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Emmanuel Sunday is FG Player of the Week

Lincoln Red Imps striker Emmanuel Sunday is awarded FG Player of the Week as his six-minute hat-trick helped his side on their way to a 7-1 over Lions.

Emmanuel Sunday – Lincoln Red Imps (1st)

Imps came from a goal down to lead 2-1 at half-time against Lions last Friday. A hat-trick in six minutes from their Nigerian striker proved to be the help they needed to comfortably win.

Sunday has shown this season that he has plenty of goals in him and will be a great addition to keep a hold on for next season.

Liam Walker – Europa FC (2nd)

Walker’s excellently taken goal just before the break killed off any hope Magpies had of getting back into the game last weekend. The Gibraltar international also provided an assist in a 5-0 win over Magpies to keep his side five points clear at the top.

Dean Dillion – Europa Point (3rd)

Dillon was the difference for Europa Point against Manchester 62, scoring twice in a 3-1 win in blustery conditions.

The striker is forming a good partnership with Lukas Lindholm for his side and will be hoping to grow that further in the league and cup.

Domingo Ferrer Lopez – St Joseph’s (4th)

Saints’ win over Lynx was made a lot harder than it should have been. Domingo scored the opener in the first half and assisted Juanfri to make it 3-1 in the second half.

Domingo has been an excellent asset since joining the club in 2017 and has formed a partnership with Boro and Juanfri which Raul Procopio would like to keep for the foreseeable future.

German Cortes Narvaez – FC Boca Juniors (5th)

German took his tally to six goals with a hat-trick in Boca’s crazy 7-5 win over College 1975 in the Challenge Group. The Spaniard will be hoping to use this campaign to get back on track after his serious injury, and betting ban, and reach the potential he did with Gib Phoenix and the few months at Gibraltar United.

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Possible turning point for Magpies?

Magpies win over Lynx last weekend in the Gibtelecom Rock Cup was slender but showed glimpses of promise – could this be the turning point they need to push on and impress for the remainder of the season?

Jaron Vinet finished off an excellent through ball by Brian Perez in the second half to win 1-0 and secure a spot in the quarter-final. It would be hard to say that their win wasn’t deserved and at times, showed a performance to match the result.

After a hit-and-miss season which saw them win their opening three games of the Gibraltar National League, they then went on and lose eight of their next twelve games.

Within the space of four months, Magpies have seen two managers leave, as well as a whole bunch of players leave who realistically didn’t fit the bill of a team in the top six.

Magpies moved away from bringing in a whole host of foreign talent and went for the option of signing Gibraltarian players – a clever move when you remember that the HGP ruling rises to five next season.

There is exciting talent in this squad – Brian Perez showed last weekend that he still has that killer pass, youngster Jaron Vinet continues to improve and other players such as Tyson Ruiz and Shea Breakspear (amongst others) can only help the team get stronger for next season.

One player who has stood out this season has been Dan Bent – the English defender has played 12 out of Magpies’ 15 games this season and has played solidly when called upon – we look forward to seeing how this Magpies team takes shape in the coming months.

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Gibraltar in March double-header in Malta

Gibraltar will face Malta and Liechtenstein in an international friendly tournament hosted by the Maltese FA in March.

Photo (C) William Gracia

The friendlies will serve as good practice for the upcoming Nations League later in the year – both of Gib’s friendly opponents may also be in Gib’s group when the draw is completed on March 3rd in Amsterdam.

Gibraltar have history against both teams in their nearly seven-year spell in UEFA; Kyle Casciaro’s goal in Faro saw Gib, then managed by Allen Bula, beat Malta 1-0 in 2014 in what was their first win since joining UEFA, while as well as a 0-0 friendly draw in 2016, Julio Ribas’ side memorably came from behind to beat Liechtenstein 2-1 in October 2018, thanks to goals from George Cabrera and Joseph Chipolina.

The GFA have also confirmed that Gibraltar will also play two further friendlies in late May/early June, with both opponents and venues to be confirmed.

Fixtures:

Malta v Gibraltar – 26th March 2020 – 4pm – Ta’Qali National Stadium

Gibraltar v Liechtenstein – 29th March 2020 – Kick Off TBC – Ta’Qali National Stadium

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New design for National Stadium to be re-submitted for Environmental Screening

The Gibraltar FA have confirmed this afternoon that plans for a 4,700 seater new National Stadium will be re-submitted for Environmental Screening this month.

