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Europa unfortunate in Djurgarden defeat

Europa were knocked out of Europe tonight after a narrow 2-1 away loss to Djurgarden of Sweden, with a saved penalty, a red card and the woodwork coming back to hurt the visitors.

Photo (C) C Correa Photography

Europa were not well fancied in the betting going into the game, but proved to be a match for the Swedish champions, and Rafael Escobar’s side had a great chance to go ahead from the spot just before half time – however Liam Walker’s penalty was saved well, and Djurgarden went up the other end to score through Curtis Edwards.

The setback did not deter the visitors though, and they got their reward in the 57th minute. A defensive mix up at the back by Djurgarden left Adrian Gallardo with an empty net to finish into and get his side back into it. Europa were to fall down to 10 men soon after though with Alex Quillo picking up two bookings in four minutes.

Europa kept on fighting, but would go behind to a penalty from former Burnley midfielder Fredrik Ulvestad. The woodwork would then go on to deny Europa a second equaliser, and later chances for Walker, Gallardo, and 18-year-old Gibraltarian Mitch Gibson, a surprise inclusion onto the field of play near the end, could not be converted as Europa lost in the narrowest of circumstances.

The final statistics, of 9 shots each team told the story of a tight match, which on another day, Europa may have been able to win – they will likely take confidence from the performance though going into the domestic season.

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Rangers too strong for Lincoln

Rangers progressed safely into the next round of the Europa League by beating Lincoln Red Imps 5-0 at the Victoria Stadium.

Kyle Goldwin was the only change in William’s side with the Gibraltarian replacing Lolo Soler, new signing Tjay De Barr made the bench while Steven Gerrard made seven changes.

Imps were made to worry early on after Scott Wiseman pulled up after making a run down the right but the Gibraltar international was able to continue after receiving medical treatment.

James Tavernier scored a lovely free-kick to open the scoring for Rangers on the 20th minute and doubled their lead just before half-time through Connor Goldson’s header.

Goldwin made a couple of good saves early in the second half to keep the score at 2-0 and were unlucky not to pull a goal back after Roy Chipolina’s close-range shot was saved by Allan McGregor.

Alfredo Morelos and Jermain Defoe would come off the bench to get onto the scoresheet with the former bagging a brace. Rangers saw the game out with ease and will now face Dutch side Willem II.

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Djurgardens v Europa: Match Preview

The second part of today’s Europa League double-header involving local sides sees Europa in Sweden, as they take on Djurgardens at the Tele2 Arena in Stockholm.

Photo © C Correa Photography

Europa, who moved into the Europa League after defeat to Red Star Belgrade, take on the Swedish champions, who lost at the same stage to Hungarian champions Ferencvaros, in what should be another tough encounter for Rafael Escobar’s side, who haven’t had the luck of the draw so to speak with the teams they have drawn out – the winner of this has to play CFR Cluj in the next round.

Europa’s most recent visit to Sweden saw them lose 1-0 to AIK back in 2016, and they will be hoping that this time out may be more joyful – they won’t be aided by the fact the hosts, who have two Head Coaches in Kim Bergstrand and Thomas Lagerlof, are 19 games into the Allsvenskan season, which started in June – they sit fifth in the league though which for last season’s champions is not ideal.

Before the game, Bergstrand spoke about the ball-skill and good organisation of Europa, noting they only went behind to Red Star initially due to an offside goal. He also noted that while his team should be able to hurt Europa, they also have to respect them. Liam Walker, Europa’s captain, spoke to FG yesterday ahead of the game, which you can read here.

Squad News:

Europa’s squad has been bolstered by the return of Ethan Jolley, as well as the arrival of new signing Kwadwo Poku – the pair would be expected to start at the Tele2 Arena this evening. They will be without Ibrahim Ayew and Blas Alvarez though, who have not travelled with the team to Stockholm.

For the hosts, they are confirmed to be without Erik Berg, Jesper Nyholm, Emmanuel Banda, Nicklas Bärkroth and Alexander Abrahamsson, according to their official website. One player that may catch the eye is English midfielder Curtis Edwards, who played both legs for fellow Swedish side Ostersund against Arsenal in their historic Europa League run of 2017/18. The Swedish side also have midfielder Kevin Walker – the Swedish/Irish 31-year-old won the 2013 Swedish Pop Idol, singing alongside Robbie Williams in the final.

Betting:

The hosts understandably go into this game as massive favourites, with 1/20 the best price you can get on them winning in 90 minutes. Europa are 45/1 to cause a big shock, while the draw in 90 minutes is 14/1. The handicap line is set at 3, with Europa 13/10 on +3. Meanwhile, if you do fancy Djurgardens to win but Europa to score, that is currently 11/4.

