Kike is FG Player of the Week

Lincoln Red Imps striker Enrique ‘Kike’ Gomez Bernal is awarded FG Player of the Week for his performance in their 5-1 win over Brunos Magpies.

Kike Gomez Bernal – Lincoln Red Imps (1st)

The first half especially saw Lincoln’s forwards tear through Magpies defence with great efficiency, and Kike was central to that, scoring twice in the first half to help Lincoln on their way to a 5-1 victory.

The striker looked understandably disappointed to be taken off when on a hat-trick, but with a key date vs his former club Europa on Saturday, Lincoln manager German Crespo was right to ensure he was kept fresh, and more importantly hungry for goals ahead of a massive top-of-the-table clash.

Manu Dimas – Europa FC (2nd)

Dimas continues leading the line for Europa while Adrian Gallardo recovers from injury and has done so very well. The first goal had a slice of luck about it but made no doubts about the second with an exceptional header and was a constant thorn in the Saints defence.

Escobar will be hoping he can continue this fine form into this weekend’s match against rivals Lincoln.

Jaydan Parody – Lynx FC (3rd)

After making his debut for Lynx in 2014/15, Jaydan fell off the radar. After joining Phoenix U23’s in 2018, he would sign for FC Olympique in January 2019 where he would be an instant impact and would later be rewarded with a deal at Lynx.

The 21-year old was instrumental in Lynx’s win over Lions – grabbing a goal and brought a fluidity to their play which they would later miss as Lions would later come back into the game after his substitution. If Jaydan continues to show these types of attributes then it won’t be long until he is rewarded with a spot in Julio’s squad.

Olmo Gonzalez Casado – Europa FC (4th)

Olmo has been one of Europa’s most consistent performers since joining the club in 2018. He’s flourished under his new defensive partnership and while Sergio Sanchez is scoring the goals, Olmo is more than happy to do the dirty work for his side.

The 32-year old put in one of his usual performances which we’ve come to expect from the experienced defender and did a great job of keeping the St Joseph’s attackers quiet throughout.

Ayoub El Hmidi – Mons Calpe (5th)

There were a few candidates for fifth place, but given Mons faced Manchester in what was the featured game of the Challenge Group, we’ve plumped for Ayoub El Hmidi, who scored a second-half brace to ensure Mons take seemingly full control of that group – they are six points clear of Europa Point at the ‘top’ of that group now.

The youngster may find himself disappointed not to be competing in the top six, but it could ultimately be a blessing in disguise – should he keep playing, and keep scoring in the Challenge Group, there’ll be eyes on the 19-year-old from bigger teams in the league.


Europa beat Saints to move four points clear

Europa beat St Joseph’s 3-1 to move four points clear in the Championship Group ahead of next week’s crunch match with Lincoln Red Imps.

Saints started the stronger side and had a number of great opportunities to open the scoring and possibly score a few more, but Dayle Coleing was on hand to keep them all out – in particular, his reaction save from Boro’s half volley in the 12th minute.

The game evened out as it went on, but a goal from nothing by Manu Dimas gave Europa a 1-0 lead with two minutes of the first half remaining.

Two minutes into the second half and St Joseph’s had the ball in the Europa net – but Ezequiel Rojas’ goal was disallowed for offside. A few minutes later, St Joseph’s would finally get their goal as Cristian Pecci’s free-kick from an outrageous angle curled over Coleing and went in to make it 1-1.

Europa regained their lead just after the hour mark; Manu Dimas met a lovely cross and headed the ball past Jamie Robba. With five minutes to go, Europa was awarded a penalty for an apparent handball and captain Liam Walker dispatched of it to make it 3-1.

Tensions started to boil over for St Joseph’s, especially with the little amount of added time given (three minutes) and would end up finishing the game with 10 men with Pecci being sent off.


Raul Procopio signs new long-term St Joseph’s contract

Ahead of tomorrow’s crunch match with Europa – St Joseph’s manager Raul Procopio & his backroom staff have signed new long-term contracts at the club.

Raul Procopio Baizan joined St Joseph’s in December 2016, from Chiclana CF but will be well remembered from his triumphant time at Lincoln Red Imps from 2014-2016.

