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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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Llambias: “It has been a joy to play with each and every single player”

We caught up with Lincoln Red Imps U23 captain Ethan Thorne-Llambias to get his thoughts on securing the Intermediate league title earlier this week, his goals for the remainder of the year and more.

Lincoln clinched the title on Monday with a 2-1 win over Lions thanks to goals from Kyron McGrail and Ellis Wilson – we asked Ethan how it feels to be Champions, “It’s always an amazing feeling as we’ve worked hard to get to this moment. We have a great feeling of accomplishment and feel as if we have everything ahead of us and we can only get better.”

The Imps hold an impressive record in the Intermediate League winning 15 from 16 games and drawing 1 – Ethan reviewed his team’s season so far, “To be completely honest I would say that we have had a brilliant season, but obviously there is still more that me and the team can improve on as a whole. We have not always played our best football but we have always got the results. We can always learn and improve on our game as a team and as individuals, in saying this I believe that better things are to come.”

With an average age of just 16 years old from their win over Lions, Ethan is one of the more senior players and captain of the team – we asked him what he thinks of the young players coming up the ranks, “It has been a joy to play with each and every single player as they all offer something different. They are all hard-working and work for the team rather for themselves which is everything you need and want. They have impressed me and I think we could see a few players as individuals being outstanding if they carry on doing what they are doing now.”

With the first piece of silverware wrapped up in March – we asked Ethan what other goals he has set out for himself in 2020, “Firstly to improve as a player whether that be technically, physically, mentally, etc. Secondly I want to show to all my coaches what I can bring/offer and keep working hard to get opportunities and lastly to set an example for younger footballers in Gibraltar, showing them that if you work hard enough and really want something, there is nothing that can stop you from achieving it.”

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Del Rio and Britto to go on trial at UD Las Palmas

Lincoln Red Imps have confirmed this afternoon that teenage duo Julian Del Rio and Ethan Britto have been invited by Spanish side UD Las Palmas for a trial period this coming week.

Photo © Neil Wilson/Lincoln Red Imps

Las Palmas, who already have former Lincoln keeper Jaylan Hankins on their books, will take the pair on trial next week, with both players seemingly set to miss the Gibtelecom Rock Cup Quarter Final vs Boca as a result.

Del Rio, who won FG’s Player of the Month for the National League in January, has had a breakout season this year. After scoring a hat-trick vs Hong Kong U19’s back in September 2019, in an international friendly tournament, the 18-year-old then broke fully into the Lincoln first team set-up, scoring 6 goals in 13 first team appearances, including a hat-trick vs Lynx. The striker has played 501 minutes this season, a notable increase on the 2018-19 season when he managed to get 151 minutes under his belt, including scoring in a 2-0 win on his senior debut, against Gibraltar United back in April.

Meanwhile, Britto, who signed from Mons Calpe in the summer, is a mainstay of Julio Ribas national squad, earning eight full international caps at the age of 19. The teenager, who can play in either left-back or left-wing, scored an impressive free kick earlier in the season against Lynx and has featured 12 times in the league this season, racking up two goals and playing 964 minutes so far this season (only Chino Goldwin and Lee Casciaro have played more minutes of Lincoln’s HGP’s this season).

Should the two be successful in their trial, they would be expected to join Las Palmas subsidiary teams, where the aforementioned Hankins has alternated between the B and C teams this season – most recently being named on the bench for the B team against Real Madrid Castilla.

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FIFA rule in favour of Kike over Europa

On the 21st of February 2020, FIFA’s DRC has ruled in favour of the player Enrique ‘Kike’ Gomez Bernal over his ex-club Europa FC.

This case dates back to January 2019 when Kike signed for Lincoln Red Imps from Real Balompedica Linense. It’s alleged that Kike would sign for La Balona on the basis that if he was to return to Gibraltar then Europa would be his first choice.

After only 4 months with the Segunda B side, Spanish media were reporting that Kike was on his way back to Europa but Lincoln was also interested at the time.

Nearing the end of January, Lincoln dropped a huge bombshell when they announced the signing of Kike. The 25-year old would go on to score against Europa on three different occasions and end up lifting the league title with the Imps that season.

