Top 10 Football moments of 2016

The past 12 months have thrown up some classic matches, memorable incidents and remarkable feats.

We take a look at the biggest moments from the Domestic and European footballing scene which will go down in Gibraltar’s growing history. 

Here are our Top 10 moments: 

10 – Lincoln’s reign as the best team in Gibraltar continues

Lincoln Red Imps lifted the first piece of silverware of the season, beating Europa 3-2 in extra-time of the Pepe Reyes Cup. They completed the double when secured their 14th Premier Division title in a row, moving eleven points clear of runners-up Europa and they capped off a great season when they beat Europa again, this time in the final of the Rock Cup 2-0. 

9 – Gib Phoenix powering through the Second Division

Last summer the Gibraltar FA brought in the Home Grown Player (HGP) rule which would benefit Gibraltar’s national manager Jeff Wood with his selection process, however it raised doubts of the competitiveness of the leagues. 

Phoenix were the first team to fall victim of the rule which saw them forfeit the first two games of the season. With their backs to the wall Phoenix were pressured into making some big changes within the club and now after seven straight wins, they currently sit top of the Second Division on goal difference. 

8 – Kike explodes onto the scene

Enrique ‘Kike’ Gomez Bernal was brought in during the summer from Coria CF to fill the void left by Pedro Carrion, who departed for Xerez CD. Kike made his debut in the Pepe Reyes Cup against reigning champions Lincoln Red Imps, a task which has been difficult for many. 

The 22-year old showed glimpses of promise in the first half but rose to the occasion in the second half, netting a brace which secured Europa a 2-0 win and sealed them the Pepe Reyes Cup.

Kike has gone on to top the goal-scoring charts with 14 goals from 11 games. 

7 – From the brink of relegation to Europa League contenders 

It has been a roller-coaster twelve months for Glacis United; they were relegation contenders this time last year but the appointment of Daniel Amaya and the signing of a handful of players saw them end the season in seventh. 

A few weeks/month after the season ended, Amaya departed and Glacis appointed Manuel Pérez Jiménez from UD Los Barrios, and in with him came players which he knew such as Juan Manuel Llaves, Francisco Cano Hernandez and many more. One player who Glacis are happy to have kept is winger Salvador Carrasco who was close to joining San Roque.

6 – It was Europa Point’s year 

Europa Point were founded in 2014 and were led by chairman John Gontier. Before their maiden season, the club also announced a partnership with Chesterfield in League One, where the English side has first option on any Europa Point player.

After missing out on promotion in 2014–15, Europa Point were crowned champions of the Gibraltar Second Division the following season after an unbeaten league campaign, then completed the double by retaining the Gibraltar Second Division Cup by beating Brunos Magpies 3–2 A.E.T in the final. 

5 – Proving the doubters wrong 

For the second time in three years Mons Calpe made it to the play-offs; in 2013/14 they were defeated by St Joseph’s 2-0 but last season they came from behind to beat Britannia 2-1 thanks to a brace from Sergio Vazquez Gonzalez which finally saw them promoted to the Premier Division. 

A busy summer saw them appoint William Amaral de Andrade as head coach and bringing in a whole new team including Hugo Colace & Michele Di Piedi who have experience playing for Barnsley & Sheffield Wednesday respectively. Mons Calpe currently sit fifth and two points behind the second spot in Europa League.

4 – A record which dates back over 100 years

Britannia went into January of the 2015/16 season in 3rd, with only a last minute winner from Bardon seeing Lincoln beat them and they were a team playing fantastic football. Problems behind the scenes saw them lose a massive amount of players and their decline down the table was rapid. 

They finished in 9th in the table and were relegated after losing to Mons Calpe in the play-offs, a move which would see the club collapse entirely. On the 7th of May, Europa beat Britannia 16-1 with Pedro Carrion scoring an astonishing eleven goals. His goals made the news all over Spain and Carrion is now joint first in the “Most goals in a single top-flight game”, a record which dates back over 100 years ago and was held by Hungarian footballer Jenő Károly. 

 3 – One team’s loss is another team’s gain 

It was one of Gibraltar football’s worst kept secret – after months of speculation Lincoln announced that they would not be renewing the contract of arguably Gibraltar’s best player, Liam Walker. This paved the way for Walker to join arch-rivals Europa on what is rumoured to be a very good contract. 

This move was one which baffled many, with questions behind raised on why Lincoln would sell one of their best players and especially to their biggest rivals in the league. Four games into the new season and it was Lincoln against Europa, where Walker scored the winner in his new side’s 1-0 win over Lincoln.

2 – An unforgettable European adventure 

Europa have represented Gibraltar in the Europa League for the last three years running. In 2014/15 they lost 4-0 on aggregate to FC Vaduz, 2015/16 they got thrashed 9-0 by SK Slovan Bratislava all in the first round. In 2016/17, they beat Armenian side Pyunik in the first round 3-2 with Pedro Carrion scoring their first ever goal in a European competition. 

They faced off against Swedish side AIK in the second round and lost 2-0 on aggregate, a very good result against a side which have played regularly in the Champions League & Europa League. 

1 – The biggest goal in Gibraltar’s footballing history 

2016 has been a crazy year in football; you had Leicester City winning the Premier League for starts. However a moment which is arguably equally as big, at least on the Rock, is the moment semi-pro side Lincoln Red Imps beat Scottish giants Celtic 1-0 in Brendan Rodgers first game in charge. 

For the second year running Lincoln made it into the second round of the Champions League. In the first qualifying round they beat Flora Tallinn 3-2 on aggregate to progress and set up a mouthwatering tie against Celtic. The Victoria Stadium was packed to its fullest, the game was trending on social media and the whole world was watching the game on TV. 

Celtic were strong favourites, which was expected when they put out a side which held the likes of Craig Gordon, Moussa Dembele, who had recently joined from Fulham, and has since been linked with the likes of Man City and Liverpool, Scott Brown and many more players who had plenty of experience at the highest level of the game both domestically and also internationally. 

Lincoln went into the break drawing 0-0 and three minutes into the second half they stunned Brendan Rodgers’ side by getting their noses infront. Lee Casciaro latched onto a perfectly executed through ball from Liam Walker, skipped past the helpless Efe Ambrose and fired past Gordon. Lincoln held firm throughout the rest of the game and at the full time whistle both Gibraltar and social media exploded as they had witnessed Lincoln beat Celtic. 

Celtic made sure no upsets would happen in the second leg as they ran out comfortable 3-0 winners, and the Scottish champions eventually made it to the Group Stages where they faced Mönchengladbach, Manchester City & Barcelona, notably drawing twice with Man City – Aguero and co. clearly couldn’t match the feats of Casciaro and co by securing a victory.