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Europa maintain unbeaten record at College’s expense

Liam Walker and new signing Chico Diaz both grabbed braces in Europa’s comfortable 9-0 win over College 1975 yesterday.

Photo (C) Black and Burst

Europa saw Christian Lopez return in goal, while Dylan Borge dropped to the bench, while Adam Gracia, on loan at College from Europa, was not in the squad to face his parent club, presumably part of the terms of his loan deal.

Europa asserted their dominance from the start, scoring twice in the opening 10 minutes. Sergio Sanchez opened the scoring when he headed in off the woodwork from Liam Walker’s corner, and a minute later Adrian Gallardo made it two, also with a header.

After 20 minutes, Alex Quillo extended his sides lead with a very good free kick which left Kaydan Migge with no chance in the College goal. Alejandro Carrascal made it 4-0, heading in from another Walker corner, and it was the Europa captain who made it 5-0 with a thumping effort after the College defence failed to clear their lines.

The second half saw both sides utilise all five of their subs, with Europa using the lead to give minutes to the likes of Mitch Gibson and Blas Alvarez, while College gave 17-year-old keeper Mark Warwick 45 minutes in goal against the league leaders.

On the hour mark, it would be one of the subs, Alvarez, who got on the scoresheet with a finessed effort from outside the box, before new signing Diaz, who was a second half sub himself, grabbed two in two minutes – first heading in from Willy’s cross, before taking advantage of poor defending from College to make it 8-0. Walker wrapped up proceedings with his second goal of the night just over 10 minutes before full time.

Europa stay top and will eagerly await the result of Lincoln v St Joseph’s tomorrow – the loser of that game will be six points behind the current table-toppers, while College move on to the Challenge Group with the hope of picking up results.

Lineups:

Europa: Lopez; Jolley, Ayew, Juampe (Willy, 62), Quillo, Gallardo (Diaz, 62), Walker, Yome (Gibson, 45), Olivero (Borge, 70), Sanchez, Carrascal (Alvarez, 45)

Unused Subs: Munoz, Polaco

College 1975: Migge (Warwick, 45), Hughes, Sanchez, Matto, Victory (Thorne, 65), Ruh Dos Santos, Franco, Parragues (Pacheco, 55), Gallardo (Wahnon, 77), Ruiz (Marin, 65), Molina

Unused Subs: Galan, Parkinson

Yellow Cards: Perez, Ruiz

Red Cards: None

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Yome: “winning that game meant a lot to us”

FG caught up with Mikey Yome to talk about Europa’s win over St Joseph’s, what he hopes to achieve this season and more.

Two penalties and two assists from Liam Walker helped Europa to a 4-1 win over St Joseph’s last week – Mikey reflected on the result, “I think we played very well considering, as a team, we had only trained for a little more than 2 weeks before the game. We all kept in touch during the lockdown training hard and posting videos of our workouts on our WhatsApp group to keep us motivated for this game. We had a game plan and we stuck to it throughout the game.

Yome’s been a regular figure for Europa this season, starting eight of their nine games – we asked Mikey how it feels to be back playing regularly, “It feels good, to be honest. I used last years lockdown to train as much as possible to get back to my best physically and be ready for anything during the season. Luckily, I’ve had no major injury setbacks and the manager as well as my teammates have shown a lot of confidence in me.

The win over Saints leaves Europa three points clear at the top with only College 1975 left to play – we asked how important last week’s win was as Europa head towards the league split, “I won’t sugarcoat it, winning that game meant a lot to us and we knew it would be a massive boost to our title hopes. Once we left that changing room after the game, we were already focusing on our next opponent. We still have one more game against College before the league splits and ultimately we take each game as they come and plan every week without looking onto the next.

Mikey told us what he hopes to achieve this season, “Nothing would make me happier than winning every trophy possible with this team. That’s the goal. We have an incredible group of lads and we deserve it after last season.

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Liam Walker scores twice to maintain Europa’s unbeaten run

Liam Walker scored twice and assisted twice as Europa maintained their unbeaten run this season with a 4-1 win over St Joseph’s last night.

Walker had Europa after 17 minutes, firing in a penalty after Dylan Borge was fouled. Saints equalised ten minutes later when Juanfri got on the end of Nano’s cross to guide the ball past Jesus Romero.

Europa had a goal disallowed for offside just after the half-hour mark before Saints were dealt a big blow when captain Boro was forced off with an injury.

