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Gibtelecom Rock Cup quarter-final review

The Gibtelecom Rock Cup quarter-finals brought no surprises as Mons Calpe, St Joseph’s, Europa and Lincoln Red Imps progress into the next round.


Mons Calpe 3-1 Europa Point

Mons rushed into an early two-goal lead against Europa Point, with Diego Diaz and Andre Dos Santos scoring in the first ten minutes before things settled down a bit more.

Europa Point was out of the traps early in the second half and got a goal back thanks to Diego Vera’s header, but their chances of a comeback were ended after Samuel Vermeeren’s own goal, and captain Antony Moulds late red card.

Mons is the only Challenge Group team left in the cup, and while they are now rank outsiders, they will look to make the cup final for the second time in three years.


St Joseph’s 1-0 Brunos Magpies

If last weekend’s encounter was anything to go by, we expected a fiery contest and certainly got it. With the level of football being played below par, both teams didn’t hide away from any strong challenges.

Juanfri scored from the penalty spot to send 10-man Saints, who had Angel Guirado sent off, into the semi-final since 2017 but it was the altercation after the final whistle which was the main focal point.

An altercation between Kelvin Morgan and Juanma Gonzalez spurred on a brawl between both teams which took quite some time to calm down – a situation which you’d believe the Gibraltar FA will investigate further.


Europa 2-0 Lions

The Rock Cup holders went safely through to the semi-finals thanks to goals from Fernando Velasco and Manuel Dimas. The Green found it tough to break the well-organised Lions defence, an improvement from their 7-0 defeat last weekend.

Europa will need to be much better for Saturday when they come up against St Joseph’s – a doubt for that match could be Olmo who came off early with a suspected groin injury.


Lincoln 6-0 Boca

As expected, Lincoln beat Boca, by a score of 6-0 on Sunday afternoon. Boca made them work for it, but Pibe’s brace and Jamie Coombes first-half goal meant at the break the game was all but done.

Boca gave Lincoln a slight scare in winning a penalty, but they missed from 12 yards, and that led to Lincoln making sure there was to be no hint of a comeback – Oli, Gato, and Blas Alvarez all scored in the second half to put an end to a spirited Boca side, who before the game may have been fearing a bigger scoreline.

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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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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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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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Managerial changes for Lincoln & Magpies

The festive period has brought us more managerial changes with Lincoln & Brunos Magpies announcing their new appointments ahead of the league restarting in less than two weeks.

After defeat to St Joseph’s in mid-December, Lincoln brought an end to Victor Afonso’s time in charge of the club with U23 coach Malcolm Martin leading the team out in their final game of 2019 against Manchester 62.

From a rumoured 4 man wishlist, it would be Germán Crespo Sánchez who would get the nod to take Lincoln forward into 2020. The 44-year old led Real Jaen to 101 points last season, winning the regional league, but missed out on promotion when they lost 3-0 Algeciras CF, who would later go on and win promotion to Segunda División B.

The other managerial change is one which caught us by surprise, which was the departure of Alfonso Cortijo as Magpies head coach after just over two months in charge. In the 5 games Cortijo took charge, Magpies won 3 and secured a spot in the Championship Group.

Spanish media outlet Europa Sur announced that Magpies had signed defender Javi Gallardo from Algeciras and also Juan Mari Sanchez, the ex-Gibraltar Phoenix & FC Boca Juniors manager.

Magpies unveiled their new manager this afternoon, while saying that Juan Mari will be joined by his coaching team of Jose Ortega and Adrian Conde. The trio will be working alongside existing coach Garry Turner-Bone and goalkeeper coach Benjamin Parody.

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Gibraltar National League review

With the first round of fixtures complete and the league split into two groups – here’s our team by team review of how each has performed so far this season.

  • Europa FC (Position: 1st – Championship Group)

Full of confidence from their Pepe Reyes Cup victory, Europa started their league campaign with an emphatic 4-1 win over rivals Lincoln – who they had beaten for the Pepe Reyes Cup, just five days prior.

Apart from their fortunate draw against St Joseph’s, and a couple of minor wobbles against Glacis & Lions, the Greens have rarely looked troubled this season and would arguably be favorites to win the league this season.


  • St Joseph’s (Position: 2nd – Championship Group)

Seen by many as the “team to beat” this season – Saints have really pushed on from their success in the Europa League and become very strong title contenders.

Juanfri & Boro have picked up from where they left off last season with 27 goals so far between them and will be hoping to carry it on into the Championship Group.


  • Lincoln Red Imps (Position: 3rd – Championship Group)

An injury-plagued first few months has left the current league champions in third, four points off leaders Europa and two behind St Joseph’s – both teams which the Imps have recorded losses against this season.