Photo (C) William Gracia

The new capacity comes after UEFA made a change to its regulations governing stadia, allowing small countries like Gibraltar to be exempt from the ruling that stadia used for full internationals had to hold a minimum of 8,000 spectators. The GFA had, back in 2018, submitted to the Development and Planning Commission, for the purposes of public consultation, a project to construct a new 8,000 seater National Stadium for Gibraltar, in line with what was then UEFA’s minimum capacity requirement.

As such, the GFA have, in consultation with their project management team and UEFA, reviewed the existing design and chosen to reduce the capacity from 8,000 to 4,700 – a figure which still represents around a 113% increase in capacity from the current Victoria Stadium, which officially holds 2,200 spectators.

The GFA will be applying to the Development & Planning Commission (DPC), by no later than March 14th, for planning permission to construct the new stadium. Once the application has been submitted and validated, the public can inspect copies of the application, plans and other documents submitted either in person at the office of the Secretary of the DPC, or online at egov.gi

Notices were put up on the stadium on Friday 14th February ahead of the beginning of the weekend’s football, which served to initiate the process of notifying the public.

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Gibtelecom Rock Cup First Round Review

Brunos Magpies edged out Lynx in a fiery encounter while FG correctly predicted Europa Point, Europa, Lincoln Red Imps and Mons Calpe all qualifying for the quarter-final.


FC Hound Dogs 0-10 Europa Point

Maybe not the scoreline which many expected but Europa Point cruised through to the next round. Lukas Lindholm & Dean Dillion both got hat-tricks, Joshua Moody with a brace and a goal each from Cian Collins and Omar El Yettefti sealed the win for Ian Hendon’s side.

Europa Point will hope that the bizarre straight red card shown to Omar El Yettefti is received with the minimal suspension.


Europa FC 12-0 Glacis United

The holders made light work of their opponents with an easy win to progress into the quarter-finals. Team selection by Europa raised a few questions on whether such a strong team was needed, but the big guns came out all guns blazing with Labra scoring four goals.


Lincoln Red Imps 15-0 College 1975

Just like Europa – team selection was at full strength and against the opposition which they thrashed 9-1 in mid-September. With their Intermediate team undefeated, this could have been a chance to show off some of their excellent talents.

Emmanuel Sunday was on red hot form with the Nigerian scoring seven goals.


Manchester 62 1-2 Mons Calpe

Mons Calpe came from behind to secure a spot in the quarter-final thanks to a brace from Argentine striker Diego Diaz. Man62 captain Scott Ballantine put his side ahead but after Diaz’s first goal was adjudged to have crossed the line, he made no mistake when firing a shot past Tomizawa in the second half.

A disappointing result for Man62 who gave it a good fight but with Kian Ronan playing striker for the injured Robert Montovio – it never felt as they would get back into the game after the equaliser.


Lynx FC 0-1 Brunos Magpies

The main game of the round didn’t disappoint as Magpies got revenge for their league defeat to Lynx in January and eliminated them from the Gibtelecom Rock Cup.

An excellent through ball from Brian Perez found the feet of Jaron Vinet and his second-half goal secured a 1-0 win.

After some pushing and shoving at the end of the first half, you knew frustrations would boil over eventually and with 10 minutes remaining, it certainly did. An altercation between Mohamed Badr & Dan Bent ensued with a flurry of yellow cards being shown by the referee. Once everything calmed down, Lynx head coach Albert Parody was sent off which was quickly followed by the Magpies captain Brian Perez.


Europa Point, Europa, Lincoln, Mons Calpe, Magpies will join Boca, Lions & St Joseph’s in the pot for the Gibtelecom Rock Cup quarter-final draw.

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Crisp joins Cottrell at Brymbo FC

Gibraltar U21 international Liam Crisp has followed his fellow compatriot Max Cottrell in joining Welsh side Brymbo Football Club while they continue with the university studies in the UK.

During the January transfer window, Crisp and Cottrell put pen to paper at Brymbo FC who currently ply their trade in the Welsh National League – they currently sit sixth in its Premier Division, which is the 3rd tier of Welsh football.

Cottrell, who started off the season at Mons Calpe, was unveiled by Brymbo at the end of January and started their recent defeat in the Cup to Pennydarren BGC.

Crisp was announced on Thursday 12th February from Manchester 62 and the Welsh club confirmed this morning that he is available for their league game this weekend.

Both players will be hoping to gain valuable minutes under their belts with international duty only one month away with the Gibraltar U21’s taking on Norway and Cyprus.

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Gibtelecom Rock Cup First Round Preview

The 2020 Gibtelecom Rock Cup gets underway tomorrow, with Hound Dogs v Europa Point the first of five matches taking place over the next few days – read on for our predictions of all five games.