The Cadiz-born coach has been in charge of Saints for 97 games and won 58, losing 24 and drawing 15 – fans will be hoping he can make it 59 wins against title rivals Europa tomorrow.

Procopio has been instrumental in St Joseph’s progression over the years alongside hard-working individuals such as Juanjo Bezares, John Paul Hendrick and Stuart Rodriguez.

The club has qualified for Europe for two consecutive seasons, most notably the 2018/19 season where after finishing 3rd, they defeated Prishtina in the first round – going on to play Scottish giants Rangers – managed by none other than Steven Gerrard.

Saints have an excellent chance of putting an end to the continued dominance of Lincoln & Europa – an unfortunate draw in the final few minutes against the latter and a win against the former leaves the team second in the Championship Group.


Top 6 confirmed for Futsal Premier Division

Bavaria edged out Laguna 2007 on goal difference to secure a spot in the Top 6 – joining Lynx, Spartans, South United, Europa and College 1975.

Lynx FC – 1st

Lynx have picked up from where they left off last season and look on course to secure another title. Despite suffering a few minor hiccups on the way, the league champions have gone from strength to strength and could look to leave their best performances for the play-offs.

Spartans FC – 2nd

The Futsal new-boys have been a team that caught many off-guard. No one would have expected them to be in the position they currently stand and with a team full of talented players, their only downfall could be the lack of HGP’s, as only three were registered in their 10-1 win over Inter Principa last weekend.

South United FC – 3rd

South will be looking to go one better after luck wasn’t on their side in last season’s play-offs. Alan Parker brings a fluidity to this team which has been beneficial in striking up a great partnership with Alberto Caravaca and Lee Muscat. One issue that needs to be addressed quickly is the lack of numbers on matchdays, especially if this team wants to be competing at the top.

Europa FC – 4th

Europa might not be having as much enjoyment in Futsal as they are in Football but have brought a great competitive edge to the league. Led by captain Ashley Rodriguez, who has 20 goals to his name already, and the experienced Mark Moxham in goal – they’ve proven to be a difficult team to play this season.

College 1975 – 5th

College 1975 sit in different halves of the table in Futsal and Football but their all local approach has worked well. Most notably their 2-2 draw with Lynx is the only team that has taken points away from the league champions this season. Competing at the top may be a step too far but they could definitely be a possible banana skin for certain sides – keeping hold of Nicholas Castle after his heroics in Gibraltar’s recent win over Northern Ireland will be a huge boost also.

Bavaria FC – 6th

A 3-3 draw against Zoca Bastion on the final day of Round 1 edged out Laguna 2007 on goal difference. Bavaria will need to hit some form heading in the split as stats don’t look too kindly on them, with their only win vs the top 6 coming against College and losses against the top 4 sides. One position which needs highlighting is their goalkeeper which has let them down during most games.


Julian Del Rio is FG Player of the Week

17-year old striker Julian Del Rio is awarded FG Player of the Week for his performance in Lincoln’s 5-0 win over Lynx.

Due to the league split, FG Team of the Week will be replaced with Player of the Week which will see us select 5 of the best players from each matchday including the Championship & Challenge Groups respectively.

Julian Del Rio (Lincoln Red Imps) – 1st

Talk about making an impression in front of the new manager. The 17-year-old stepped up to the plate with a hat-trick and an assist on top of that, marking a near-perfect afternoon for the striker – who would have got a fourth had the woodwork not been in the way. Early days of course, but the youngster could be the “joker in the pack” so to speak for Lincoln in this title race.

Juanfri Pena Garcia (St Joseph’s) – 2nd

Tight matches can often be decided by which team takes their chances, and Saints will be thankful that Juanfri did. He was in the right place to capitalise on a mistake for the opener, while his second, albeit deflected, was a big goal as it gave Saints the lead back with just over 10 minutes to go – without it they may have dropped big points.

Bernardo Lopes (Lincoln Red Imps) – 3rd

Lopes played in the middle of a back three, as new manager German Crespo played an attacking 3-4-3 style formation, and the Portuguese defender played with the style and calmness that we’ve become used to – even getting on the scoresheet at the other end of the pitch

John Paul Hernandez (Lions Gibraltar) – 4th

Don’t let the 5-0 scoreline fool you into believing the game was as open as you may think. Europa had a lot of possession but Lions’ sturdiness in defence and their 17-year old goalkeeper pulling off a number of excellent saves. The scoreline looked respectable until a few questionable refereeing decisions put the league leaders out of sight.

