Joseph Chipolina’s second-half penalty ensured Gibraltar won their first ever competitive match as they beat Armenia 1-0 in Yerevan.
Photo (C) Vivaro News
Lee Casciaro’s endeavour saw Gibraltar win a penalty early in the second half, which his Lincoln team-mate tucked away with consummate ease to give Julio Ribas side the lead. From then, a combination of solid Gibraltar defending and Kyle “Chino” Goldwin’s saves ensure Gibraltar win their second game of 2018 and make it their most successful year so far.
Going into the game, eyes may have been raised at Roy Chipolina’s inclusion, but the experienced defender proved vital for 90 minutes as he guided the backline to victory. Up front, Jamie Coombes was a constant source of trouble for Armenia and arguably should have scored after taking advantage of a mistake in the defence – however his shot was saved and Gibraltar may have been rueing said miss.
Early in the second half though, Lee Casciaro sprung up on the Armenian defence and defied his years to outpace them, winning a penalty in the process. Joseph Chipolina, tasked with taking penalties for Lincoln, stepped up for his national team and sent the keeper the wrong way to make it 1-0.
The question now was whether Gib could see out their lead – a question they answered emphatically. Arsenal’s Henrikh Mkhitaryan, who earns more in a week than Gibraltar’s defence makes in a year, may as well have been in North London he was so anonymous – as was Chicago Fire’s Yura Movsisyan, who was recalled after numerous years out of the team. Meanwhile, Chino was outstanding in goal making every save look like a piece of cake as he ensured a clean sheet for the second time in four national matches.
For new Armenia national manager, Armen Gyulbudaghyants, he could not have had a worse start to his reign as national manager, as he saw his side fall to defeat at the hands of Gib and all but end his teams chance of winning their Nations League group. Despite picking a strong team, and making early second half changed, nothing he could do was good enough to breach Gibraltar’s rock-solid defence, and now he’ll have to pick up his side for their next match against Macedonia, who are now surefire favourites to win the group.
As for Gibraltar, they take on Liechtenstein at home on Tuesday; tonight’s result must surely lead to a full house full of belief as Gib look to build on tonight’s historic result – tickets start from £10 and we hope to see every seat taken at the Victoria Stadium.