Photo © Rough and Ready

Hound Dogs v Europa Point:

Europa Point have been resurgent under the managerial guidance of Ian Hendon and come into this one on the back of five games unbeaten – they should in truth have too much for a Hound Dogs side who get their first taste of non-Intermediate League football this year.

Prediction: Hound Dogs 1-5 Europa Point

Europa v Glacis:

It will be interesting to see how Europa approach the cup this year – you’d imagine with the league in their hands they would want to also secure the cup and take the domestic treble, having already won the Pepe Reyes Cup. Their league meeting was a 6-2 victory which in truth flattered Europa, who scored three times in the last 10 minutes vs a tiring Glacis side, but we think, much like vs Lions earlier this year, Europa will show they have learned their lessons of taking teams too lightly.

Prediction: Europa 4-0 Glacis

Lincoln Red Imps v College 1975:

Realistically Lincoln’s final chance of silverware this season, Lincoln may take out their anger of losing back-to-back games on a College side who have yet to pick up a result this season. The league meeting between the two ended 9-1, and we could see a similar scoreline in what may be a lopsided Saturday of football.

Prediction: Lincoln 8-0 College 1975

Manchester 62 v Mons Calpe:

One of the two games which on paper are harder to call, as two Challenge Group teams face off for the second time in a month. In the last meeting, Manchester had more of the ball but were wasteful and lost 3-0 – this time out we see it being a bit tighter with Manchester surely learning some lessons – however we think Mons will have just too much for them.

Prediction: Manchester 62 1-2 Mons Calpe

Lynx v Bruno’s Magpies:

The tie of the round on paper, Lynx take on Magpies having beaten them 3-1 just a couple of weeks ago. Lynx punished Magpies errors in that game, but this one should be a lot tighter with both teams eyeing the cup as their only realistic chance of Europa League qualification this season – this is a game which could easily go to penalties, where we’ve plumped for Lynx to come out on top, just.

Prediction: Lynx 2-2 Bruno’s Magpies (Lynx win on penalties)

St Joseph’s, Lions and Boca all got a bye to the Quarter Finals, but who will join them?

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Hankins: “Life in Las Palmas at the moment is going great”

FG caught up with Las Palmas C & Gibraltar U21 international goalkeeper Jaylan Hankins to get his thoughts on life at his new club, how he has adapted to life in a new city and more.

After joining Las Palmas last summer – we asked Jaylan how he is getting on at his new club, “Life in Las Palmas at the moment is going great, reminds me a lot of home with the weather being warm throughout the whole year. At the beginning it’s like everything, I needed time to adapt to the changes football-wise and also being away from my family.”

Moving away from home is never easy, especially for a young person like Jaylan – we asked the 19-year old how he is has settled in, “I’ve settled in very well. I’ve made some great friends in my time here and I have no complaints in the way my teammates have treated me throughout.”

Joining a professional team like Las Palmas with a professional setup in all aspects of the club is a dream for any young footballer – we asked Jaylan if his move to the Spanish club has benefitted his game in any way, “My move to Las Palmas has made me improve drastically on my positioning and distribution of the ball. It’s something we focused on since the start of the season and it’s paying off as you’ve seen in my international games with the Gibraltar U21’s.”

Jaylan was named on the bench for Las Palmas Atletico (B team) 3-1 defeat to Real Madrid Castilla last weekend – he gave us his thoughts on how it feels to be up against the big teams in Spain, “Being in the bench for such a big game is always nerve-racking but once we went out for the warm-up, it sort of went away and I was ready for anything. The way Madrid Castilla played you could tell that these players have been brought up in a way that most teams haven’t, the fluidity of their game was way faster than any other team I’ve seen including Atletico Madrid B.”

Lastly, we asked Jaylan what his goals are for 2020 – “My goals are to improve as much as I possibly can, impress as much as I can whilst being focused on my training but my most important goal is to enjoy every day as much as I can on the pitch. I’ve been given a lifetime opportunity and it could last me only a few years if things don’t work out well or it could be my entire life if things do go well so that’s my overall goal to play at the highest level of football possible and take care of my family.”

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Juanlu Becerra is FG Player of the Week

Europa winger Juan Luis ‘Juanlu’ Becerra Gallego is awarded FG Player of the Week for his performance in their 5-0 win over Lynx.

Juan Luis ‘Juanlu’ Becerra Gallego – Europa FC (1st)

Juanlu has started all of Europa’s games so far in the Championship Group while his start was slow, Juanlu or ‘Willy’ as known to his team-mates, really came to life in the Lynx game and scored his first two goals in that game.

