Gzira through after marathon penalty shoot-out in Belfast

Gzira United defeated Glentoran FC 14-13 on penalties in the second leg of the UEFA Europa Conference League first qualifying round follwoing a 1-1 draw at the ninety minutes and extra-time at The BetMcLean Oval in Belfast on Thursday. Following the 2-2 draw in the first leg at the Centenary Stadium, the aggregate score was 3-3 and therefore the penalty shoot-out had to determine the winner with Gzira scoring fourteen and Glentoran thirteen.

The Maroons took the lead but Glentoran notched the equaliser thirteen minutes in added time after having another goal disallowed four minutes in added time. No goals were scored in extra-time. Both sides scored the first eleven penalties. Gzira scored the twelfth and goalkeeper David Cassar partially saved Glentoran’s twelfth but rushed to celebrate not noticing that the ball eventually crossed the goal line. Both sides scored their thirteenth penalty but while Zachary Scerri scored the fourteenth for Gzira, David Cassar saved Leon Philip Boyd’s penalty.

In the second qualifying round, Gzira United will be facing F91 Dudelange of Luxembourg.

The hosts went close to taking the lead with a Robert Burns effort from outside the area which was, however, parried by David Cassar on the 8th minute. Ten minutes later, Glentoran were awarded a penalty following a foul by Marcelo Dias inside the area but Robert Burns hit wide from the penalty spot.

Three minutes in the second half, Lucas Macula, served by Ewertton had a shot blocked by goalkeeper Aaron McCarey.

The Maroons managed to break the deadlock on the 66th minute when Ewertton released Thaigo Espindola on the left and the latter’s diagonal shot hit the foot of the upright with Lucas Macula hitting home off the rebound.

David Cassar saved partially a Fuad Sule effort on the 74th with Zach Scerri clearing the ball into a corner and six minutes later, the Gzira custodian performed a good save on Rhys Marshall.

Four minutes in added time, David Cassar came to the rescue, tipping into a corner a header by Luke McCullough.

Hardly a minute later, Glentoran seemed to have levelled matters when off a cross from the right, headers by Aidan Wilson and Rory Donnelly were followed by a header by Robert Burns which beat the Gzira goalkeeper. The goal was, however, disallowed for Donnelly’s offside position.

However thirteen minutes in added time, Glentoran notched the equaliser when off a cross by Sule from the right, Aidan Wilson headed the ball in the direction of Robert Burns who hit home from close range.

The match, therefore, went into extra-time.

David Cassar was prominent with a great save on Rhys Walsh, aided by the crossbar, on the 102nd minute and seconds later, with another fine save on Aidan Wilson, aided by the upright.

With the score still draw, the penalty shoot-out had to determine the winner.

Jose WIlkson scored the first penalty for Gzira, Jay Donnelly levelled matters for Glentoran; Jackson Mendoza scored and Luke McCullough replied for Glentoran; Zachary Scerri scored and Leon Philip Boyd equalised; Ryan Essaka scored for Gzira and Jordan Jenkins converted as well; Brooklyn Borg scored Gzira’s fifth and Robert Burns made it 5-5.

Carlos Chaba scored for the Maroons and Rhys Walsh replied for Glentoran; Farid Romero scored despite the goalkeeper’s deflection but Rhys Marshall equalised. Thiago Espindola and Fuad Sule both scored the respectie penalties; Andy Borg scored Gzira’s ninth and Aidan WIlson scored as well; Marcelo Dias scored with the ball hitting the crossbar before ending at the back of the net with James Singleton converting as well. David Cassar scored his penalty and Aaron McCarey scored the eleventh penalty for Glentoran.

Jose Wilkson scored for Gzira and Jay Donnelly”s penalty was partially saved by Cassar with the goalkeeper rushing to celebrate, not noticing that the ball ended up crossing the goal line. Mendoza restored the lead for Gzira and McCullough equalised; Scerri scored the fourteenth penalty but Boyd’s effort was parried by Cassar.

GLENTORAN Aaron McCarey, Luke McCullough, Aidan Wilson, Robert Burns, Rhys Marshall, Rory Donnelly (111’ Jordan Jenkins), Daire O’Conchubhair (97′ Leon Philip Boyd), James Singleton, Fuad Sule, Niall McGinn (69′ Jay Donnelly), Chukwuemeka Uzokwe (79′ Rhys Walsh).

GZIRA David Cassar, Carlos Chabá, Zach Scerri, Marcelo Dias, Lucas Macula (89′ Ryan Essaka), Farid Romero, Ewertton (76′ Andy Borg), Brooklyn Borg, Jose Wilkson Teixeira, Thiaguinho, Jackson Mendoza.

Referee: Sigurd Kringstad NOR
Assistant referees: Oystein Ytterland, Runar Langseth NOR
Fourth official: Daniel Higraff NOR