A second late winner in as many games saw Lions secure their Championship Group place in a 1-0 win over Europa Point yesterday.
Photo (C) Black & Burst
Europa Point saw debuts from the start handed out to Kailan ‘Ping’ Perez, Luke Evans, Louis Parral and Andrew Lopez, with teenagers Kyron McGrail and Ellis Wilson appearing off the bench, while Lions bought Borja Valades back into the starting lineup and started Didi Peacock – between the two sides 13 HGP’s started the fixture.
In a first half of few chances, Lions were the more active of the two sides, with Europa Point keeper Daniel Tudela kept busy by the likes of Peacock and Ivan Ruiz, although Ping, who was playing against his former club, did have a chance to put Europa Point ahead just before the break which he headed wide.
The second half went much the same way as the first, with Tudela pulling off some very good saves to keep the scores level. However, Europa Point had a glorious chance to go ahead just before the hour mark, and despite a brilliant team move, John Stewart squandered the chance to put his side in the lead.
Ruiz was pulling all the string and coming closer with each effort to scoring, including hitting the post in the 87th minute with a free kick, and the former Glacis and Gib Phoenix midfielder would have the final say. After Lions won an 89th minute penalty, the 30-year-old coolly finished with a Panenka penalty to send Lions into the Championship Group with a game to spare. Ping, who had limped off injured with no subs available to replace him, was sent off soon after, and the game drew to a conclusion. Europa Point remain 10th, but will have taken some confidence from the performance of their strengthened team.
Europa Point: Tudela; Ping, Evans (Jac. Webber, 33), Jos. Webber, Hayes, Martinez (Wilson, 65), El Yettefti (McGrail, 67), Parral, Stewart, Lopez, McCarthy
Unused Subs: Garcia, Juel-Saleh, Chiles-Cowell, Torrilla
Lions: Valades; Tovar, Bosio, Breakspear (Prescott, 82), Cintas, Peacock, Buhagiar, Ruiz (Jimenez, 90), Verjaque (Pomares, 45), Cortes, Hastings
Unused Subs: Victor, Rumbo, Gaivizo, Dobinson
Yellow Cards: Ping, Hayes, El Yettefti, Stewart, Lopez, Wilson; Breakspear
Red Cards: Ping