Aaron Fleming (Europa Point) – 5th

Fleming was one of Europa Point’s many signings and a player which will definitely attract attention in the coming months. His trickery caused the Boca defence all kind of problems and marked off his debut with a goal and assist in a 4-2 win.


Del Rio shines on Crespo debut

German Crespo’s reign as Lincoln head coach got off to a winning start as Julian Del Rio scored a hat-trick in a 5-0 win over Lynx.

With Joseph & Roy Chipolina missing out through injury, German Crespo called upon 17-year old Julian Del Rio to lead the attack with Kike & Lee Casciaro and he didn’t disappoint.

Lynx was dealt a heavy blow during Christmas with their Croatian trio Bukvic, Kokorovic & Marcius leaving the club so Albert Parody handed Andres Salas & Aidan Serra their debuts while oddly Jaydan Parody & Antonio Gonzalez were left on the bench.

After controlling large parts of the game, Lincoln finally got their award in the 37th minute when Julian Del Rio reacted quickest to a rebound and tapped the ball into the net.

Bradley Banda was by the far the busier of the two keepers and made a number of good saves to keep the score at 1-0 before Julian Del Rio got his second on the 64th minute.

The floodgates started to open after that as Bernardo Lopes made it 3-0 just two minutes later and Kike got the fourth on the 72nd minute. Del Rio completed his hat-trick from the penalty spot and the game finished 5-0 for Lincoln Red Imps.


Bosio: “The Gibraltar girls put on two gutsy performances”

FG caught up with Jamie Bosio on a number of topics, including the Gibraltar women’s futsal team’s recent trip to Northern Ireland, his futsal club side Bavaria and how it feels to also be back in 11-a-side action after over a year injured, for Lincoln’s Intermediate side.

Photo (C) Rough & Ready

Bosio spent more than a year out injured but made his return with Lincoln’s Intermediate side in the latter stages of 2019 – how does it feel to be playing again? “It feels good and it has been a long road with many physical and mental challenges but I feel much stronger as a result of it.”

The midfielder, who has been capped multiple times by the national team, would understandably be a player of interest for a number of sides in January, but for now he is happy where he is: “At the moment I have no immediate playing plans but to continue with this young and talented Lincoln U23 side. Also, I’d like to focus on my future in Futsal, not just coaching but also playing in the next few years.”

Bavaria, who Bosio is involved with at a domestic futsal level, sit 7th in the league at the moment, just outside the top six spots – how does the 28-year-old view his sides season thus far? “At the moment I feel that at Bavaria we’ve had a solid start to the league season. We have one game left in the first round and our objective this season was to try to finish in the Top 6 after the league split.

This is still achievable with one game left. We’ve had a tough run of games but the performances have shown us that there is a lot of potential in our all local squad.”

A recent career development for Bosio, who outside of sport is also a teacher, is to move into coaching – most recently the Women’s Futsal National Team who are currently coached by Gayle Langtry – how has the transition from playing to coaching gone? “Being a teacher, the transition to coaching has been relatively easy as many of the traits I also find in my work life. It’s just the additional pressure of developing your knowledge in the sport, which I have been doing for the last 4 and a half years.”

The Women’s Futsal National Team continued their development over the weekend when they traveled to Northern Ireland for a double-header against their hosts – how does Bosio feel the team did? “The Gibraltar girls put on two gutsy performances against a much older and experienced opponent. Our team is relatively new to the sport of Futsal so to play the way we did, particularly in the second game, shows a lot of promise for the future.

We have some young and exciting players like Shani Robba, Reighann Olivero and Tiffany Viagas who at such a young age will only benefit from these kinds of experiences. The future is bright in Futsal!”


Omar El Yettefti to trial with West Ham

Europa Point midfielder Omar El Yettefti has been invited for a week’s trial with Premier League side West Ham United.

Omar will link up with the West Ham U18‘s for one week and will travel to the UK in two weeks after receiving parental permission from his father Abdul, a referee in Gibraltar.

