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Last-minute penalty takes all three points for Europa

A 95th minute penalty scored by Liam Walker ensured Europa took all three points in a 1-0 victory over Lions last night.

Photo (C) David Roberts

The match, which saw two of the then-unbeaten teams this season go head-to-head, saw Lions manager Albert Ferri once again get his team to defend admirably against what was the best attacking side last season. A back six, which even adapted to a back seven when needed, proved not for the first time that they will be making life incredibly difficult for the top three this season.

For Lions, there was a start for Craig Bossano-Anes, after Jared Buhagiar missed out, while for Europa, Evan De Haro was on the bench after his summer move from Algeciras Cantera.

Lions fashioned the first chance in the first minute – German Cortes spotted Christian Lopez off his line and tried to lob him from 45 yards, but it went wide of the mark. From that point, Europa went out to try and break down the ‘orange wall’ so to speak, but found chances few and far between. They weren’t helped by Marco Rosa pulling up injured after 20 minutes, and not long after that Lions had a chance of their own – a free kick going just over the bar from distance.

A recurring theme of the game, as it would turn out at the end, was Lions dissatisfaction with the decision-making of referee Jason Barcelo, starting with him missing an accidental head injury to Cortes – one of their technical team would be booked for dissent after that.

At the half-time break, both teams made subs – Bossano-Anes came off for Kaylan Rumbo, and Mikey Yome came off for Dylan Borge, who was looking to keep up his scoring form. The second half largely went to the same pattern as the first – Europa attacking but Lions shutting them out comprehensively. Rafael Escobar’s team started resorting to long-distance efforts as their frustrations grew – they knew after Lincoln’s 0-0 draw with Boca last weekend, they could not afford to waste the two point advantage given to them.

As the game went on, and after Europa had a goal disallowed, tempers started to fray on the Lions side, mainly off the pitch though – club President Alex Grech was the unlikely recipient of a yellow card as the minutes ticked down. Lions did have a chance to potentially nick a win, as Kadrian Verjaque’s effort from 25 yards went narrowly over the bar, but it would be at the end that the moment of controversy happened.

As Europa were piling on the pressure trying to get a winner, what looked like a soft penalty was awarded by Barcelo, much to Lions clear frustration. Walker stepped up and dispatched the penalty down the middle, sparking celebrations and a bit of handbags, which ended up seeing another member of Lions bench booked – in the end they had as many non-players booked as players.

Despite the two minutes wasted from the penalty, there was to be no time added to the six given, which Lions at the time felt was too generous to their opponents, in order for them to launch one final attack – the final whistle went and Europa, for the time being at least, go to the top of the league. Lions tasted defeat for the first time this season, but will once again take heart from their incredibly disciplined performance against one of Gib’s so-called ‘Top 3’.

Lineups:

Lions: Valades; Jimenez, Tovar, Bosio, Breakspear, Cintas, Caravaca (Pomares, 70), Bossano-Anes (Rumbo, 45), Verjaque, Cortes (Ruiz, 67), Hastings

Unused Subs: Victor, Morales, Thorne, Grech

Europa: Lopez; Jolley, Ayew (Gallardo, 60), Juampe, Walker, Yome (Borge, 45), Olivero, Aviles, Rosa (Poku, 24), Polaco, Juanlu (Quillo, 75)

Unused Subs: Romero, Alvarez, De Haro

Yellow Cards: Bosio, Breakspear, Cintas; Walker, Quillo, Poku

Red Cards: None

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Locals Abroad: Louis Parral

Introducing a new monthly series called “Locals Abroad” where we speak to Gibraltarians about playing football outside of Gibraltar and everything that goes with it.

Parral spoke to FG about how his move to Dunston UTS FC, who currently ply their trade in the Northern Premier League Division One North West – “After two consecutive years with Lions, I knew I wanted to continue my development in the UK at the highest possible level whilst I studied. I had a few contacts and they put me through to various clubs in the North East. Dunston invited me to trial with the first team and after 3 or 4 sessions they were impressed and decided they wanted to sign me.”

We asked Parral how he has settled at Dunston, “The club has been very welcoming and I couldn’t ask for more, the chairman, manager and players and all members throughout the club have been brilliant in helping me settle quickly.

With the UK entering a National Lockdown, we asked Parral how Covid has impacted his league – “We were the first league in the tiered pyramid to have games stopped. We were top of the league when it was paused and we hope to pick up where we left off come on the 5th of December. Training continued up until the National lockdown was announced so I flew to Gibraltar where I could stay with my family and keep fit over here.”

Louis made 20 appearances last season, at the age of 17 years old – we asked the Gibraltar U19 international, to sum up, his time at Lions, “I always enjoyed my time at Lions. I owe a lot to Ferri who put faith in me and all members involved in the club who always treated me as their own. Before the season was called off I was coming off the bench regularly getting good minutes, but covid put a stop to it, so I was disappointed in that sense. However, being young in a competitive squad at Lions has helped me take that confidence over to Dunston, where the competition for places is nothing new to me.”

