post

New Futsal Leagues get underway this weekend

The long-awaited Futsal Premier & Championship Division 19/20 seasons get underway this weekend with a total of 23 clubs taking part.

The new rule introduced by the Gibraltar FA earlier this week will see 1 HGP on the pitch at all times for the duration of the whole match with the rule expected to rise to 2 for the 2020/21 season.

Each League (Premier and Championship) will ‘split’ after the 1st round of matches to allow a more balanced competition. The number of clubs in each half of the split will be determined by the final number of teams that registered in the respective Leagues by the 31st of August.

Premier Division teams:

  1. Bavaria FC
  2. College 1975
  3. Europa FC
  4. Inter Principia FC
  5. Koala FC
  6. Laguna 2007 FC
  7. Lynx FC
  8. Mons Calpe FC
  9. South United FC
  10. Spartans FC
  11. Zoca Bastion

Games to be played on Saturday 19th October & Sunday 20th October at the Tercentenary Sports Hall.


Championship Divison teams:

  1. Boca Juniors Gib FC
  2. Expendables FC
  3. FC Britannia
  4. FC Hound Dogs
  5. Hercules Football Club
  6. Lek Bangkok FC
  7. Lions Gib FC
  8. Maccabi FC
  9. Rock Solid FC
  10. Sporting FC
  11. St Joseph’s Football Club
  12. Stallions FC

Games to be played Saturday 19th October & Sunday 20th October at the Old Sports Hall.

post

Kvilitaia breaks Gibraltar hearts

A late goal from Giorgi Kvilitaia breaks Gibraltar’s hearts as Georgia win 3-2 after second half goals from Lee Casciaro and Roy Chipolina saw Gib come from behind to draw 2-2.

Gibraltar head coach Julio Ribas made one change from the side which narrowly lost 1-0 away to Kosovo last week with Liam Walker replacing the injured Anthony Hernandez.

Mohamed Badr & Aymen Mouelhi joined Walker in the central of midfield with Lee Casciaro on the right wing, 18-year old Ethan Britto on the left and 19-year old Tjay De Barr the lone striker.

Gibraltar had the first opportunity of the match as Liam Walker volleyed the ball over from outside the box and the visitors replied shortly after with the opening goal in the 10th minute as Giorgi Kharaishvili got inbehind the defence and slotted the ball past Goldwin.

Georgia nearly doubled their lead two minutes later but Valeri Qazaishvili headed wide from inside the box. Twenty minutes in and Georgia made 2-0 as a long range strike from captain Jaba Kankava flew into the top corner which left Goldwin helpless.

The home crowds made Julio Ribas aware of their frustration for the rest of the first half with calls for more attacking football, striker Tjay De Barr found himself in a defensive position more often than not as himself and Joseph Chipolina tried to spur the team into more positive play.

Liam Walker went close to pulling a goal back in the 54 minute as he struck a low shot towards goal which Giorgi Loria excellently pushed past the post. There was a break in play shortly after as a hard challenge from Jack Sergeant on Georgia’s first goalscorer Kharaishvili left the winger unconscious and receiving medical treatment.

Gibraltar had an excellent opportunity to pull a goal back as he found himself through on goal, rounded Loria and hit the side-netting from a tight angle. Gib finally got that goal which they deserved in the second half as Lee Casciaro fired in from an Ethan Britto cross to make it 2-1 to Georgia.

Liam Walker was once again Gibraltar’s main threat going forward as he struck a long range effort which looked destined for the top corner but Loria pulled off a stunning save to keep it out. The resulting corner was delivered into the box and bundled over the line by captain Roy Chipolina to make it 2-2 with fifteen minutes to go.

80 minutes in and Julio Ribas made a double change as Andrew Hernandez & Erin Barnett replaced Mohamed Badr & Joseph Chipolina. Georgia regained the lead in the 83rd minute through Giorgi Kvilitaia.

Gibraltar appealed for a penalty in the 86th minute as Liam Walker went down in the box as he tried to waltz his way through Georgian defenders but the referee said no.