FG’s Predicted XI’s:

Djurgardens – Bratvelt; Witry, Une Larsson, Kack, Augustinsson; Ulvestad, Karlstrom; Eriksson, Edwards, Ring; Chilufya

Europa – Munoz;Jolley, Olmo, Carrascal, Olivero; Walker, Rosa, Badr, Becerra; Juampe, Gallardo

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Lincoln v Rangers: Match Preview

Lincoln take on Rangers this afternoon in the first of two Europa League Second Qualifying Round matches involving Gibraltarian sides today.

Photo © Neil Wilson/Lincoln

Lincoln, who earned this tie by beating Union Titus Petange 2-0 in the last round, come up against a Rangers side going very well in the Scottish Premiership; Steven Gerrard’s side have won six of their seven games so far, without conceding a single goal, and are currently top of the league.

Lincoln, who famously beat Celtic at the Victoria Stadium in 2016, will be hoping to complete an ‘Old Firm Double’ by beating Rangers, and at the press conference yesterday, Lee Casciaro, who scored the winner that night, spoke about his sides chances and noted that unlike against then Brendan Rodgers side, this is a one-legged tie which adds a different dimension to the match.

Meanwhile, Gerrard, whose Rangers side of course played here last year against St Joseph’s, stated that he didn’t believe the artificial surface would pose any problem to his side – some teams in Scotland such as Hamilton, Kilmarnock and Livingston have used them in the Scottish top flight.

Squad News:

Lincoln are believed to have no new injury concerns ahead of the game, with Joseph Chipolina remaining out from his injury last year. Therefore, it will be expected that they pick a similar team to that which beat Union Titus Petange, and were set to face Prishtina in the round before that. Tjay De Barr has joined the team, but didn’t feature for the national side against San Marino, therefore is still short on match fitness since his injury in November, and may have to settle for a spot on the bench.

For Rangers, the good news is that striker Alfredo Morelos is available, despite suffering a knock on the weekend against Dundee United. Meanwhile, former Liverpool winger Ryan Kent is expected to be involved and will be a key threat, having scored four in seven so far this term. They will be missing a few players though, including Ryan Jack and Joe Aribo – the pair scored across both legs of the tie vs Saints last summer.

Betting:

It will come as no surprise to anyone that Rangers, who reached the Last 16 of this tournament last season, are big favourites to win today – the best you can get on them winning is 1/12, while Lincoln are as big as 60/1 in places to recreate the shock win vs Celtic against the other member of the Old Firm.

Ryan Kent, who is in good goalscoring form, is 6/5 to notch a goal today, while for Lincoln, Lee Casciaro is 10/1. Graeme Torrilla, who scored the winner for Gib vs San Marino, is 40/1 to repeat his goalscoring touch for his club side anytime.

FG’s Predicted Lineups:

Lincoln XI – Soler; Wiseman, Lopes, R. Chipolina, Sergeant, Britto; Hernandez, Torrilla, Yahaya, L. Casciaro; Kike

Rangers XI – McLaughlin; Tavernier, Goldson, Helander, Arfield; Davis, Kamara; Kent, Hagi, Roofe, Morelos

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Walker: “We are all in a positive mindset”

FG caught up with Europa captain Liam Walker ahead of their Europa League tie with Swedish side Djurgårdens IF Fotboll tomorrow.

We asked Liam how preparation has gone for tomorrow’s game, “Preparations have gone as well as we can, as we all know the COVID situation so we have to adapt but it has been good.”

Liam gave us an insight into the mood among the team going into the game, “The mood around the team is good, we have a great group of players and we are all here for the same thing and that it is a success, so we are all in a positive mindset and are ready for tomorrow.”

Europa made four signings in their build-up to the defeat against Red Star last month but also lost some big players like Dayle Coleing and Manu Dimas – we asked Walker how the new signings have settled in, “The new players have settled in great, you would think they have been around for ages, but since day one they have integrated into the group fantastically and as well they are great players so the signings have been positive for us.”

Lastly, we asked Liam what he hopes to achieve for the upcoming season – “As every season I want to win everything, that’s my aim, but we know we are up against other good teams so we will go as we always have and we will take each game as it comes and play every game like its a last.”

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FG interview with Scott Wiseman

With less than a week to go until Lincoln plays Rangers in the Victoria Stadium – FG spoke to Scott Wiseman about their UEL tie, Gibraltar’s win over San Marino and more.

The 34-year old made his debut in Lincoln’s win over Union Titus Petange then followed it up with a victory in the UEFA Nations League against San Marino after a four-year absence from international football.

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Lincoln draw Rangers while Europa travel to Sweden

Scottish giants Rangers will play in Gibraltar for a second consecutive year, this time against Lincoln Red Imps while Europa faces a tricky away trip to Djurgårdens IF Fotboll of Sweden – we got the reaction of the respective captains Roy Chipolina and Liam Walker on the draw.

Wins over Prishtina and Union Titus Pétange have set up a mouth-watering encounter against Steven Gerrard’s side Rangers. The Victoria Stadium will be familiar territory for the Scottish giants who beat St Joseph’s 4-0 in last season’s campaign.