Stefano Borghi made his St Joseph’s debut in the 65th minute replacing the injured Domingo Ferrer Lopez. Europa regained the lead six minutes later when Liam Walker dispatched another penalty after Mikey Yome was brought down by Jamie Robba – a dubious decision.

Four minutes later and Europa were 3-1 up after Liam Walker’s corner was put into his own net by Juanfri then 17-year old Dylan Borge got his ninth of the season in the 89th minute to put the game to bed at 4-1.


Lineups

St Joseph’s – Robba; Serra (Garro 77), Boro (Juanma 45), Nano, Barnett, Pecci, Juanfri, Villar, Pons, Domingo (Borghi 66), Mouelhi

Unused subs: Hernandez, Rojas, Carrasco, Pishu

Europa – Romero; Jolley, Olmo, Juampe (Quillo 87), Walker, Yome, Olivero, Sanchez, Carrascal (Gallardo 90), Rosa (Polaco 83), Borge (Gibson 90)

Unused subs: Lopez, Alvarez, Diaz

Yellow cards: Robba, Barnett, Villar, Rojas; Sanchez, Borge

Red cards: None

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Jolley: “We’ve remained focused and will continue to do so”

FG caught up with Europa and Gibraltar defender Ethan Jolley to discuss his side’s season so far, being part of a makeshift Europa defence this season and more.

Photo (C) David Roberts

Europa are currently second in the table, behind St Joseph’s only on goal difference with the two sides yet to meet – how has the defender rated his sides season so far? “I think this season has been good so far, things have been a little different this year due to the virus & the effects it’s had on the competition. Nevertheless we’ve remained focused and will continue to do so to make sure we are ready when the league eventually resumes.”

Injuries to key defenders, such as Olmo, Sergio Sanchez and Ibrahim Ayew, means that Jolley has often been involved in makeshift defensive backlines, normally including two, or at times even three midfielders in them – the likes of Mikey Yome and David Polaco among those to fill in – how does the 23-year-old feel they have done? “Injuries will always be a part of football and this year we have had a few. The midfielders who have helped out in defence in my opinion have done just as well as any other defender. When you have good players in your squad which can adapt playing at different positions it makes it much easier to cope with injuries.”

Jolley was part of Gibraltar’s promotion-winning Nations League side, featuring in both games against Liechtenstein – how did it feel when Gib secured top spot and promotion to League C? “It’s hard to put into words how we all felt after achieving what we achieved. Even now almost 2 months later it still hasn’t completely sank in. Its a massive achievement winning an international group and being a part of it is an honour and proud to say the least.”

Finally, we asked the Europa defender what his goals were as a player: “My goals are always to do better than what i have done in previous years. I have always wanted to play abroad to learn more about football and at an international level you get a glimpse of that. All in all the goal is to train harder and stronger and from there see what the future holds.”

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Borge the super-sub in Europa victory

A clever finish from substitute Dylan Borge in the second-half was enough for Europa to take all 3 points in a 1-0 win vs a hard-working, determined Glacis side.

Photo (C) David Roberts

Europa were boosted by the return to the match-day squad of centre-back pairing Olmo and Sergio Sanchez – Rafa Escobar’s team have been using the makeshift pairing of full-back Ethan Jolley and midfielder David Polaco in recent weeks at the back. Meanwhile, for Glacis, James Castle returned to the starting lineup, while Salvatore Gallo dropped to the bench.

The first half was a noticeably quiet affair, with Glacis ensuring Europa could not muster up too many strong efforts on goal in the opening 45. Goalkeeper Marcos Zappacosta was the busier of the two keepers, but aside from a very good point-blank save on the 19th minute, his action was rather routine. Glacis did defend more than Europa, but were looking to catch them on the counter – one such example of this just before the break saw them force a corner off a poor back pass/clearance, but they failed to make anything of it.

The second half followed a similar pattern, until Europa made a double change, taking off Blas Alvarez and Mikey Yome for Alex Quillo and Dylan Borge. However, it was Glacis who almost took the lead, with Christian Lopez in the Europa goal having to make a smart stop to deny Wessel Witbreuk.

That save would prove to be vital, as a minute later, Europa went ahead. After an initial shot was saved by Zappacosta, the ball was put back into the six-yard box, where Borge cleverly backheeled the ball into the bottom corner – the 17-year-old now has eight goals this season in the league – only three players in the league have scored more this season (Juanfri, Kike and Boro), and the teenager has three more goals than the next highest Gibraltarian goalscorer – his team-mate and Europa captain Liam Walker.