Kike, who was represented by Juan de Dios Crespo, currently has 13 goals in 12 games in all competitions for Lincoln who sit third in the Gibraltar National League Championship Group.

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Emmanuel Sunday is FG Player of the Week

Lincoln Red Imps striker Emmanuel Sunday is awarded FG Player of the Week as his six-minute hat-trick helped his side on their way to a 7-1 over Lions.

Emmanuel Sunday – Lincoln Red Imps (1st)

Imps came from a goal down to lead 2-1 at half-time against Lions last Friday. A hat-trick in six minutes from their Nigerian striker proved to be the help they needed to comfortably win.

Sunday has shown this season that he has plenty of goals in him and will be a great addition to keep a hold on for next season.

Liam Walker – Europa FC (2nd)

Walker’s excellently taken goal just before the break killed off any hope Magpies had of getting back into the game last weekend. The Gibraltar international also provided an assist in a 5-0 win over Magpies to keep his side five points clear at the top.

Dean Dillion – Europa Point (3rd)

Dillon was the difference for Europa Point against Manchester 62, scoring twice in a 3-1 win in blustery conditions.

The striker is forming a good partnership with Lukas Lindholm for his side and will be hoping to grow that further in the league and cup.

Domingo Ferrer Lopez – St Joseph’s (4th)

Saints’ win over Lynx was made a lot harder than it should have been. Domingo scored the opener in the first half and assisted Juanfri to make it 3-1 in the second half.

Domingo has been an excellent asset since joining the club in 2017 and has formed a partnership with Boro and Juanfri which Raul Procopio would like to keep for the foreseeable future.

German Cortes Narvaez – FC Boca Juniors (5th)

German took his tally to six goals with a hat-trick in Boca’s crazy 7-5 win over College 1975 in the Challenge Group. The Spaniard will be hoping to use this campaign to get back on track after his serious injury, and betting ban, and reach the potential he did with Gib Phoenix and the few months at Gibraltar United.

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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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Del Rio and Escobar grab January FG Monthly awards

In a month which saw the National League start its split into two separate divisions, Lincoln’s Julian Del Rio and Europa’s Rafael Escobar are FG’s Player of the Month and Manager of the Month respectively for January.

Photo © Neil Wilson/Lincoln Red Imps

FG Player of the Month – Julian Del Rio (Lincoln Red Imps)

January was a breakout month for Del Rio, who grabbed his opportunity to start vs Lynx and Magpies in style, scoring four across both games including a hat-trick against Lynx across the space of 41 in-game minutes (as well as an assist in that game). The 17-year-old has started to position himself as a potential longer-term option for a Lincoln side who know they’ll need to re-build the local core of their side in the coming years.

Other impressive players last month were Juampe; the Europa winger who has been key to a lot of his side’s success and scored a hat-trick vs Lions, while in the Challenge Group, in a battle between Lee Muscat and Aaron Fleming for third spot, we’ve opted for the new Europa Point signing, with three goals and an assist, with his contributions among those that have seen the side become the nearest challenges to Mons Calpe for the title of “best of the rest”.

  1. Julian Del Rio (Lincoln Red Imps)
  2. Juan Pedro ‘Juampe’ Rico Dominguez (Europa FC)
  3. Aaron Fleming (Europa Point FC)

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

While both Lincoln and Europa both won their two games in the top half, Europa’s 3-1 win over St Joseph’s was enough to propel Escobar to the top of the pile this month in the managerial awards. The win was key in keeping the title challenge on track (as we saw with subsequent matches in February), while they learned the lessons from taking Lions too lightly before Christmas, by dispatching of them 5-0 this time.

German Crespo’s start was impressive, putting 5 past each of Lynx and Magpies, and Lincoln should have no fears of being caught from any of the teams below them, leaving them solely focused now on trying to claw back 2nd place if possible. Meanwhile, in the Challenge Group, it was again between Mons and Europa Point, but with Mons managerial situation being unclear at times in January (Leo Vela was on the touchline while reappointed manager Luis Blanco was in the stands), we’ve gone with Ian Hendon – the former Barnet manager has overseen an improvement in his squad while also winning all 3 matches they played in January, scoring 12 in the process.

