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Lynx stroll to success against Lions

Lynx kept their chances of a top 4 spot alive as they comfortably beat Lions 4-0 at the Victoria Stadium yesterday afternoon.

Photo (C) Rough & Ready

After a heavy defeat last time out to St Joseph’s, Lynx started Bradley Banda, Alberto Valdivia, Chuky and Estiven Morente in this match, while Lions, fresh off an impressive 1-1 draw vs Lincoln, also made four changes, with Antonio Cintas, Didi Peacock, Craig Bossano-Anes and Kadrian Verjaque all bought back into Albert Ferri’s side.

A quiet opening 20 minutes saw little in the way of action, bar Valdivia hitting the post, and Julian Valarino having a penalty appeal turned down. 10 minutes before the break, and Valarino would open the scoring – the Lincoln loanee latching onto a through ball and slotting an effort into the bottom corner. There was time for Lynx to get a second before the break too, as Valdivia’s effort across goal was tapped in by Antonio Gonzalez. Lions were adamant he was offside, but replays show he may have indeed kept himself onside, and the goal stood.

Lions, who clearly had left everything in their midweek draw, did not show any form of comeback in the second half, and Lynx made it 3-0 early into the half, with Garcia this time setting up Valdivia to ensure the striker did get his goal; an effort he smashed into the top corner. A flurry of substitutes slowed the game down and took the edge out of it, but there was one further goal as Aritz Hernandez got in on the act to register his 10th goal for Lynx this season.

Lynx’s win means they are still 3 points behind Mons Calpe, who had the shock win vs St Joseph’s on Saturday, while for Lions, they are almost certain now to finish in sixth place, and will be looking to try and end the season with some more positive performances.

Lineups:

Lynx: Banda; Serra, Som (T. Avellano, 70), Power, Caravaca (Hernandez, 60), Valdivia, Gonzalez, Espinosa (Parkinson, 82), Valarino, Chuky (Ruiz, 60), Morente (Santos De Matos, 70)

Unused Subs: B. Avellano, Ruesca

Lions: Valades; Morales, Bosio, Breakspear, Rumbo (Dobinson, 68), Cintas (Prescott, 68), Peacock, Bossano-Anes, Ruiz (Borja Sanchez, 72), Verjaque (Gaivizo, 55), Cortes

Unused Subs: Jimenez, Grech, Victor

Yellow Cards: Som, Chuky; Morales, Bosio, Breakspear, Peacock, Bossano-Anes, Cortes

Red Cards: None

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Valades penalty save earns Lions point

A second-half penalty save from Lions keeper Borja Valades ensured his side earned a credible 1-1 draw against Lincoln Red Imps last night.

Photo (C) David Roberts

After a 2-0 defeat to Europa last time out, Lions saw Francisco Morales and Ivan Ruiz come in for Antonio Cintas, as well as Didi Peacock who was not in the squad against his parent club. For Lincoln, Chino, Scott Wiseman and Mustapha Yahaya came out of the side, replaced by Lolo Soler, Graeme Torrilla and Jack Sergeant.

When the two sides met in the cup recently, Lincoln won 6-0, and when Graeme Torrilla’s deflected shot went in the back of the net after just eight minutes, it seemed the game would go down a similar path. Lions had other ideas though, and just four minutes later, after Soler could not reach a corner going to the back post, Adrian Tovar bundled the ball into the back of the net to put his side level.

As expected from Lions, they reverted back to what has been dubbed the ‘Orange Wall’ by those who have seen them this season – an ultra-defensive lineup that can see as many as 7 players in the defence at any given time, all working in unison to shut out their more illustrious opponents – but this was the first time it was to work against Lincoln, who had appeared to have the answer to breaking down the wall in previous encounters.

Valades had a brief scare as he saw a shot slip out of his hands, but go over the crossbar, but Lions otherwise kept firm to take the score level at 1-1 at half time. As the second half wore on, centre-backs Bernardo Lopes and Roy Chipolina were effectively playing in attack, as Lincoln tried to overwhelm Lions defence by throwing sheer numbers into their attack. Tjay De Barr thought he had won a penalty for Lincoln, only to see himself be booked after being adjudged to be guilty of simulation in the box, but with just under 15 minutes to go, Mick McElwee’s side did get their penalty, and seemingly a golden chance to break Lions resistance – Valades had other ideas though, saving De Barr’s spot-kick and keeping the scoreline level.

The final minutes of the game were a frantic affair, with Lions using every opportunity to eat up time with players going down, in an act of gamesmanship, while also throwing their bodies on the line in last-ditch tackles when Lincoln appeared to have chances on goal. Lopes though had the best of them, missing a header from close range deep into injury time, and after a corner in the 97th minute was headed wide, the final whistle was blown with Lincoln clearly feeling they had dropped two crucial points in the title race.