Julio Ribas made his final change in the 88th minute as Alain Pons replaced Liam Walker as they search for another equaliser. Even with the 6 minutes added time, Gibraltar could not find a third goal and Georgia won the game 3-2.

post

Gibraltar v Georgia: Preview

Gibraltar take on Georgia tonight at the Victoria Stadium, as the hosts look to get their first points of the European Qualifiers in front of their own fans.

Photo © C Correa Photography

With the final two group games being against Denmark and Switzerland, today realistically represents Gibraltar’s best chance of getting a positive result, and a year on from recording back-to-back wins in the Nations League, Julio Ribas side will be looking to recreate those historic moments against their opponents.

Georgia, like Gib, can not qualify directly for Euro 2020 via Group D, but they have the fall-back option of a guaranteed play-off spot after winning their Nations League group last year. They beat Gib 3-0 in Tbilisi back in June, and Vladimir Weiss’ side will know that victory tonight will at least ensure they can not finish last in their group.

The visitors arrived yesterday into Gibraltar, albeit with only a squad of 19 after four players withdrew from the squad who faced Ireland in a battling 0-0 draw last weekend – Tornike Oqrishvili, Saba Lobzhanidze and Vako Gvilia are injured, while Guram Kashia leaves the squad in order to get married. For Gibraltar, the only confirmed change to the squad is Bradley Banda replacing Dayle Coleing, who suffered a recurrence of the hamstring injury he suffered vs Switzerland last month, when playing against Kosovo in a friendly international last week.

At the press conference yesterday afternoon, Ribas spoke about how it was “disrespectful” to refer to Georgia as Gibraltar’s weakest opponent in Group D – both because of their recent results, which include draws vs Ireland and Denmark, and because that Gibraltar must respect their opponents in the same way Gib want to be respected by their opponents.

Ribas also noted the possibility of changes to his eleven tonight from the last qualifier in Sion, with the manager saying there was “concern, but not worries” over the recovery of a couple of players from Thursday’s very physical friendly, where a deflected effort saw Gib lose 1-0 in Prishtina. Liam Walker is expected to start though, with the midfielder, Gibraltar’s highest capped player since UEFA admission, rested on Thursday night to ensure he was fully fit for tonight. Both Joseph and Roy Chipolina are also in line to earn their 40th caps for the national team post-UEFA.

Betting:

Georgia are 2/9 favourites to pick up all three points tonight at the Victoria Stadium, with the draw currently 6/1 and a Gibraltar win as high as 18/1. A repeat of June’s 3-0 victory for tonight’s visitors is currently 6/1, while a 1-0 Gibraltar victory is priced at 40/1.

With Gibraltar expected to be stubborn defensively, much like on Thursday night, there could be value in backing Gibraltar +2 on the handicap, which is currently 6/5 best price. Meanwhile, if you fancy the Georgians to win and keep a clean sheet, that is currently a best price of 31/40.

FG’s Predicted XI:

Goldwin; Sergeant, J. Chipolina, R. Chipolina, Olivero; Mouelhi; Walker, Hernandez, Badr, Casciaro; De Barr

post

Kosovo v Gibraltar: Preview

Gibraltar take on Kosovo this evening in an international friendly, as they prepare for Tuesday’s qualifier at home to Georgia.

Photo © Naps

The game, between two sides who joined FIFA on the same day in 2016, will be ideal preparation for the upcoming qualifier, and will provide a stern test given Kosovo went nearly two years unbeaten before losing 5-3 away at England in their most recent qualifier back in September.

The hosts have made impressive progress in the short time they have been on the international football scene, and find themselves with a great chance of actually qualifying for Euro 2020 – they are only one point off an automatic qualifying spot in Group A of the qualifiers, and even if they fail to reach that, they have a guaranteed play-off spot due to winning their Nations League group last year.

For Gibraltar, tonight will no doubt be treated as if it was a full qualifier, with Head Coach Julio Ribas going into every game with the same high intensity – as shown in the last friendly match against Estonia back in March. As such, we expect few changes if any to recent starting line-ups, although with six subs able to be used instead of three, some of Ribas’ fringe players will be hoping to get important minutes under their belts ahead of trying to push for a more regular spot in the first eleven.

