Gutsy Gibraltar going for glory against Georgia in grudge group game
Gibraltar (14/1 chances for victory) face number 110 FIFA-ranked opposition Georgia at their adopted home of Faro in Portugal, knowing that they have lost just one of their three matches there.
On top of that, the Eastern Europeans’ senior side have only played in the Iberian country once, losing 2-0 to Portugal in 2008. That scoreline in favour of GFA, as the British overseas territory are nicknamed, is a whopping 300/1 price.
Allen Bula, Gibraltar head coach, though, prepares his side on the back of two consecutive 7-0 hammerings at the hands of Poland and more recently the Republic of Ireland. If you fancy that result in favour of Georgia (odds-on at 1/6 to win) this time around, take odds of 70/1.
Bula boldly said before the qualifiers that he aims to reach the play-offs, but following the Ireland result, he backtracked but hit back at critics, saying: “After seeing that people in my home nation are criticising me for saying things like that, from now on it’s going to be the truth. No, we’re not going to get to the play-offs. We’re just going to try to minimise the score.
“It takes courage to do what my players have done, come from their jobs and play in front of millions of people.”
Both sides are yet to get a point during this Euro 2016 qualifying campaign so far after their two Group D games, with the away nation in this fixture being beaten by British Isles duo Republic of Ireland and Scotland. A draw, therefore, is priced at 6/1.
For Gibraltar, it is about minimising the scoreline as much as possible, but Georgia are currently going through one of the worst spells in their history, having won only two of their last 16 international matches – losing 11.
GFA, meanwhile, have won one of their first seven fixtures since being accepted as UEFA’s newest and 54th member in May 2013, and have taken draws from nations currently ranked higher than Georgia. Spain’s recent conquerors Slovakia (number 40) and Estonia (81), who only recently lost to England 1-0, failed to beat Gibraltar. Their only victory so far is to Malta (155).
For goals in this encounter, back Kyle Cascario, one of only three GFA players to have scored senior international goals, at 7/2 in the anytime market. Defender Joseph Chipolina, distant relative of captain Roy Chipolina, meanwhile, came agonisingly close to grabbing a consolation goal against Martin O’Neill’s men, after his smashing header was superbly saved by keeper David Forde from a corner. He is a 6/1 shout to find the net this time.
Georgia have score just once in their last three games, but Genk midfielder Tornike Okriashvili got his side’s sole goal against Ireland and was also on target this year against Saudi Arabia. He is priced at 23/10 to net again anytime, and 6/1 for two or more.
Gibraltar keeper Jordan Perez, joint top in the all-time cap list with three others on seven, was harshly substituted in the last match, despite conceding all seven and getting an own goal, but was given an ovation by the 35k capacity crowd. Jamie Robba came on for the final 30 minutes, managing not to concede, so could get the nod this time around. Whoever starts, Bula’s boys have odds of 14/1 to keep a clean sheet.