Glacis responded by bringing on veteran striker Michele Di Piedi, formerly of Sheffield United, and the 39-year-old made a combative start, getting booked after less than a minute of coming on. The Italian added a bit more bite to the Glacis attack now, who were chasing back to try and claw a point or more from the game, but, apart from one chance where Lopez had to become a sweeper-keeper to snuff out a potential attack, Europa showed very good game-management to slow the game down and nullify the threat from Glacis until the final whistle.

Europa stay on top for the time being, at least until St Joseph’s game vs Magpies on Sunday, while for Glacis, while they remain sixth, they only have one game remaining, vs Lincoln, so they realistically need to beat Mick McElwee’s side to have any hope of keeping that top six spot come the split.

Lineups:

Europa: Lopez; Jolley, Alvarez (Quillo, 57), Juampe, Gallardo (Ayew, 80), Walker, Yome (Borge, 57), Olivero, Carrascal, Polaco, Willy (Sanchez, 67)

Unused Subs: Romero, Olmo, Bautista

Glacis: Zappacosta; Yeo, N. Castle, Derksen, Brinkman (McGowan, 88), Smith, Witbreuk (Di Piedi, 80), Borghi (Gallo, 88), Kaleba, J. Castle, Londero

Unused Subs: Fluxa, Muir, Omari, K. Castle

Yellow Cards: Gallardo; Smith, Londero, Omari, Di Piedi

Red Cards: None

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Gallardo scores four in Europa rout

Europa maintained their unbeaten start to the league with a dominant 9-0 win over Manchester 62.

Mikey Yome and Alex Quillo were recalled to the starting lineup for Europa while Manchester 62 was without stalwart defender Matt Clenahan but were boosted by Tom Farmer’s return from suspension.

Alex Quillo gave Europa the lead from close range which shortly became 2-0 when Juanlu was fortunate to get onto a rebound. Dylan Borge got his seventh of the season and Europa’s third after 31 minutes.

Juanlu notched in his second of the game nine minutes later and Europa had a commanding 4-0 lead at half-time.

Europa brought on Adrian Gallardo at half-time and the Spanish striker scored a quick-fire brace to give his side a 6-0 lead. Adrian Gallardo got his third and Europa’s seventh after 71 minutes.

Escobar would bring on 18-year old Evan De Haro and 16-year old Julian Britto for their senior debuts with the former assisting Juampe to make it 8-0 and the latter’s cross met by the head of Adrian Gallardo for 9-0 to Europa.

HGP’s will take the spotlight tonight with 19 Gibraltarians taking part in the game, Manchester 62 started with seven while Europa started with six and finished with seven.


Lineups

Manchester 62 – El Abd; Ballester (Mifsud 45), Sardena, Pereira, S.De Los Santos (Zammitt 67), Montovio, Ballantine, Negrette, Edzes, Farmer, Garcia

Unused subs: Borge, Langtry, D.De Los Santos

Europa – Lopez (Cabezutto 79), Jolley, Alvarez, Juampe, Quillo (Britto 79), Walker, Yome (Moreno 46), Olivero, Carrascal (De Haro 65), Borge (Gallardo 46), Juanlu

Unused subs: Bautista, Polaco

Yellow cards: Farmer

Red cards: None

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Juanfri and Escobar win FG Monthly Awards in November

St Joseph’s striker Juanfri and Europa manager Rafael Escobar are awarded FG’s Player and Manager of the Month respectively from November 2020.

Photo (C) Black and Burst Photography

FG Player of the Month – Juan Francisco ‘Juanfri’ Garcia Pena (St Joseph’s)

It has been a tricky month, with so few games and the recent removal of Boca impacting that even more, for anyone to really shine this month, so we’ve gone for a striker who notched five in two games last month, in Juanfri. While wins vs Glacis and Manchester were expected, they still had to do the job and Juanfri was a key part of that.

Elsewhere, his Saints team-mate Boro was a close second, while in third place this month, Liam Walker was heavily involved in both of Europa’s wins, scoring from the penalty spot in both and generally contributing to his side’s success.

  1. Juanfri (St Joseph’s)
  2. Boro (St Joseph’s)
  3. Liam Walker (Europa)

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

The top three all recorded two wins in November (Lincoln’s draw with Boca wiped out from the record books for obvious reasons), and it was a toss-up between all three for the manager of the month, but we’ve opted for Escobar to just about take the manager award this month.

