‘La Balona’ in comfortable victory over 10 man Estepona

Real Balompedica Linense ran out comfortable 2-0 winners against an under-par Estepona side who played most of the second half with 10 men.  ‘Los albinegros’ were well supported in one portion of the stadium, which was holding around 1500 people.  They started the match strongly, and had a few half chances before a moment of individual skill in the 21st minute broke the deadlock.  Juampe took a high pass on the left wing, flicked the ball over the head of an Estepona defender, juggled the ball with his head on the byline, and put the ball in the bottom corner quite comfortably.  The goal was warmly appreciated by the entire crowd, and with it, Linense took hold of the game.

Linense had to wait 21 minutes for their first goal, and had to wait another 21 minutes for their second goal.  A cross on the wing resulted in a goalmouth scramble, and Linense’s Gibraltarian player, Joseph Chipolina (who played yesterday as well) managed to connect his foot with the ball from about 8 yards out, with the ball hitting the underside of the bar before going in.  It all looked like a comfortable end to the half for Linense, but a poor referee decision threatened to change that.

A routine cross from Estepona meant that a player from both sides jumped for the ball.  Both men had their foot a bit high, but somehow the referee (and lineswoman) both agreed that the Linense player had his foot up higher, and gave a rather soft penalty.  However, the penalty was horribly missed by Estepona’s number 7, who managed to kick the ball out of the ground (leaving one of the event organisers to leave the stadium briefly and go into a housing estate to find the ball).

The second half was not as eventful as the first, with the game being played at a slower pace, more akin to a friendly match.  Estepona had few chances to get back into the game, and spurned the ones that came their way.  On the hour mark, Joseph Chipolina came off to a loud applause from the local crowd.

However,  the game took a turn for the worse in the final 10 minutes of the game.  On the 81st minute, a rather high foot from one of the Estepona centre backs led to him getting his second booking, and being sent off, something not often seen in a friendly.  The game seemed to be ending on a slow note, but in literally the final seconds of the game, a poor tackle from a Linense player led to ‘handbags’ from players of both sides.  It took the referee about 90 seconds (the referee and assistants had a largely poor game, giving many dodgy offsides and not giving some blatant fouls to both sides) to deal with the incident, and the game ended soon after.

Tomorrow sees a rest day for the players, and the tournament ends on Sunday, when Los Barrios meet Estepona in the 3rd/4th place playoff  at 6pm, with local rivals Gibraltar and Linense battling in the final at 8:15pm.  The final should see a decent attendance, and it should give the security force (who have done a rather good job in making sure no trouble has occured) something to do.

Final Score: Linense 2-0 Estepona

My Man of the Match: Juampe:  A very effective attacking presence from the Linense striker, who took his goal expertly, and should perhaps have got more goals than the sole goal he got.

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