Lincoln are now second, three points behind Europa, but know that a victory on Saturday vs the league leaders would put them top courtesy of securing the better head-to-head record, while Lions pick up their first point of the Championship Group to end their losing streak – they face Lynx this weekend and will hope to carry on where they left off last night.

Lineups:

Lions: Valades; Morales, Tovar, Bosio, Breakspear, Rumbo (Borja Sanchez, 90), Buhagiar (Dobinson, 80), Ruiz (Verjaque, 80), Cortes, Hastings, Prescott (Bossano-Anes, 45)

Unused Subs: Victor, Grech

Lincoln: Soler; Ronan (Casciaro, 65), Lopes, Torrilla, De Barr, Chipolina, Toscano (Omoregie, 45), Carralero, Sergeant, Kike (Martinez, 65), Wall (Britto, 45)

Unused Subs: Chino, Moreno, Coombes

Yellow Cards: Valades, Tovar, Rumbo, Buhagiar, Hastings; De Barr, Chino

Red Cards: None

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Europa battle to victory against Lions

Goals in either half from Dylan Borge and Ibrahim Ayew saw Europa take all three points in a 2-0 win vs a stubborn, resilient Lions side last night

Photo (C) Rough & Ready

Lions again started with seven Gibraltarians on the pitch, as Albert Ferri named an unchanged team from the one which lost 1-0 to St Joseph’s last time out, while after playing 120 minutes in the cup in midweek, Europa made six changes, bringing the likes of Mikey Yome, Adrian Gallardo and Dylan Borge back into the starting eleven.

Europa got off to a great start, going 1-0 up after five minutes, when Borge reacted quickest to a header which hit the post, putting the ball in from a yard out to give his side an early lead. Despite this early goal, Europa did not build on it in the first half, mainly due to the work of Lions keeper Borja Valades who was keeping goal well once again for his side.

Lions best chance of attacking Europa appeared to be on the counter in the first half, but the presence of Jack Breed in the heart of defence was proving to be enough for his side to snuff out any danger – the Gibraltar U21 international put in an assured performance when called upon during the game. A few more chances for Europa came and went, while Thomas Hastings hooked an effort over the bar for Lions, and the half time whistle blew with only one goal to show for the game.

Lions bought on Ivan Ruiz for Cecil Prescott at half time, and immediately it appeared to improve Ferri’s side, who in the second half came out of their shells and pushed for an equaliser. German Cortes, who was leading the line, was starting to get the service he’d been starved of so often, but unfortunately for Lions he was not able to use said service and fashion any great opportunities from them, apart from a chipped effort that went into the Europa goal long after the offside flag had gone up against him.

Europa responded to Lions advances by bringing on Blas Alvarez and Mitch Gibson, but Lions were not deterred – they are a team who deal comfortably with opposition who pass the ball a lot but are not overly direct in attack, and they were clearly waiting for their chance late on to try and grab a late equaliser. That moment did not come though, as just before stoppage time, Ayew’s shot slipped through Valades hands and went in the goal – a rare error from a keeper who otherwise had been keeping Lions in the game from the get go. Europa wrapped up the three points, despite the effects of 120 minutes in midweek and a hectic schedule making them look at times lethargic and below par, while Lions stay rooted in sixth.

Lineups:

Lions: Valades; Tovar, Bosio, Breakspear, Rumbo, Cintas (Dobinson, 77), Peacock, Buhagiar (Morales, 57), Cortes, Hastings, Prescott (Ruiz, 45)

Unused Subs: Victor, Danino, Grech, Gomez

Europa: Lopez; Breed, Ayew, Juampe, Gallardo (Diaz, 68), Yome (Clinton, 90), Jimenez, Badr, Carrascal (Olmo, 90), Rosa (Alvarez, 63), Borge (Gibson, 63)

Unused Subs: Romero, Olivero

Yellow Cards: Tovar, Breakspear, Cintas, Buhagiar, Dobinson

Red Cards: None

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Boro takes the win for Saints

A second-half header from St Joseph’s captain Boro ended up being enough for his side to take a narrow 1-0 victory over Lions yesterday evening.

Photo (C) William Gracia

St Joseph’s bought back Carlos Carrasco, Cristian Pecci and Alain Pons into the team from their last league match, while Lions started with seven HGP’s, including a start for Cecil Prescott.

