Lincoln take on Europa once again in the annual curtain-raiser for the Gibraltar football season; the Pepe Reyes Cup.
Photo (C) William Gracia
The game, which takes place on Sunday at 18:30, sees last season’s League Champions take on the Rock Cup winners for the first piece of silverware in the 11-a-side game this season. After their respective European campaigns, both teams will be raring to go, especially with the season now starting in August meaning there has been less of a gap between the European qualifiers and the start of the domestic season.
Last year saw Lincoln beat Europa on penalties after drawing 2-2 in 120 minutes, but this season if the game is drawn in 90 minutes we will go straight to penalties after the setup of the match was slightly altered to remove the additional 30 minutes – both teams would presumably appreciate that given they start their league season’s on Thursday evening.
Both teams have experienced a lot of change over the last 12 months and even over the summer, with the usual array of transfers from both sides. However, with the new HGP rules in place for the first time, Europa could give a debut to Tjay De Barr, who signed after leaving Lincoln last season – the youngster actually scored the winning penalty for Lincoln in last year’s edition of this match.
Europa have also currently managed to fight off interest from nearby Spanish side Linense for their star striker Kike, and he is expected to start tomorrow, most likely alongside Rubo who has signed from Mons Calpe. Liam Walker will once again face his former club and his return adds another layer of intrigue to this season after his season at Notts County in the English League Two.
For Lincoln, it will be interesting to see who starts up front for them, with Falu, Lee Casciaro and Juanma all playing in the role during the European qualifiers. Ryan Casciaro’s departure from the club earlier this week, as well as his teammate Antonio Calderon, both to St Joseph’s, means that there will be changes to the squad that drew 1-1 with The New Saints last week – Roy Chipolina may be in line to return to the matchday squad after a period out injured. The HGP rules shouldn’t affect a Lincoln side who for almost all of the season had more than three locals on the pitch anyway, but after starting in the second leg vs The New Saints, Sykes Garro could also be in line to face his former club, much like De Barr on the other side.
If you can’t make it to the Victoria Stadium, you can as always follow all the action on Twitter by following @FGScoreCentre, where we will be live-tweeting the match as it happens.