In truth, Mick McElwee and Raul Procopio can probably find themselves rather hard-done-by not to win the monthly award, and we’d expect their names to crop up multiple times in the rest of the season.

  1. Rafael Escobar (Europa)
  2. Mick McElwee (Lincoln)
  3. Raul Procopio (St Joseph’s)
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Borge brace helps Europa down Lynx

Two goals from teenage striker Dylan Borge saw Europa beat Lynx 3-1 at a chilly Victoria Stadium last night.

Photo (C) David Roberts

Europa handed a start to Borge, in place of Mikey Yome in the Europa attack, while for Lynx Aidan Serra started at right-back and Jesse Victory dropped down to the bench.

Early in the first half, Juampe had a couple of decent chances to go ahead but was unable to take them, while in the windy conditions, Lynx were enjoying a level of success in playing the ball long and testing the somewhat make-shift centre-back partnership of midfielder David Polaco and full-back Ethan Jolley.

However, it was Polaco who should have put Europa ahead – after a deflected shot found him mere yards from goal, he somehow conspired to put the ball wide of goal and leave the scores goalless. It would mean little in the end, as minutes later Lynx handed an opener to Europa.

Bradley Banda played a short goal-kick to Soumaila Konare, despite the clear presence of both Borge, as well as Liam Walker – the Malian’s touch was poor and allowed Walker to rob the ball, which eventually saw Borge bundle the ball over the line despite Banda’s best attempts.

If the first goal was a gift, the second, just before half-time, was well-earned by Europa. After catching Lynx on the counter using the pace of Borge, his pass to Walker may have been slightly behind the Europa captain, however he was able to set up Willy to score the second of the game, and given Rafael Escobar, who had been noticeably unhappy with his team at times in the half, a slightly easier half-time team talk.

After a good double-save by Banda early in the second half, Europa wouldn’t have to wait too long to make it 3-0. Walker, who ended up with a hat-trick of assists, had a shot on goal, but Borge was clever enough to stick a foot out and divert it the other direction, leaving Banda completely unable to stop the effort going in. Immediately though, Lynx went up the other end and got one back through Dylan Hernandez – more concern for Europa saw Ibrahim Ayew limp off immediately after the goal, with Yome filling in as a make-shift right-back for the remainder of the game.

Lynx showed glimpses of being able to get back in the game, but Europa did waste countless chances to finally kill the match off, and in the end the game ended up 3-1. Europa go top, at least until St Joseph’s and Lincoln’s matches on Sunday, while Lynx remain fourth and won’t go any further down than that by the end of matchday 7.

Lineups:

Europa: Lopez; Jolley, Ayew (Yome, 59), Alvarez (Quillo, 77), Juampe, Walker, Olivero, Carrascal, Borge (Gallardo, 65), Polaco, Willy (Gibson, 77)

Unused Subs: Munoz, Moreno, Poku

Lynx: Banda; Serra, Power, Konare (Morente, 55), D. Hernandez, A. Hernandez, Parody (Ruiz, 69), Gonzalez (Torres, 79), Espinosa, Chuky (Huart, 79), Bauti

Unused Subs: Plantone, Damia, Victory

Yellow Cards: Alvarez; Konare, Parody, Chuky

Red Cards: None

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Last-minute penalty takes all three points for Europa

A 95th minute penalty scored by Liam Walker ensured Europa took all three points in a 1-0 victory over Lions last night.

Photo (C) David Roberts

The match, which saw two of the then-unbeaten teams this season go head-to-head, saw Lions manager Albert Ferri once again get his team to defend admirably against what was the best attacking side last season. A back six, which even adapted to a back seven when needed, proved not for the first time that they will be making life incredibly difficult for the top three this season.

For Lions, there was a start for Craig Bossano-Anes, after Jared Buhagiar missed out, while for Europa, Evan De Haro was on the bench after his summer move from Algeciras Cantera.

Lions fashioned the first chance in the first minute – German Cortes spotted Christian Lopez off his line and tried to lob him from 45 yards, but it went wide of the mark. From that point, Europa went out to try and break down the ‘orange wall’ so to speak, but found chances few and far between. They weren’t helped by Marco Rosa pulling up injured after 20 minutes, and not long after that Lions had a chance of their own – a free kick going just over the bar from distance.

A recurring theme of the game, as it would turn out at the end, was Lions dissatisfaction with the decision-making of referee Jason Barcelo, starting with him missing an accidental head injury to Cortes – one of their technical team would be booked for dissent after that.