With a replacement of manager on the horizon and the January transfer window opening in a few weeks – the Imps will be looking to spend big and try to turn their current deficit around.


  • Lynx FC (Position 4th – Championship Group)

Unbeaten in their opening five games, Lynx has turned a lot of heads this season by what may be seen as overperforming this season (considering when you look at how much clubs around them are spending).

The Croatian trio of Bukvic, Kokorovic, and Marcius gave Albert Parody the foundation to build a team that he has cleverly done. With his star man Marcius gone, Albert would need to find an ideal replacement quickly, while also find a full-back, which we have singled out as a weak point in his team.


  • FCB Magpies (Position: 5th – Championship Group)

There was a lot of promise surrounding Magpies at the beginning of the season. Last season’s Second Division champions had already been planning for the National League from early this year and looked to be putting a strong squad together.

Any promise was quickly dashed when Magpies were hammered 6-0 by Europa which then followed two straight defeats and the sacking of head coach David Wilson in-between.

The replacement with the experienced Alfonso Cortijo was a great choice and will now see how he fares in January when he is able to clear the deadwood from his squad and bring in his own style of players.


  • Lions Gibraltar (Position: 6th – Championship Group)

After a slow start, Lions managed to pick the pace at the end of October and since then, recorded 4 wins from 5 games to secure a spot in the Championship Group on the final round.

As expected, it will be difficult for Lions to compete against the top three but will be using this opportunity as a time to give valuable experience to Ferri’s younger players – while this is also a great chance to entice sponsors and help the club gain some revenue in the process.


  • Mons Calpe (Position 7th – Challenge Group)

This season has definitely been one to forget for Mons Calpe, compared to others. After competing at the top. the team found themselves scrapping against Lions which they would end up missing out on.

With their financial problems rising up once again, questions have been raised about whether Mons will even put out a team for the second half of the season.


  • Manchester 62 (Position: 8th – Challenge Group)

It looks like a choice between Mons or Man62 for the winner of the inaugural Challenge Group trophy. After Jeff Wood and Juanfran Fernandez Perez, the club appointed David Wilson as their new head coach – one which we feel is the right choice to take this young squad forward.

Wilson would already have an eye on a number of players he’d like to bring in, but one player which he may have trouble trying to hold down is Gibraltar U21 international Kian Ronan who has been excellent so far – we will be surprised if his competitive nature will see him wanting to play in the bottom group.


  • FC Boca Juniors (Position: 9th – Challenge Group)

After pulling together a squad at the expense of Gibraltar United – things looked quite promising for Boca with the squad which they were putting out in pre-season.

But, the lack of team gelling was clear to see, and the wrong choice of manager to go with it – Boca found themselves dropping lower and lower down the table – when you throw in a lack of funding by the final month or two of the season, it’s a good thing they didn’t move up group.


  • Europa Point (Position: 10th – Challenge Group)

The heights which Europa Point once found themselves seem like an eternity away. Now, they find themselves struggling at the bottom of leagues while scratching at results.

Credit to them though, they have found a number of good players, such as goalkeeper Conor O’Keefe, who has been their standout performer while also giving some valuable game time to experienced striker Jeremy Lopez, and 17-year old Omar El Yettefti; we sure clubs will be keeping an eye out on the teenager in the next few years.


  • Glacis United (Position 11th – Challenge Group)

From the glory days of Glacis in the past, the club has been hit with a prime example of how money has changed football. From winning trophies, Glacis now find themselves fighting in the bottom half for most seasons with very little hope of ever returning to what they used to be.

The club has been a stepping stone for players such as Michael Ruiz to get regular action in the top flight, while using the experience of Jonny Di Toro and Michele Di Piedi to pass on their knowledge to their young squad.


  • College 1975 (Position 12th – Challenge Group)

Unfortunately, College has turned out to be the league’s whipping boys with a goal difference of minus 62 and recording heavy defeats on six occasions.

It is quite bizarre when you see 18-year old Zayne Da Costa rarely featuring in the National League, yet he is top goalscorer of the Intermediate League with 10 goals – maybe we will something different from College in 2020.

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Gibraltar National League: The Christmas run-in

With nearly two-thirds of the first round of fixtures already taking place, and only 24 matches left before the National League splits in two at Christmas, we look at where each of the 12 teams are, and their chances of reaching the top 6 by Christmas and the end of the first round.

Photo © C Correa Photography

1st Place – Lincoln Red Imps – 18 points – 4 games left

100% they will be in the Championship Group. Lincoln’s opening-day loss to Europa has been forgotten about by the side, who have won their next six in a row. The only major challenge left before Christmas will be against St Joseph’s – three points would be important as well as set a market to the rest of the league.

