Gibraltar earned a maiden victory in an UEFA recognised competition, but they did it the hard way as they came back from 5-2 down to beat San Marino 7-5.
Hat-trick hero Liam Clarke had set off Gibraltar in the right direction, scoring after 51 seconds, but the rest of the half was won by San Marino, who went 3-1 up 10 minutes later. Clarke grabbed a second, but further goals from Michelotti (who also scored a hat-trick) and Belotti ensured the Sammarinense went in with a healthy three goal advantage, and a great chance of securing their own maiden futsal victory.
However, the second half was where Gib started their comeback, as George Cabrera scored after just 14 seconds of the restart. Within five minutes, Gibraltar were level, as Joseph Chipolina got his third goal of the competition, before Liam Clarke secured his hat-trick.
Ten further minutes of domination by Mario Prescott’s team was finally rewarded as Lee Casciaro put Gibraltar 6-5 up, before Roy Chipolina secured the victory with two minutes to spare.
It is fair to say that Gibraltar showed both sides of their play either half, as the team who played Montenegro seemed to contest the first half, before the outfit that competed respectably against France came out for the second half, to get the five goals and earn Gibraltar’s maiden victory.
All in all, the last four days have been a very important adventure for Gibraltar, which will teach them a lot about the challenges that UEFA football bring, regardless of whether it is on the 11-a-side pitch or the futsal arena. Valuable lessons will be bought back home, and hopefully this is the first of many adventures around Europe for Gibraltar.