While his first one has a slight of fortune to it, there was no topic of debate for his second as he sweetly struck a volley past Bradley Banda from an Ethan Jolley cross.

Francisco Cano – St Joseph’s (2nd)

It was hard to pick a standout from what was a tough, tense game between Lincoln and St Joseph’s, but we’ve plumped for a defender who has had to patiently wait for his opportunity in blue and white, but is now taking it with both hands. Cano has played the full 90 in each of Saints 4 Championship Group games, and was a key part of the Saints defence that managed to keep a clean sheet against a strong Lincoln strikeforce for only the second time in the last 10 matches between the two (the other being Saints 3-0 win vs a severely injury-hit Lincoln side at the end of the 17/18 season).

Most impressive from Cano is his performances have meant the absence of the equally impressive Fede Villar has not affected Saints as much as it could have done – Raul Procopio now has more options in defence which can only be a good thing.

Martin Tsvetanov – Europa Point FC (3rd)

Tsvetanov has looked promising since joining Europa Point and was really made to work against a strong Mons Calpe side. The Bulgarian made a number of important saves including Ayoub El Hmidi’s penalty to ensure his side left with at least a point last Saturday night.

Hendon will be hoping that Tsvetanov can continue this good form as his side hopes to reduce the six-point gap between themselves and Mons.

Juanse Pegalagar – Bruno’s Magpies (4th)

We’ve long known the talents Juanse has, from his time at Lincoln, Europa and Mons Calpe, and while he has shown flashes of his talent at Magpies this season, his performance vs Lions was a standout. His first was a tap-in after a keeping error, but his second, a lovely curling effort, proved to be the crucial goal in the 3-2 win.

The Spanish playmaker was controlling the game and when he was subbed off, you could see Magpies start to lose their stranglehold on the match – further highlighting his importance.

Alberto Caravaca – Lions (5th)

Caravaca best sums up Lions tenacious, fighting spirit in his displays as captain, and Saturday was no exception. His goal was his 11th of the season, and third in four Championship Group games – showing he can get goals in the top half too.

While Lions ultimately may not finish any higher than sixth, they are proving to be a worthy member of the top half, with the likes of Caravaca posing tests for the other top half sides.

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Del Rio and Escobar grab January FG Monthly awards

In a month which saw the National League start its split into two separate divisions, Lincoln’s Julian Del Rio and Europa’s Rafael Escobar are FG’s Player of the Month and Manager of the Month respectively for January.

Photo © Neil Wilson/Lincoln Red Imps

FG Player of the Month – Julian Del Rio (Lincoln Red Imps)

January was a breakout month for Del Rio, who grabbed his opportunity to start vs Lynx and Magpies in style, scoring four across both games including a hat-trick against Lynx across the space of 41 in-game minutes (as well as an assist in that game). The 17-year-old has started to position himself as a potential longer-term option for a Lincoln side who know they’ll need to re-build the local core of their side in the coming years.

Other impressive players last month were Juampe; the Europa winger who has been key to a lot of his side’s success and scored a hat-trick vs Lions, while in the Challenge Group, in a battle between Lee Muscat and Aaron Fleming for third spot, we’ve opted for the new Europa Point signing, with three goals and an assist, with his contributions among those that have seen the side become the nearest challenges to Mons Calpe for the title of “best of the rest”.

  1. Julian Del Rio (Lincoln Red Imps)
  2. Juan Pedro ‘Juampe’ Rico Dominguez (Europa FC)
  3. Aaron Fleming (Europa Point FC)

FG Manager of the Month – Rafael Escobar (Europa FC)

While both Lincoln and Europa both won their two games in the top half, Europa’s 3-1 win over St Joseph’s was enough to propel Escobar to the top of the pile this month in the managerial awards. The win was key in keeping the title challenge on track (as we saw with subsequent matches in February), while they learned the lessons from taking Lions too lightly before Christmas, by dispatching of them 5-0 this time.

German Crespo’s start was impressive, putting 5 past each of Lynx and Magpies, and Lincoln should have no fears of being caught from any of the teams below them, leaving them solely focused now on trying to claw back 2nd place if possible. Meanwhile, in the Challenge Group, it was again between Mons and Europa Point, but with Mons managerial situation being unclear at times in January (Leo Vela was on the touchline while reappointed manager Luis Blanco was in the stands), we’ve gone with Ian Hendon – the former Barnet manager has overseen an improvement in his squad while also winning all 3 matches they played in January, scoring 12 in the process.

  1. Rafael Escobar Obrero (Europa FC)
  2. German Crespo Sanchez (Lincoln Red Imps)
  3. Ian Hendon (Europa Point FC)