A drab, uninspiring goalless draw between Andorra and Gibraltar last night saw Julio Ribas’ start with seven defenders in the friendly match.
After Friday’s defeat against Slovenia, Ribas surprised everyone by naming an unchanged side for the second friendly international, choosing not to use Gibraltar’s final non-competitive match of 2021 to experiment with different players or formations ahead of September’s triple-header of qualifiers.
While the final score was an improvement on Friday’s 6-0 reversal against Slovenia, the underlying statistics in last night’s match at the Estadi Nacional did not make for particularly exciting reading. Gibraltar mustered only one shot on target all night and managed only 32% possession against a team considered to be at a similar level to them.
For their part, Andorra were not much better and offered up little as well – on a night where fellow micro-nation Faroe Islands beat Liechtenstein 5-1, Andorra and Gibraltar showcased the more cautious side of the smaller section of European football.
Also of surprise was the fact that Ribas only used three of his available six subs in the friendly, with seven of the 24 man squad who flew out to Slovenia and Andorra not given a single minute of action, including Jack Sergeant who failed to make the bench in either international.
Arguably the only positives from the match were Gibraltar ending a four-game losing run, with Dayle Coleing adding a clean sheet after a busy last few internationals, while captain Roy Chipolina picked up his 50th cap in the UEFA era, joining Liam Walker in being the only two Gibraltarians to do so since UEFA. Chipolina of course has been a stalwart of the national team for the last 20 years, and was part of the team which won gold in Rhodes in the 2007 Island Games.
Gibraltar’s next matches are in September, where a home match against Turkey is sandwiched in the middle of away internationals at Latvia and Norway.