Lincoln captain Roy Chipolina gave us his reaction to the draw, “It’s fantastic for Lincoln and Gibraltar football. To draw the mighty Rangers is very exciting and the kind of team that you dream to play against. We know how tough of an opposition they are and I guess its another David and Goliath fixture.”

After beating knocked out in the preliminaries of the Champions League by Red Star Belgrade, Europa faces another tricky trip in the second qualifying round of the Europa League when they take on Djurgårdens IF Fotboll of Sweden. A tough draw but a great experience nonetheless and playing in the great Tele2 Arena.

Europa captain Liam Walker had this to say on the draw, “It’s another tough team that we have been drawn against but we will prepare to go there and try to get the win.”

Both games will be one-leg and take place on the 17th September.

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Europa and Lincoln to find out Europa League fate today

Europa and Lincoln will both learn their Europa League opponents for next month’s Second Qualifying Round, in today’s draw at 1pm.

Photo (C) C Correa Photography

Europa, who lost in the Champions League to Red Star Belgrade, drop into the Champions Path of the Europa League draw, and their potential opponents, who all followed them out of the Champions League, are: Djurgarden (Sweden), Flora Tallinn (Estonia), Riga (Latvia), KR (Iceland) and Tre Fiori (San Marino).

Meanwhile, in the Main Path, Lincoln, who qualified after a 2-0 win last week vs Union Titus Petange, are set for a big draw, with their three potential opponents being: Stade de Reims (France), Rio Ave (Portugal) and Rangers (Scotland).

The draw takes place on UEFA.com at 1pm today, and the one-legged matches are set to take place behind closed doors on the 17th September.

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Torrilla: “I think we managed the game perfectly”

After Lincoln’s 2-0 win yesterday against Union Titus Petange, we caught up with midfielder Graeme Torrilla, to talk about his return to playing after serious injury, his thoughts on the match and more.

Photo (C) Lincoln / Neil Wilson

Torrilla suffered a serious injury playing for Mons Calpe back in April 2019, and yesterday was his first game since then – how did it feel for him to play once again, and for 90 minutes? “It felt great to be back on the pitch after being out for so long, especially for such an important game for the club & coming away with a win to top it off.”

Lincoln, especially in the second half, were in control of the game and could have won by more than two, with a bit of luck – does the midfielder agree that the team got their game plan spot on? “I think we managed the game perfectly, we knew they were a team who liked to keep possession so we let them play in the areas of the pitch that wouldn’t cause us much problems & then took full advantage when we had chances to attack.”

Lincoln signed Torrilla while he was recovering from his injury, and gave him the chance to recover before giving him his debut in the match yesterday – how grateful is the 22-year-old to his new employers for giving him that chance? “I mentioned it when I first signed for the club, that I was grateful for the opportunity & was looking to repay them in the future. Even though it was my first game here I think it’s a great start to what hopefully will be a great season for both myself & the club.”

Lincoln could draw some big teams in the main path of the 2nd Qualifying Round, including the likes of Tottenham, AC Milan and Wolfsburg – any preferences for Torrilla in the draw? “I wouldn’t say there’s a big preference as I’d love the chance to play one of the big teams like Milan or Spurs, but coming up against one of the weaker sides at home would give us a great opportunity to progress into the next round.”

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Lincoln vs Union Titus Petange: Preview

William Amaral de Andrade will be hoping to finally get his managerial debut underway as Lincoln Red Imps take on Union Titus Petange in the first qualifying round of the UEFA Europa League.

After last week’s fiasco with Prishtina, Lincoln’s forfeit win saw them progress and set up a tie against the side from Luxembourg at the Victoria Stadium.

FG understands Lincoln are at full strength with the players raring to go. Last week’s lineups saw Scott Wiseman, Jack Sergeant and Graeme Torrilla look set to make their competitive debuts and you would expect William to name the same side.

The 2020-21 campaign is UT Petange’s first-ever in the UEFA Europa League. The Luxembourg side finished 4th last season and qualified after their league was cancelled due to Covid-19, the same decision taken in Gibraltar also.

Petange’s season started last weekend with a 2-0 win over FC UNA Strassen thanks to goals from Mounir Hamzaoui and Robert Maah.


Betting:

Lincoln goes into the game as slight underdogs at 7/4, with Union Titus Petange currently 23/20 to qualify in 90 minutes. The betting seems to favour goals being on the card, with Over 2.5 goals being a 4/6 shot, while if you fancy Lincoln to be leading at half time and win the game, that is currently 7/2.


Predicted lineups:

Lincoln XI – Soler; Wiseman, R.Chipolina, Lopes, Britto; Sergeant, Yahaya, Torrilla; Kike, L.Casciaro, Hernandez

Petange XI – Ottele; Hamzaoui, Kodjia, Hauguel, Lauriente; Kakoko, Kabore, El Hamzaoui; Teixeira, Gashi, Maah