2nd Place – St Joseph’s FC – 17 points – 4 games left

Like Lincoln, Saints will be in the top six. The late draw vs Lynx wasn’t ideal, but St Joseph’s have been good this season and are threatening to make the title-race a three-team affair. As long as they keep the front two of Juanfri and Boro fit and firing, Saints are a match for anyone – a result vs Lincoln before the New Year would be a massive statement of intention.

3rd Place – Europa FC – 16 points – 5 games left

Again, Europa are one of the teams definitely going to the Championship Group. Bar a dramatic draw vs St Joseph’s, Europa have rarely looked troubled all season and if they see through the game vs Lynx with no hiccups, they are likely to be top come the split. January will be interesting for Europa – do they stick with the squad that has served them so well so far, or add one or two players in the window who may potentially be the difference between a title and no title?

4th Place – Bruno’s Magpies – 15 points – 3 games left

Magpies should really be safe now. A little wobble with three defeats in a row raised some doubts over the side, but the back-to-back wins vs Europa Point and Boca means they should get over the line at Christmas. They have hard fixtures vs Lincoln and St Joseph’s to come, but by the time they face Manchester in their last game, we’d be surprised if their top six spot wasn’t mathematically secured. The challenge will be whether they invest even further on new players in January, especially with new manager Alfonso Cortijo undoubtedly wanting some of his own players in.

5th Place – Lynx FC – 14 points – 4 games left

Lynx have a fairly nice run-in in which to accumulate points before the Championship Group, which they seem certain to get into. If they can ensure 7 to 9 points against Manchester, College and Glacis, then Albert Parody’s side will be in a healthy position post-Christmas – the draw vs St Joseph’s showed they can make life difficult for the top three as well and teams won’t necessarily want to play them.

6th Place – Mons Calpe SC – 11 points – 3 games left

Having points on the board is traditionally better than games in hand, as the cliché goes, but it looks like going to the wire for Mons Calpe. Two of their last three games are against St Joseph’s and Europa, making the match vs Manchester 62 a must-win. Even then, 14 points isn’t guaranteed to be enough. They were stubborn vs Lincoln though, and there is every chance of nicking a result against one of the current top 3, but if they don’t, it will be a nervy end to the year for Leo Vela’s side.

7th Place – Manchester 62 – 7 points – 5 games left

Looking purely at the table, you’d say Manchester have the best chance of jumping into the top six from the bottom six sides. However, only one of their last five games is versus a team below them, which make new manager David Wilson’s task that bit tougher. The big two games will be against Mons Calpe and Europa Point – especially the game against Mons – if they can beat the team above them on the 30th November, and follow it with a win vs Europa Point, then they may have a chance of top six, depending on other results.

8th Place – FC Boca Gibraltar – 6 points – 4 games left

Boca aren’t in a bad position table wise, but the fixtures are not too kind to them, given they face Europa and Lincoln in their next two matches. After that though, they’ll need to beat Glacis in order to set up a tantalising final round game vs Lions. Talk of off-the-field issues at the club will need to be shaken off as soon as possible if the club wants to take that sixth spot and work from there in 2020.

9th Place – Lions Gibraltar – 6 points – 4 games left

Whisper it quietly, but Lions could have a chance of sneaking into the top six while no one is watching them. The win against Manchester was vital, not just because it was their first of the season, but because it kept their Championship Group hopes alive. Three of their remaining four games are against fellow bottom six sides, including matches vs Glacis and College, while their final game against Boca could be a winner-takes-all fixture depending on how Mons finish. Albert Ferri has made his team more resolute defensively; if they can improve on their poor scoring form so far, then we may see last season’s 9th place team end in 6th.

10th Place – Europa Point FC – 5 points – 3 games left

Despite only being a point behind Lions and Boca, and only two off Manchester, the lack of games left for Europa Point means that a top six finish in truth seems unlikely. To achieve this, the side would have to beat Manchester and College, while most likely also getting a surprise result against St Joseph’s too. Even then, they would still be relying on other team’s results going in their favour – it isn’t looking promising for Allen Bula’s side.

11th Place – Glacis United FC – 3 points – 5 games left

Glacis have slowly built themselves back up after a heavily disrupted start to the season, and while qualifying for the Championship Group does seem beyond them, they could still have an influence on who does make the top 6. Games against Boca and especially Lions will be tight affairs and if Glacis can take points off those teams, the likes of Manchester and Mons Calpe would be the most likely beneficiaries.