Saints were expected to control the possession and play, with Lions as normal sitting deep and attempting to make life as difficult as possible for their opposition. It took until 27 minutes for keeper Borja Valades to be called into serious action, making a great save from Boro before Kaylan Rumbo blocked Juanfri’s follow-up effort. Apart from another great save to deny Juanma just before half-time, Lions were not seeing their goal bombarded, with St Joseph’s not making the most of the possession they were having.

Saints made an attacking change at the break, taking off Fede Villar and bringing on Angel Guirado, and just after the hour mark, they would finally take the lead. Aymen Mouelhi’s shot hit the woodwork and eventually Boro managed to head the ball in from very close range to break Lions resistance.

The game had all the potential of their first meeting, where Lions grabbed a late equaliser from goalkeeper Valades, but this time their late chance was from Jared Buhagiar, who shot over from outside the box, and Lions could not take anything from the game to deny Saints.

Lineups:

St Joseph’s: Robba; Carrasco, Boro (Garro, 81), Nano (Borghi, 60), Pishu, Barnett, Juanfri, Villar (Guirado, 45), Pons, Juanma, Mouelhi

Unused Subs: Mateo, Serra, Rojas, Ferrer

Lions: Valades; Tovar, Bosio, Breakspear (Dobinson, 81), Rumbo, Cintas (Ruiz, 70), Peacock (Morales, 50), Buhagiar, Cortes, Hastings, Prescott (Verjaque, 70)

Unused Subs: Victor, Grech, Borja Sanchez

Yellow Cards: Juanma; Rumbo, Buhagiar, Hastings, Morales

Red Cards: None

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Victory heads Lynx to victory

A first half header from Jesse Victory saw Lynx beat Lions 1-0 in the first match of the Championship Group.

Photo (C) David Roberts

Lions had to replace the suspended Shea Breakspear, which saw Kaylan Rumbo start, while Lynx had Bradley Banda return in goal while Alberto Valdivia started for the side.

From the get go, Lynx had the better chances as they looked to make it back-to-back wins over Lions, although they weren’t helped by Aidan Serra coming off after 16 minutes. His replacement, Michael Ruiz, tested Borja Valades in the Lions net, before some good play and a good cross from left-back Thomas Som met the head of Victory, who headed Lynx into the lead.

Lions had injury issues of their own as Guillermo Jimenez came off for Craig Bossano-Anes, while the half time sub of Abraham Pomares for Kaylan Rumbo was likely tactical. While Jared Buhagiar did have an effort go over for Albert Ferri’s side, it was about as good as it got for them, and just before the end Thomas Hastings saw red as Lynx secured the three points.

Lynx remain in fourth place but have strengthened their hopes of finishing there, while Lions are now seven points off that spot, set to be the final European spot depending on the cup winners, and their hopes of Europe are fading fast.

Lineups:

Lions: Valades; Jimenez (Bossano-Anes, 40), Tovar, Bosio, Rumbo (Pomares, 45), Cintas (Prescott, 53), Peacock, Buhagiar, Verjaque (Mkerreff, 75), Cortes, Hastings

Unused Subs: Victor, Grech

Lynx: Banda; Serra (Ruiz, 16), Som (Hanglin, 83), Power, Caravaca (Gracia, 83). Valdivia (Santos, 59), Espinosa, Valarino, Victory, Morente (Gonzalez, 59), Bauti

Unused Subs: Avellano, Parkinson

Yellow Cards: Bosio, Peacock, Cortes, Hastings, Mkerreff; Gracia

Red Cards: Hastings

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Lynx return to winning ways against Lions

Lynx bounced back from two losses on the spin to record a comfortable 3-0 win against Lions yesterday.

Photo (C) Black and Burst

Ivan Ruiz Pecino and Kadrian Verjaque were replaced by Antonio Cintas and Guillermo Jimenez for Lions, while Lynx handed a start in goal to Bradley Avellano, on loan from Lincoln, while former Lions captain Alberto Caravaca starter against his former club.

In a balanced opening half, both teams traded chances, but it would be a moment of skill from Aritz Hernandez in the box which created the space for the attacker to finish past Borja Valades and open the lead just before the break.

Lynx weren’t done there either, and managed to double their lead moments later. Bauti’s free kick appeared to be touched on by Brad Power and found its way into the net – the goal has been officially credited to Bauti by the officials but either way it meant Lynx turned the game completely on its head going into the break.

Lions were not able to fight back enough in the second half despite a string of subs, and with 15 minutes to go, Alberto Valdivia, in only his second appearance since recovering from a bad injury, ended the game as a contest from close range.

