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.


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?


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)

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.”


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.”


Victor goal secures Women’s title for Lincoln

Lincoln Red Imps women’s side won the 2019/20 Women’s League, as Naomi Victor’s winner saw them beat Europa 2-1, to take an unassailable lead at the top of the table.

Photo © Neil Wilson/Lincoln Red Imps

Going into the game, Lincoln knew they needed 2 points from their remaining three games to secure the title, but they would have wanted to wrap it up against a Europa side who have yet to get a point this season. Despite this, Europa made their opponents work for their success, as Susana Mudarra Maldonado put her side 1-0 up after 21 minutes.

Lincoln were not to be deterred though, and after Laura Cortes-Minan equalised early in the second half, Victor got Lincoln’s second, which would prove to be the title-winning goal, retaining the title which they won last year by four points from Lions – also their closest challengers in the three-team division this time out.

Lincoln were congratulated post-match by the official UEFA Women’s Champions League Twitter account – while Gibraltar have yet to enter a team into the tournament since joining UEFA, there is no confirmation yet as to whether this may or may not change this year, with Gibraltar included in the provisional access list should they choose to enter Lincoln into the qualifying round of the tournament.


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.


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!”