the pitch. (Gibraltar played in red and black and Northern Cyprus in red and white)

In the 67 minute Gibraltar obtained the first offside of the match, a shame as it looked like Gibraltar were clean through on goal.

Gibraltar’s determination to find the equaliser was demonstrated in their taking the game to the Northern Cypriots half, looking for the goal that would take the semi-final into extra time. In doing so however, they began to leave some holes in the back, leaving themselves open to a counter attack.

Nearing the end of the second half the Northern Cypriots were given a corner, which Gibraltar had to defend bitterly. Gibraltar’s keeper did really well however, and held the ball, thus relieving the pressure on the Gibraltarian defense. At this stage however, it was not looking good for Gibraltar as the scoreline was still 1-0.

The Gibraltarian team, were certainly giving it their all, however in the 90th minute the pressure was too intense on the Gibraltarian defense, resulting in the Turkish Cypriot team, scoring a breakaway goal, with just 4 minutes of extra time left, the Northern Cypriots had secured their lead and succeeded in reaching the final of the Wild Cup 2006.

The Gibraltarian team certainly made Gibraltar proud, especially against such worthy opponents, who will undoubtedly go on to win the competition. One must also consider that the Cypriot team knocked out the two favourites. Gibraltar therefore, certainly deserve a pat on the back.

Final score: Northern Cyprus 2 Gibraltar 0

Gibraltar now get to play the 3rd place playoff unfortunately not live on TV.

Well done Gibraltar!!!

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