Wednesday evening’s 6:30pm match was meant to be a women’s first division encounter between bottom of the table Manchester 62 Ladies and Europa FC Women. Instead out came the newly revamped Europa side, and behind walked Spanish regional side Cuevas del Rayo.
According to official sources the league match had been called off at the last moment by Manchester 62 for “as yet unknown reasons.” The start of 2017 was meant to be a new start to the women’s league following a string of events which saw numerous matches cancelled at the start of the season due to differences between the clubs and the Gibraltar Football Association. The latest postponement is nevertheless understood to be a by-product of the stop-start season with word from inside the Manchester 62 camp indicating that discontent among players, along with a depleted squad, has led to a crisis which risks Manchester 62 dropping out of the league altogether.
The fate of women’s football was nevertheless a mixed bag of fortunes. Europa FC, who started the season as the team everyone expected to struggle the most have developed their squad to become firm challengers for points.
Bolstered by the move from Lincoln Red Imps ladies to the ranks of the green machine ladies, Europa FC now have Gibraltar national team forward Sheri Orfila within their ranks. With Costa, Borge, the two Garcias and a handful of other young ladies showing a lot of promise for the future Europa lined-out with a team whose presence provided a confident start for 2017.
Cuevas del Rayo are no newcomers against Gibraltar women’s sides having already played the likes of Lions ladies. They were however, to find themselves on the backfoot early on as Europa’s ladies started with a confident start to the game.
Gibraltar national team playmaker Lorena Garcia soon started combining with Orfila to cut through Cuevas Del Rayo defence. Within the first minutes Europa had already tried their luck at goal as Cuevas Del Rayo tried to settle in.
Garcia, Costa and Bagu formed a solid defensive part of the wall towards goal on the left which kept Cuevas del Rayo back as they also fed the ball forward.
It was not long before Sheri’s impact on Europa was noted as she received the ball to run it through into the box before slotting it past the oncoming keeper for the first.
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