Lynx maintain fourth spot, with a 3 point lead from Mons Calpe who play tomorrow, while Lions will stay in sixth and know they will need to catch up points in the Championship Group if they want to keep their hopes of a Europa Conference League spot alive.

Lineups:

Lions: Valades; Jimenez (Verjaque, 72), Tovar, Bosio (Mkerreff, 46), Breakspear, Cintas, Pomares (Prescott, 63), Peacock, Buhagiar, Cortes, Hastings

Unused Subs: Victor, Rumbo, Bossano-Anes, Gaivizo

Lynx FC: Avellano; Serra (Hanglin, 79), Som (Morente, 68), Power (Parkinson, 79), Caravaca, Hernandez (Valdivia, 60), Espinosa, Valarino, Santos (Parody, 68), Victory, Bauti

Unused Subs: Banda, Gonzalez

Yellow Cards: Tovar, Bosio, Breakspear, Buhagiar, Hastings, Mkerreff; Caravaca

Red Cards: None

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Lions qualify for Championship Group

A second late winner in as many games saw Lions secure their Championship Group place in a 1-0 win over Europa Point yesterday.

Photo (C) Black & Burst

Europa Point saw debuts from the start handed out to Kailan ‘Ping’ Perez, Luke Evans, Louis Parral and Andrew Lopez, with teenagers Kyron McGrail and Ellis Wilson appearing off the bench, while Lions bought Borja Valades back into the starting lineup and started Didi Peacock – between the two sides 13 HGP’s started the fixture.

In a first half of few chances, Lions were the more active of the two sides, with Europa Point keeper Daniel Tudela kept busy by the likes of Peacock and Ivan Ruiz, although Ping, who was playing against his former club, did have a chance to put Europa Point ahead just before the break which he headed wide.

The second half went much the same way as the first, with Tudela pulling off some very good saves to keep the scores level. However, Europa Point had a glorious chance to go ahead just before the hour mark, and despite a brilliant team move, John Stewart squandered the chance to put his side in the lead.

Ruiz was pulling all the string and coming closer with each effort to scoring, including hitting the post in the 87th minute with a free kick, and the former Glacis and Gib Phoenix midfielder would have the final say. After Lions won an 89th minute penalty, the 30-year-old coolly finished with a Panenka penalty to send Lions into the Championship Group with a game to spare. Ping, who had limped off injured with no subs available to replace him, was sent off soon after, and the game drew to a conclusion. Europa Point remain 10th, but will have taken some confidence from the performance of their strengthened team.

Lineups:

Europa Point: Tudela; Ping, Evans (Jac. Webber, 33), Jos. Webber, Hayes, Martinez (Wilson, 65), El Yettefti (McGrail, 67), Parral, Stewart, Lopez, McCarthy

Unused Subs: Garcia, Juel-Saleh, Chiles-Cowell, Torrilla

Lions: Valades; Tovar, Bosio, Breakspear (Prescott, 82), Cintas, Peacock, Buhagiar, Ruiz (Jimenez, 90), Verjaque (Pomares, 45), Cortes, Hastings

Unused Subs: Victor, Rumbo, Gaivizo, Dobinson

Yellow Cards: Ping, Hayes, El Yettefti, Stewart, Lopez, Wilson; Breakspear

Red Cards: Ping

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Lions leave it late to beat College

An injury time goal from Antonio Cintas spared Lions’ blushes as they beat College 1975 3-2 yesterday evening.

Photo (C) Rough & Ready

In the first game back after the resumption of football on the Rock, Lions saw Lewis Victor make his debut in goal, while new signings Didi Peacock and Cecil Prescott were among the subs. For College, there were first appearances for Adam Gracia and Etien Victory in the starting eleven.

Lions started off the stronger and had chances through German Cortes and Cintas, but it was College who would take a surprise lead, as Luis Manuel Gallardo scored off the back of a counter-attack from his side. It took time for Lions to get back in the game, but on the half-hour mark Guillermo Jimenez’ cross was turned in by Cortes to level the scores, and seemingly resume the expected pattern of the game.

College were having none of that though, and just three minutes later they regained the lead, with Gallardo notching his second goal, and fifth goal in as many games for College, with a drilled shot into the corner. That lead did not last as long though, and Cortes got his second from the penalty spot just over five minutes before the break.

Lions bought on Peacock at half-time for Kadrian Verjaque, and soon after Albert Ferri’s side had a goal disallowed for offside. However, College remained on the right path in their quest for a first point of the season, and looked on course for it until Cintas got the winner in the final minute of injury time to take a massive three points for Lions.

College remain bottom but will no doubt see signs of encouragement for the Challenge Group, while the three points for Lions moves them up to fifth, above Mons Calpe who face Bruno’s Magpies, another top six challenger, in tonight’s fixture.