The squad itself is largely similar to the team who faced Switzerland and Denmark last month, with only three changes – Louie Annesley, who misses with a foot injury, as well as Jared Buhagiar and Jason Pusey are not in the squad, with Lee Casciaro, Ethan Santos and Mohamed Badr in – the latter two, including the Egyptian-born Lynx winger Badr who recently became a Gibraltarian after living here for five years, could make their international debuts tonight, while Badr’s Lynx team-mate Brad Power will also be hoping to earn a maiden cap at some point this evening.

Betting:

Kosovo are 1/12 favourites to win the friendly tonight, with a draw being 13/1 and a Gib win as high as 45/1. Gib will be hoping to attack their opponents tonight and try to get on the scoresheet, and BTTS is currently 11/8 best price. The handicap line is currently set at 3, although if you place your bets smartly you can even get Gibraltar +4 at 4/5 – Gib have only lost two away games in the last two years by 4 or more goals.

FG’s Predicted XI:

Coleing; Sergeant, J. Chipolina, R. Chipolina, Olivero; Mouelhi; Pishu, Hernandez, Walker, Badr; De Barr

post

O’Keefe: “We will take a lot of confidence moving forward”

We caught up with Europa Point goalkeeper Conor O’Keefe as he reflects on his sides 2-0 win over Mons Calpe last Saturday, his Youtube channel which has 18.2k subscribers and more.

Europa Point secured their first win of the Gibraltar National League as two late goals saw them win 2-0 against Mons Calpe – O’Keefe reflected on his sides performance, “It was a tough game with Mons Calpe. They are a very solid side, so we knew we had to raise our level after a poor run. The first half was evenly matched, and they had a few good chances, but we worked hard defensively to keep them out. We were then able to take our chances towards the end. But I felt we had more control of the game than previous fixtures, so we will take a lot of confidence moving forward from this point.”

Europa Point drew their opening game against Lions and since then have suffered three straight defeats. Yesterday’s result moves them into 8th, we asked Conor how it felt to get their first win of the season, “It’s a huge boost. Everyone at the club has been working 24/7 to get us to this point, given that we’re a completely new squad. We’ve had some bad luck with injuries, and things not falling our way, but the players, the manager, the coaches and the club have pushed together to help the team to come through the other side. So to get our first goals and 3 points of the season – alongside another clean sheet – was a great feeling. We need to make sure that we work just as hard now to turn this into a good run of form that brings more wins, and all our attention is now on our next game against Boca.”

Before last Saturday’s game, results haven’t been the kindest to Europa Point but Conor O’Keefe has earned many plaudits after putting in some decent performances, especially against Europa where they only lost 1-0. We asked him how it felt to be already noticed so early on in the season, “I appreciate it, but my focus is on being the best goalkeeper I can possibly be, and helping Europa Point to win games as a result. I was excited by the opportunity to come and play in Gibraltar, and I’ve loved my time here so far. My aim has always been to work hard every day to improve my game, to showcase my ability to people, and to help my team, so that’s what I will continue to do.”

Conor isn’t just a good goalkeeper but also has an outstanding following on his Youtube channel. At the age of 22, his channel has over 18k subscribers and the keeper produces vlogs to help those younger players wanting to make a name for themselves in professional football. The Europa Point goalkeeper gave us an insight into what his channel is all about, “Yes, I have a vlog series called ‘Keeping Goals’ which is published weekly on my YouTube channel. I try to document my journey, and show the reality of what it’s like as a goalkeeper working to make it to the top of football. It started 2 years ago when I was playing in Madrid during my year abroad, and continued during my final year as a student athlete at Loughborough University, and finally to now playing for Europa Point. Biopics like the Ronaldo film are great, but you know that they make it to the top; I wanted to document the highs and the lows as they happen, with neither myself or the viewer knowing how the story will end. The aim is to bring some insight and value to people, and ultimately help other goalkeepers in their own careers.”

post

Gib Squad announced for upcoming internationals

Gibraltar manager Julio Ribas has announced his squad for the upcoming friendly against Kosovo, and the qualifier against Georgia later this month.