12th Place – College 1975 FC – 0 points – 4 games left

Although mathematically still possible, it is safe to say College are not qualifying for the top 6. Without so much as a point yet this season, they have been up against it from the first gameweek, and realistically these last four games should be used to try and improve where possible ahead of going into the Challenge Group, where hopefully they won’t be on the end of results such as the 12-0 and 9-1 they have suffered in recent weeks.

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Breakspear: “The focus is to finish in the top half of the table come Christmas when the league splits”

Ahead of their game this weekend against Mons Calpe, we caught up with Brunos Magpies defender Shea Breakspear to get his thoughts on the season so far, potential chances in the league and cup, and his aspirations to get into the national team

Photo © Vanessa Correa

The 27-year old centre-back has started three of Magpies five games this season, with his side 5th in the table after a mixed bag of results so far, including the departure of former manager David Wilson – how does the defender rate his team’s season so far? “It’s been a strange start to the season – we haven’t been playing at our best but nevertheless we still picked up nine points in our first three games. I think if you would have offered us nine points out of five games at the start of the season, we would’ve taken it, considering we had to play Europa.”

Magpies recently announced the appointment of new manager Alfonso Cortijo, with the former St Joseph’s and Glacis Head Coach taking the reigns of the Second Division champions – what’s the initial impression of the new manager for Breakspear? “The new manager has been really good – he has only taken three sessions so far so we’re all still trying to adapt to his methods and style of play, but so far it’s been really good and given everyone a fresh start.”

With Magpies fifth, and the top six expected to make up the “top tier” when the league splits in Christmas, what should the newly-promoted sides aspirations be in the league, as well as the Gibtelecom Rock Cup where they reached the Quarter Finals last season: “For now the focus is to finish in the top half of the table come Christmas when the league splits. From there, who knows what we can achieve, but with the squad we have think we can challenge in every single game and hopefully get a very good run in the cup.”

The changes in eligibility rules to represent the national team made the English-born 27-year old, who has spent most of his years in Gib, eligible to represent Gibraltar. What would it mean to him to get the call-up? “It would be an absolute honour and dream come true. I have lived here for most of my life and this is my home. I just need to focus on having a good season with Magpies and perform every week, and who knows what could happen.”

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Gibraltar National League 2019 preview

The newly reconstructed Gibraltar National League season is upon us, kicking off today when Lynx take on Mons Calpe at 20:30, so read below our preview, where we attempt to predict the outcome of the league.

Who will win the title? Lincoln Red Imps are looking to retain their crown again, but will face stiff competition from Europa once more, while St Joseph’s, Mons Calpe and newboys Brunos Magpies have all spent heavily to reinforce their squads and try to close the gap.

Who will finish in the top eight? The new inclusion of the “Championship Group” sees the league split and the top seven seperated and battle it out between themselves for the league. The winner particpates in the UEFA Champions League, while the two runners-up move to the UEFA Europa League (depending the outcome of the Gibtelecom Rock Cup).

Your easy choices would be Lincoln Red Imps, Europa, St Joseph’s and Mons Calpe. Gibraltar Phoenix & Gibraltar United’s withdrawal leaves more empty spots to join the aforementioned four teams. We would expect Brunos Magpies to take advantage of this, while joining them would be Lynx and Lions.

The Challenge Group? Manchester 62 should be favourites and will provide tough competition with Lynx & Lions in the Championship Group. Leo announced a host of good signings earlier on in the season and led by Dani Amaya, could be favourites to win the group. College 1975 have been very quiet throughout the summer and if the signing of ex-St Joseph’s & Lions striker Jose Luis Romero is anything to go by, they could be real underdogs to even sneak into the Championship Group.

Europa Point have had a strong finish to their preseason, their only problem would be finding enough HGP’s – they will be hoping they can pick up some from Phoenix & Gib Utd. Boca have been relatively quiet this summer, apart from the announcement of their new head coach Christian Ressa, it’s been a ‘hush hush’ transfer window so it’ll be interesting to see the team they put out on Tuesday night.

Glacis will be hoping their financial troubles behind them and try to reach the heights they did back in 2016, but with players still reportedly stating they are missing wages from the second half of last season looks like it’ll be another long season for them.

Last but not least FC Olympique, a team which looks to be struggling to get a full squad together. However, with their game against Gibraltar United expected to be cancelled, it could actually be a blessing in disguise to give the club more time to bring in much needed players and compete at this level.

Gibraltar National League prediction:

  1. Europa FC
  2. Lincoln Red Imps
  3. St Joseph’s
  4. Brunos Magpies
  5. Mons Calpe
  6. Lynx
  7. Lions
  8. Manchester 62
  9. College 1975
  10. Leo FC
  11. Europa Point
  12. Glacis United
  13. FC Boca Juniors
  14. FC Olympique