  1. Rafael Escobar Obrero (Europa FC)
  2. German Crespo Sanchez (Lincoln Red Imps)
  3. Ian Hendon (Europa Point FC)
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Robba: “Our hard work throughout the season has once again paid off”

FG caught up with 18-year old Shania Robba to get her thoughts on Lincoln retaining the Women’s title, Women’s international Futsal and more.

Lincoln Red Imps Women retained the league last week with a 2-1 win over Europa – we asked Shania how it felt retaining the title, “It feels amazing to retain the league title for the fourth time in a row with Lincoln, we have a group of very talented and young players. Our hard work throughout the season has once again paid off.”

Shania is currently the top goalscorer of the league with 13 goals – we asked her to reflect on her season so far, “I’d like to think that my season so far has gone well, scoring goals and contributing to Lincoln’s successes is a good sign of my performances thus far into the season. A slight injury set back has prevented myself from playing the last few matches, although I will definitely be back soon and would like to continue to achieve results not only in club football but representing Gibraltar in the upcoming Futsal Euro Qualifiers held in May.”

Shania was part of the Women’s Futsal squad which went away to play Northern Ireland last month – we asked her how the weekend of friendlies went, “I feel that our recent international futsal friendlies in Northern Ireland definitely showed our potential as a squad. Although our first performance lacked that composure on the ball and our nerves were evident on the court, the second game we fought till the very end, creating a significant amount of goal-scoring opportunities and showed that we can challenge such nations in futsal.”

The Gibraltar FA recently announced that Gibraltar’s Women’s National Futsal team will take part in competitive International football, this year, as UEFA have confirmed their participation in the Women’s Futsal European Championships – we asked how she feels about the news, “It’s brilliant news! This incredible opportunity will not only allow this very capable squad of showing our full potential in front of our own home nation, but it will also contribute to the rise of women’s football and futsal, encouraging more young girls to begin to play the sport which will only create more opportunities for Women’s football and futsal in the upcoming years.”

At just 18-years old, Shania Robba is proving to be one of the Gibraltar Women’s top performers whether it be Football or Futsal – we asked her what her goals are for the future, “Next year I will be going to university so my main goal is to get into a university team and showcase my potential in the UK, I will take every opportunity that comes my way to improve my football and play with the highest level of athletes. Another aim is to continue to represent Gibraltar in football and futsal for many more years, however, my main ambition is to play professional football.”

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Chino: “The team is looking very sharp and focused”

Ahead of Lincoln’s match vs Europa tomorrow, we caught up with their goalkeeper, Kyle ‘Chino’ Goldwin, to get his thoughts on the big match in this season’s title race.

Photo © Neil Wilson/Lincoln Red Imps

With the current top two coming face-to-face again at 4pm tomorrow, we asked the Lincoln keeper how he was feeling ahead of the big match: “I can’t wait to get the ball rolling – the team is looking very sharp and focused. Our confidence is high after our last 2 games. Yes people will say they were games we should have won but it’s the manner in which we won them.”

Goldwin, known locally as Chino, has been involved in a number of big matches for club and country in recent seasons – does that experience come to help in a match like tomorrow’s? “I believe so…experience is something you cannot train. As you say I’ve been involved in some big games and that will help come Saturday.”

The 34-year-old was on the bench in Lincoln’s defeats to Europa and St Joseph’s earlier in the season – but with Chino getting a good run of games in recently, does the keeper feel he’s done enough for a start against a title rival tomorrow? “I always give 100% and make sure I get to training early and put in extra work, but at the end of the day it’s the managers choice and we have to respect that. The most important thing are the 3 points at stake, the whole squad is training hard and up for it. It’s definitely a game that everyone wants to be part of.”

New Lincoln manager German Crespo has overseen 5-0 and 5-1 victories so far in his tenure in charge – what does Goldwin think of the new boss? “The manager has brought in a different style of play and attitude which I think is showing on the pitch. There’s a more positive mindset running through the squad.”