There are three changes from the squad that faced Denmark and Switzerland – Europa’s Jason Pusey, and Brunos Magpies Jared Buhagiar have been dropped from the squad, replaced by Mons Calpe’s Ethan Santos, and Lynx’s Mohamed Badr – the Egyptian born midfielder recently became a Gibraltarian citizen after spending five years playing and living here. Louie Annesley also misses out from the squad due to injury – Lee Casciaro of Lincoln Red Imps is also in the squad after recovering from injury.

The team are expected to travel to Kosovo this weekend, playing the friendly on Thursday night against a side who scored twice vs England in their last match, before hosting Georgia in their sixth of eight Euro Qualifiers this year.

post

Lincoln pair win September Player and Manager of the Month

After a 100% record in September, Lincoln duo Sergio Molina and Victor Afonso are FG’s Player and Manager of the Month for the Gibraltar National League.

Photo (C) Neil Wilson

FG Player of the Month – Sergio Molina (Lincoln Red Imps)
A straight-forward decision this month – after scoring a hat-trick in August, Molina went and scored two more hat-tricks in Lincoln’s two games last month – a hat-trick of hat-tricks is some achievement at any level and if he can keep his goalscoring form going, Lincoln will keep on racking up the big scorelines.

  1. Sergio Molina (Lincoln Red Imps)
  2. Liam Walker (Europa FC)
  3. Antonio ‘Gato’ Ramon Rincon (Lincoln Red Imps)

FG Manager of the Month – Victor Afonso (Lincoln Red Imps)

The only manager with a 100% record in the month, Afonso bounced back from the disappointment of an opening-day defeat to ensure Lincoln get back on track and back to the upper echelons of the table, where they will feel they can now push on to regain top spot in the coming weeks.

  1. Victor Afonso (Lincoln Red Imps)
  2. Albert Parody (Lynx)
  3. Raul Procopio (St Joseph’s)
post

Warwick: “We carried out our game plan to perfection”

We caught up with Manchester 62 goalkeeper Frank Warwick to get his thoughts on his sides recent 3-0 win over College 1975, his goals for the new Futsal season with Bavaria and more.

Goals from Evan Coleing, Luismi Perez Lobato and Yuri Ruh Dos Santos secured Manchester 62 a 3-0 win over College 1975, their first three points of the season. We asked Warwick how he felt the team played, “It has been a slightly surreal start to the season for us as this was only our third game in over 2 months training, and despite two very positive performances in our games against Boca and St Joseph’s we only had 1 point in the table, so it was crucial we picked up the 3 points against College. The lads have been working hard on the training ground and we carried out our game plan to perfection. Our first-half performance was excellent, starting the game at a high tempo and taking in a 2 goal lead into the break. The second half was more of a professional performance whereby we ensured we conceded little at the back and tried to hit them on the counter. All in all a very good performance from everyone.”

Warwick joined Manchester 62 in the summer and linked up with head coach Jeff Wood who got the 25-year involved in the senior national team during his time there. We asked how it feels to be back playing regularly, “It’s been great to finally get some regular playing time and feel important within the team. Despite some great moments at my boyhood club St Joseph’s, I thought it was the correct time to finally come out of my comfort zone and look for some playing time. Despite it not going as well as I would have hoped for at Glacis last season, for a number of circumstances, I have continued to work hard. Jeff was key in my signing for Manchester 62 as I know him well from his time with the National Squads both at senior and junior levels.

Manchester 62 are second in the charts (despite only playing 3 games) when it comes to the numbers of minutes played by HGP’s – we asked how the new HGP rule has impacted the league so far, “I think this has really helped many Gibraltarian players feel important again. At Manchester 62 we have built a solid foundation around local players who are there for the love of the game and not financial incentives. We also have a great group of U23 players attending sessions both in Gibraltar and Spain, so it is a very exciting time for the club which hopefully brings its benefits in the near future. Moving forward it is important that despite the increase in HGP‘s, locals continue to approach training in a professional manner.”

