GNL 2020/21 Preview: Part Two

Part Two of our Gibraltar National League preview sees us take a look at FCB Magpies, Glacis United, Lincoln Red Imps and Lions Gibraltar.

  • Name: FC Brunos Magpies
  • Next game: Europa (18/10/2020)
  • 2019/20 League finish: 5th

Brunos have been very busy this summer bringing in a number of signing and a new head coach by the name of Johnny Parrado, who managed Europa in 2017.

Key renewals such as Jaron Vinet and JC Garcia, alongside new signings like Jeremy Lopez, Alan Parker and Jaydan Catania will give Parrado plenty of options when following the new 5 HGP rule.

The return of Rubo will bring plenty of excitement after spells at Mons Calpe and Europa – if the Spanish striker can work well with Morgan then goals will flowing at Magpies.

Two important renewals also were Francisco Zuniga who enters his fourth year in Gibraltar and Dan Bent who proved so vital for Magpies last season. An early prediction would say Magpies finishing fourth.

  • Name: Glacis United
  • Next game: Mons Calpe (16/10/2020)
  • 2019/20 League finish: 11th

Looking at how the club has gone after finishing 4th in 2017/18, shows how the local game has changed over the years.

It’s been a quiet summer for Glacis, but according to transfermarkt, it has been a busy one. It is unclear if Bennie or Michele will manage the team this season but the ex-Mons Calpe striker’s son joined the club but would later leave two months later to Marbella U19s.

Marcos Zappacosta will be known to many after his stint at Mons Calpe, and they also completed the signings of FC Twente duo Wessel Witbreuk and Job Derksen which had been reported about from the Dutch media.

  • Name: Lincoln Red Imps
  • Next game: College 1975 (19/10/2020)
  • 2019/20 League finish: 3rd

Third place would have been a deeply disappointing finish for Lincoln, who expect to be challenging for the title every season.

They had appointed former Mons Calpe manager William Amaral in the summer, and he guided the team to the Europa League Second Qualifying Round, but the club recently parted ways with the manager and replaced him with former manager Mick McElwee.

Lincoln’s key advantage, given the increased HGP ruling, is that they are stacked with local players in pretty much every position – injuries to locals won’t hurt them as much as it will their title challengers.

The signings of Scott Wiseman and Tjay De Barr, as well as the return to action for Graeme Torrilla, should prove to be smart acquisitions as the club look to win the title.

  • Name: Lions Gibraltar
  • Next game: Manchester 62 (17/10/2020)
  • 2019/20 League finish: 6th

Lions were something of a surprise package last season, capitalising on Mons Calpe’s poor start, and the departure of Gib United and Gib Phoenix, to take the final top half spot at the split. It may be tricker this time out to do the same, but they will be confident they can.

Albert Ferri’s side have made some smart signings – German Cortes is a proven goalscorer at this level, while Borja Valades was a good keeper in his spell at Glacis. Their HGP contingent is largely young, but the return of Shea Breakspear, who left the club for Magpies last season, adds a bit more experience to their core of Gibraltarians.

The challenge for them this season will be to ensure they beat the teams expected to be around them – namely Mons Calpe and Boca.


Del Rio signs pre-contract with Cordoba

18-year old Julian Del Rio has signed a pre-contract with Spanish side Cordoba CF as FG understands a deal will be complete after the Gibraltar U19 international has undergone surgery for an existing injury.

After breaking onto the senior scene in April of 2019 with a goal in Lincoln’s 2-0 win over Gibraltar United, Julian has proved to be one of Gibraltar’s brightest young talents.

While slowly being given more minutes on the pitch as the seasons went on, Julian made 18 appearances last season and scored 7 goals. Most notably, the 18-year old scored a hat-trick in Gibraltar U19’s friendly win over Hong Kong.

Julian suffered a metatarsal injury which has kept him out for two months. FG received confirmation that a deal with Cordoba will be completed fully once the player undergoes surgery and begins rehabilitation.

He will be joined by former team-mate Jaylan Hankins who completed a move to Cordoba a few days ago but won’t be playing together as the goalkeeper was loaned to Extremadura UD.


Rangers too strong for Lincoln

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

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

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

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

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

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


Lincoln v Rangers: Match Preview

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

Photo © Neil Wilson/Lincoln

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

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

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

Squad News:

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

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


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

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

FG’s Predicted Lineups:

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

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


FG interview with Scott Wiseman

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

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


Lincoln draw Rangers while Europa travel to Sweden

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

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

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

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

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

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


Europa and Lincoln to find out Europa League fate today

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

Photo (C) C Correa Photography

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

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

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


Torrilla: “I think we managed the game perfectly”

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

Photo (C) Lincoln / Neil Wilson

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

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

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

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


Lincoln vs Union Titus Petange: Preview

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

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

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

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

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


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

Predicted lineups:

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

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


Prishtina forfeit as Lincoln progress

The UEFA Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Body have awarded Lincoln a 3-0 forfeit win over Prishtina and will now face Union Titus Pétange of Luxembourg.

After last week’s fiasco which saw Lincoln’s UEFA Europa League tie with Prishtina cancelled on two occassions and countless attempts from the away team to turn heads in regard of the outcome – the Imps have finally been awarded the win.

In a statement by Dylan Viagas, the Lincoln president said:

“Although it has been a nerve-wrecking weekend, deep down, we were confident that UEFA was going to rule in our favour. We could not really see how this could not be the case.

We regret having to progress to the next round in this manner as we would have wanted to have done it in the field of play. The team was well prepared and the players were highly motiviated to do the job.

With the current situation of Covid-19, this has been a steep learning curve, not only for the club, but we are sure for UEFA aswell.

As far as the club is concerned, we have put this saga behind us now and it’s all hands-on deck to prepare for Thursday’s game against Union Titus Petange from Luxemburg.

The club wants to publicy thank the Local Authorities (GoG, Public Health, GSLA, Gibraltar FA) and the local media for all their support and advice during this last week.”

Lincoln Red Imps will now welcome Union Titus Pétange to the Victoria Stadium this Thursday.