The 17-year old was on the books of the Lincoln Red Imps youth system, before making the switch to Manchester 62 midway through last season – he then joined Europa Point in the summer.

The Gibraltar youth international has been one of the standout performers this season for Europa Point and will be hoping to continue his development.

Speaking to FG, Europa Point head coach Ian Hendon had this to say about Omar – “Since I arrived as the manager of Europa Point FC, Omar has been outstanding in his attitude and desire to learn. I have been so impressed with how he has developed that I contacted several clubs to see if they would invite him on trial. West Ham Utd was the 1st club to say yes and this will provide the lad an amazing opportunity to see how a Premier League Club works. I wish him all the best. Omar is a type of player Europa Point FC wants to help develop.”

Andrew Pritchard, who works for Europa Point said – “I have been involved in developing footballers for over 17 years and Europa Point FC is a club I wanted to help. Since July, the team and I have worked hard to develop players. It is exciting and rewarding to see one of our local players being invited on trial to a Premier League Club such as West Ham Utd. My aim to continue to work hard and give more players from Gibraltar the chance to progress their footballing career.”


Long-term injury for Joseph Chipolina

Lincoln Red Imps and Gibraltar defender Joseph Chipolina could be out for up to a year with a long-term injury.

The injury dates back to Lincoln’s win over Manchester 62 in December 2019 which saw Joseph Chipolina subbed off at half-time. The 32-year old has ruptured his ACL with the projected timeframe on his return is believed to be given 9-12 months, depending on the operation.

The injury will be worrying for club and country; Joseph has been a pivotal figure every time he has walked out onto the pitch and will be a huge miss especially at this part of the season.

With a squad not blessed with many more experienced Gibraltarians, compared to previous seasons, new manager German Crespo will need to look towards his younger players such as Julian Del Rio, Craig Galliano and Ethan Thorne-Llambias to fill the void.


Lions pair win FG monthly awards in December

After being successful in their pursuit to be the sixth and final team to make the Championship Group, Lions duo Albert Ferri and Alberto Caravaca are FG’s Manager of the Month and Player of the Month for December 2019.

Photo © C Correa Photography

FG Player of the Month – Alberto Caravaca (Lions)

Lions two main striker, Alberto Caravaca and Luisma, were key figures in getting their side across the line in to sixth place in the final weeks of the season – and with five goals in three matches, Caravaca is the one who edges out his team-mate for player of the month in December. The attacker, who also plays futsal for South United, scored in all three matches he played, and his braces against Glacis (3-1 win), and Boca (6-4 win) were vital in getting Lions above Mons Calpe come the league split.

The duo may find goals a little harder to come by in the Championship Group, although with both of them scoring in the 5-2 loss to Europa, they will still fancy their chances of adding to their goal tallies of eight and six respectively. In third this month is Domingo Ferrer, who scored in both of St Joseph’s matches in the month – a player who arguably goes under the radar given the goalscoring exploits of Juanfri and Boro, but an important part of Saints side nonetheless.

  1. Alberto Caravaca Castro (Lions)
  2. Luis Manuel ‘Luisma’ Casas Dominguez (Lions)
  3. Domingo Jesus Ferrer Lopez (St Joseph’s)

FG Manager of the Month – Albert Ferri (Lions)

Last month, we mentioned the job Ferri was doing at Lions and hinted that if he could get his side into the top six, which at the start of the season seemed unlikely, that he would be a contender for this award in December – and he managed just that, beating Glacis 3-1 and Boca 6-4 to take the last spot over Mons Calpe. Even in defeat against Europa they showed some of their battling qualities, taking a 2-0 lead against the current league leaders, and giving them a scare before eventually falling to a 5-2 defeat where the difference in fitness levels told clearly.

Ferri, and Lions in general, will be under no illusions at to the size of the task in hand in the second half of the year, but in getting to the top six, they have guaranteed their growing number of promising young players more games against the best sides in Gibraltar, which can only serve to benefit their long-term development as footballers. The Gibtelecom Rock Cup could be a potential avenue for a good run in the second half of the season, draw permitting of course.

  1. Albert Ferri (Lions)
  2. Raul Procopio (St Joseph’s)
  3. Rafael Escobar (Europa)