Gibraltar 1-0 San Marino: What we learned

Graeme Torrilla scored on his senior debut in Gibraltar’s 1-0 win over San Marino this afternoon – here’s what we learned from the result in the Nations League.

Scott Wiseman is vital in this team

After more than four years since he last represented Gibraltar, Scott Wiseman walked straight into Julio’s team and was solid throughout. His runs, pitch awareness and experience played a big part in today’s win.

Julio’s biggest accomplishment after last year’s back-to-back wins against Armenia and Liechtenstein is being able to secure the services of Scott on a full-time basis. He will play a huge part in the progress of Gibraltar going forward.

Torrilla’s hard work pays dividends

Graeme Torrilla’s injury suffered in April 2019 could have been a career-ender, but the midfielder, who has now been a match-winner at U21 and senior level, showed how strong he is mentally to recover from such a serious setback.

In just his second match in 16 months, the 23-year-old, whose goal came as a late birthday present after his birthday on Thursday, bossed the midfield and added a dimension that Gibraltar has lacked in recent years. All going well, he should be a key part of the team for years to come.

Thankfully Berardi missed

Today’s formation did not have the kind of impact which maybe Julio believed it would go into the game. Playing with Anthony Hernandez in a false 9 role with our only striker Lee Casciaro on the wing, left Gibraltar with few attacking options for Liam Walker to pick out.

Roy Chipolina spoke about how Gibraltar lacked in the final third and fortunately, Berardi’s miss early in the second half went wide. Things will have to change ahead of Liechtenstein on the 10th of October.

Sometimes it matters more that you win, than how you win

Gibraltar dominated the stats today, but did lack a cutting edge and was clearly not used at this level to be the dominant side. However, the three points were the main objective today and they secured that.

At this level, you don’t always have to win pretty, but you need to ensure you take the points if you can – Ribas will no doubt have told his players that, even if they had to grind it out and be patient, the key part was getting the win at the final whistle.

Lack of fans in the ground is noticeable

Comparing today to the win vs Liechtenstein in 2018, the noticeable difference was how the crowd helped carry Gib at times in the second half. UEFA ruled that the games in September have to be behind closed doors, and that took the edge a bit off the game.

While from the stadium you could still hear fans from their homes, cars and nearby bars, nothing is more important than having a crowd in the ground. With no home game until November, fingers crossed that is the case vs Liechtenstein again.