The new Futsal season is expected to kick-off soon and we asked Warwick what his goals are for Bavaria, “As you have seen on social media Bavaria is a very active club who are promoting sports all over Gibraltar. The management team have been working hard in building a competitive team and the team is well into the pre-season. On a personal note, it is sometimes not easy to balance 11aside and futsal as the first takes priority which leads to me not attending many sessions. Looking at the new season I think it is going to be a very competitive first division with some very good established teams as well as others who reinforced their squads with some very experienced players. We will take it game by game but we must be looking at making the top half of the table before the league splits, and who knows try to fight for a playoff spot.”

post

GIBRALTAR NATIONAL LEAGUE: TEAM OF THE WEEK

Last week’s results:

Europa 2-2 St Joseph’s (Yome, Walker; Juanma, Villar)

  • Europa 2-2 St Joseph’s (Yome, Walker; Juanma, Villar)
  • Lions Gibraltar 1-7 Lincoln Red Imps (Caravaca; J. Chipolina, Molina x3, Ramon Rincon, Hernandez, Casciaro)
  • Lynx FC 2-0 FC Brunos Magpies (Valdivia, Parody)
  • FC Boca Gibraltar 1-1 Mons Calpe (Acosta; Vinet)
  • College 1975 FC 0-3 Manchester 62 FC (Coleing, Luismi, Ruh Dos Santos
  • GOALKEEPER: Bradley Banda (Lynx)
  • DEFENDER: Federico Acosta (FC Boca Gibraltar)
  • DEFENDER: Hrvoje Bukvic (Lynx)
  • DEFENDER: Jaydan Catania (Manchester 62 FC)
  • MIDFIELDER: Yuri Ruh Dos Santos (Manchester 62 FC)
  • MIDFIELDER: Juan Manuel ‘Juanma’ Gonzalez Perez (St Joseph’s)
  • MIDFIELDER: Anthony Hernandez (Lincoln)
  • MIDFIELDER: Jaron Vinet (Mons Calpe SC)
  • ATTACKER: Marko Marcius (Lynx)
  • ATTACKER: Jamie Coombes (Lincoln)
  • ATTACKER: Sergio Molina (Lincoln)
post

Molina: “Our game plan worked and we beat them comfortably”

We caught up with Lincoln Red Imps midfielder Sergio Molina to get his thoughts on last Sunday’s win over Lions, scoring three hat-tricks in three consecutive games and more.

Molina reflected on Lincoln’s 7-1 win over Lions last Sunday, “We knew that Lions had some tight results in their previous games and that we would need a lot of rhythm in our play if we wanted to hurt them. Luckily, our game plan worked and we beat them comfortably.”

After missing out in Lincoln’s opening 4-1 defeat to Europa, Molina has played in their last three games and has scored a hat-trick in them all. We asked him how it felt to be able to help the team win three on the bounce, “I have never scored a hat-trick in 3 consecutive games so personally, I am very happy with that. It’s also a great feeling to help the team and add three more points.”

With one more game remaining until the international break, Lincoln currently sit fourth with Europa, St Joseph’s and Lynx sitting above them – we asked Molina if this season will be more competitive than the last, “The league is quite tight at this part of the competition. I think that like last year, until practically the end, we will not know who will be champion.”

The 35-year has played for Spanish clubs such as Albacete, Real Jaen, Balona and also a short stint in Greece with Panthrakikos Komotini. We asked that with the experience he has gained, what does he think should be done so football in Gibraltar moves in the right direction – he replied, “Football is a complicated sport in terms of all things that surrounds it. I think that the most important thing is to promote the lower categories, to lay the foundations, and in the long run, the kids will progress from all aspects of football. The technical work, tactical etc and as time goes by, they will become more prepared and contribute more to football in Gibraltar so little by little, football will continue to grow.”