Lineups:

Lions: Victor; Jimenez (Prescott, 60), Tovar, Bosio, Breakspear, Cintas, Pomares (Buhagiar, 85), Ruiz, Verjaque (Peacock, 45), Cortes, Hastings

Unused Subs: Valades, Rumbo, Bossano-Anes, Grech

College 1975: Oliva; Hughes (Thorne, 76), Perez, Matto, Victory, Franco, Gracia, Marin (Pacheco, 62), Gallardo, Ruiz (Ruh Dos Santos, 74), Molina

Unused Subs: Warwick, Mendez, Wahnon, Parkinson

Yellow Cards: Victor, Bosio, Cintas, Pomares, Peacock; Matto, Victory, Franco, Molina

Red Cards: None

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Bosio: “We have proved to be a tough opponent on many occasions”

FG caught up with Lions captain Jamie Bosio to discuss his sides season far, including their impressive defensive record, and more.

Photo (C) Daniel Ferro

Lions currently sit sixth in the table, and are pushing to stay there come the split – how does Bosio rate his side’s season so far? “I believe we have been quite the underdog this season and we have proved to be a tough opponent on many occasions. We have competed with almost every team we’ve faced and I am extremely pleased with the shift the boys have put it every game so far.”

Only Europa and St Joseph’s have conceded fewer goals than Lions, with the team yet to concede a goal to a side below them in the table this season – Bosio, who takes the captaincy at Lions after the departure of Alberto Caravaca, talks highly of the backline he is a key part of: “We have certainly been solid at the back with a good understanding of what the gaffer wants us to do and the keeper has been exceptional for us too. We still have some tough tests ahead of us so we need to ensure we remain solid at the back and try to be clinical when we get those opportunities up front.”

The 29-year-old made his way into the national side for the recent internationals, being part of the squad which secured Nations League promotion – how did that feel? “From the call-up to the squad to securing promotion as group winners has just been a surreal experience. History was made and I am extremely proud to form part of this group of lads who have worked tirelessly to achieve this. There was always belief in the dressing room that it was possible to achieve this and the lads simply delivered.”

Finally, we asked Bosio what his goals were in 2021? “With football being suspended for obvious reasons I am working extremely hard off the pitch, pushing myself every day to maintain and improve my fitness levels overall. I am aiming to secure a spot within the top 6 in the domestic league as well as being called up to represent Gibraltar again for the Euro Qualifiers … and maybe even getting into that starting XI!”

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Mons and Lions battle to stalemate

Mons Calpe and Lions were unable to get the crucial goal as both teams battled to a 0-0 draw this afternoon.

Photo (C) David Roberts

Lions replaced the suspended Alberto Caravaca with Abraham Pomares, while for Mons, Mark Ballester replaced Ashley Rodriguez in the first eleven.

Both teams had early chances in the game, with German Cortes cross almost setting up Pomares, while at the other end Borja Valades saved well from Andre Dos Santos and Ayoub El Hmidi respectively.

23 minutes in, and Lions suffered a blow with Jamie Bosio having to come off for Ethan Dobinson, and the rest of the half followed a balanced flow with both sides having chances to go ahead, but the game was goalless at the break.

Both sides made a change at the break – Dobinson came off for Kaylan Rumbo, while Rodriguez replaced Ballester. 10 minutes into the half, Lions had a lobbed effort go in the back of the net, but the offside flag denied them the opener. Both Valades and Mons keeper Christian Fraiz were kept busy at times, and in the final minute, Valades had to make a great save at his near post to ensure the game ended goalless in an even affair.

The point sees Mons move onto 10 points, and Lions onto 9, with both sides having 3 matches left in the battle for the top six spots – they would have been buoyed slightly with Magpies later loss to St Joseph’s, but both will perhaps rue not winning and taking a big step towards the top six.

Lineups:

Mons Calpe: Fraiz; Dos Santos (Bernardes, 89), Santos, El Hmidi, N. El Andaloussi, Caballero, Ojeda, Ballester (Rodriguez, 45), Diaz, Sendin (Mallemaci, 73), Ronco

Unused Subs: McCarthy, Pinero, Holgado, Thorne

Lions: Valades; Tovar, Bosio (Dobinson, 23 – Rumbo, 45), Breakspear, Cintas, Pomares (Morales, 69), Buhagiar, Ruiz (Sanchez, 90), Verjaque, Cortes, Hastings

Unused Subs: Victor, Thorne, Grech

Yellow Cards: Caballero; Tovar, Breakspear, Cintas, Ruiz

Red Cards: None