At the half-time break, both teams made subs – Bossano-Anes came off for Kaylan Rumbo, and Mikey Yome came off for Dylan Borge, who was looking to keep up his scoring form. The second half largely went to the same pattern as the first – Europa attacking but Lions shutting them out comprehensively. Rafael Escobar’s team started resorting to long-distance efforts as their frustrations grew – they knew after Lincoln’s 0-0 draw with Boca last weekend, they could not afford to waste the two point advantage given to them.

As the game went on, and after Europa had a goal disallowed, tempers started to fray on the Lions side, mainly off the pitch though – club President Alex Grech was the unlikely recipient of a yellow card as the minutes ticked down. Lions did have a chance to potentially nick a win, as Kadrian Verjaque’s effort from 25 yards went narrowly over the bar, but it would be at the end that the moment of controversy happened.

As Europa were piling on the pressure trying to get a winner, what looked like a soft penalty was awarded by Barcelo, much to Lions clear frustration. Walker stepped up and dispatched the penalty down the middle, sparking celebrations and a bit of handbags, which ended up seeing another member of Lions bench booked – in the end they had as many non-players booked as players.

Despite the two minutes wasted from the penalty, there was to be no time added to the six given, which Lions at the time felt was too generous to their opponents, in order for them to launch one final attack – the final whistle went and Europa, for the time being at least, go to the top of the league. Lions tasted defeat for the first time this season, but will once again take heart from their incredibly disciplined performance against one of Gib’s so-called ‘Top 3’.

Lineups:

Lions: Valades; Jimenez, Tovar, Bosio, Breakspear, Cintas, Caravaca (Pomares, 70), Bossano-Anes (Rumbo, 45), Verjaque, Cortes (Ruiz, 67), Hastings

Unused Subs: Victor, Morales, Thorne, Grech

Europa: Lopez; Jolley, Ayew (Gallardo, 60), Juampe, Walker, Yome (Borge, 45), Olivero, Aviles, Rosa (Poku, 24), Polaco, Juanlu (Quillo, 75)

Unused Subs: Romero, Alvarez, De Haro

Yellow Cards: Bosio, Breakspear, Cintas; Walker, Quillo, Poku

Red Cards: None

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Walker penalty helps Europa beat 10-man Mons

Goals from Liam Walker, Juampe and Dylan Borge helped Europa on their way to a 3-0 victory over a Mons Calpe side who had 10 men for more than half the game.

Photo (C) David Roberts

Europa handed a first league start to Mitch Gibson, while Jesus Romero started in goal ahead of Christian Lopez – there was also notably no place in the squad for Gib international Mohamed Badr. Meanwhile, Mons Calpe welcomed Ethan Santos back from suspension to start in their eleven.

From the get go, Europa were the more dominant side, and Christian Fraiz was kept busy in the Mons goals by saving efforts twice from Juampe as well as Liam Walker. Ethan Jolley came closest to scoring when his shot hit the bar, but five minutes before the break came the turning point. Mons Calpe defender Mark Ballester was penalised for handball in the box and was sent off – Walker stepped up and scored his penalty to put Europa 1-0 up. Of note, Mons took their time to get back to 5 HGP’s and may be investigated for that, much like Boca and Glacis were before the international break.

1 became 2 just before the break, as Juampe found a way past Fraiz – a blow which Mons were not able to come back from. To their credit, the 10 men battled hard in the second half, and Romero had to make a great save to stop Mons getting one back. Gibson hit the post for Europa, but his replacement, Dylan Borge, would wrap up the three points by rifling his effort into the top corner – his fourth goal in as many games this season.

Lineups:

Europa: Romero; Jolley, Ayew (Becerra, 69), Juampe (Bautista, 80), Walker, Yome, Olivero, Aviles, Rosa (Alvarez, 69), Polaco (Quillo, 69), Gibson (Borge, 69)

Unused Subs: Lopez, Poku

Mons Calpe: Fraiz; Dos Santos, Santos, Rodriguez (Muscat, 72), El Hmidi, Caballero (Mallemaci, 62), Ojeda, Ballester, Diaz, Sendin (N. El Andaloussi, 45), Ronco

Unused Subs: Perez, Bernardes, Boulaich, M. El Andaloussi

Yellow Cards: Juampe, Polaco; Ojeda, Diaz

Red Cards: Ballester