Lastly, we asked Louis what he hopes to achieve this season – “I’d really like to break into the Dunston team this season and help them in any way I can. I also want to keep developing and take all I can from the players within the team who have plenty of experience at this level. I’m driven to play a part in the push for promotion and on a personal level get called up for the Gibraltar U21 national team.”

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Lions hold firm in Magpies draw

A resilient Lions defence kept out Bruno’s Magpies in a well-earned 0-0 draw at the Victoria Stadium last night.

After their late draw vs St Joseph’s before the break, Lions were looking to maintain their unbeaten start to the season, while Magpies would have been buoyed by their late win vs Boca last time out.

The first half was a quiet affair, with Magpies having most of the ball but not being able to break down Lions sturdy defence. A couple of bookings and a great save by Borja Valades from Matheus Assumpcao’s driven effort were the main takeaways from the half.

The second half did not light up either as Magpies would have hoped – and they may have been frustrated at how often referee Herbert Warwick was blowing up for fouls against them, stopping the flow of the game and any momentum they may have been trying to build.

Jaron Vinet went closest to breaking the deadlock, with his deflected effort from outside the box hitting the post, but in the end Lions stood tall and firm to ensure they took another draw from one of their top 6 rivals from last season. For Magpies, four points from four games is not the ideal start, albeit they have had a fairly tricky run, but new manager Johnny will need wins soon.

Lineups:

Bruno’s Magpies: Martin; Garcia, Diaz, Cataruozzolo, Assumpcao (Edilson, 66), Vinet, Catania, Bent, Parker, Soussi (Morgan, 72), Rubo

Unused Subs: Galia, Gallardo, Fernandez, Lopez, Livingstone

Lions: Valades, Jimenez (Morales, 82), Tovar, Bosio, Rumbo, Cintas, Caravaca, Buhagiar (Bossano-Anes, 81), Ruiz (Cortes, 56), Verjaque, Hastings

Unused Subs: Benitez, Pomares, Thorne, Grech

Yellow Cards: Garcia, Bent, Morgan; Jimenez, Rumbo, Cintas, Caravaca, Buhagiar, Morales

Red Cards: None

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Lions keeper salvages a point

Lions goalkeeper Borja Valades Gonzalez salvaged a point after equalising in the final minute to earn a 1-1 draw against St Joseph’s.

Raul Procopio handed Sykes Garro his first start for St Joseph’s since late February while Lions head coach Albert Ferri opted for a defensive change with Guillermo Jimenez replacing forward Abraham Pomares.

Saints controlled most of the half and were unfortunate not to take the lead mid-way through when they had an effort cleared off the line. A scrappy affair was brought to a halt with the score locked at 0-0.

On the hour mark, St Joseph’s were left furious when they had a penalty appeal turned down. Ten minutes later a mis-hit cross would hit the crossbar, leaving the thought of it just not being Saints’ day.

Lions’ defensive resilience would finally be broken in the 80th minute when second-half substitute Loren fired in at the second attempt. Procopio would make an immediate change with defender Ezequiel Rojas replacing forward Domingo Ferrer Lopez.

Aymen Mouelhi had a glorious chance to make it 2-0 in the 89th minute but his shot from inside the box hit the side-netting. With time running out, a well-worked corner routine saw Lions goalkeeper Borja Valades Gonzalez run into the box unmarked and headed the ball in to make it 1-1.


Lineups:

St Joseph’s – Robba; Garro, Nano, Barnett, Pecci (c), Juanfri, Villar (Loren 59), Pons (Pishu 75), Juanma, Ferrer (Rojas 80), Mouelhi

Unused subs: Mateo, Serra, Carrasco, Robba

Lions – Valades; Jimenez (Pomares 68), Tovar, Bosio, Breakspear, Cintas, Caravaca (c), Buhagiar, Ruiz (Cortes 75), Verjaque (Rumbo 89), Hastings

Unused subs: Victor, Morales, Thorne, Grech

Yellow cards: Barnett, Pons, Ferrer; Jimenez, Tovar, Bosio, Cintas, Caravaca, Hastings

Red cards: None.

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Verjaque: “This is helping me take my football game to the next level”

After Lions 3-0 win vs Glacis last weekend, we caught up with new signing Kadrian Verjaque to talk about his move, working under Albert Ferri and more.

Photo (C) Black and Burst

Verjaque, who was part of Lincoln’s U23 side who dominated the Intermediate League last season, made the move to Lions ahead of this season – how does the 17-year-old feel about his move? “I am delighted to have made the move to Lions as they are giving me plenty of opportunities to show myself at senior level, this is helping me take my football game to the next level.”

After making his debut as a half-time sub in the opening game of the season, Verjaque has a goal to his name, as well as an assist, and a penalty won in 135 minutes of football – how has he found the step up to senior football so far? “It’s been a big step for me, this means I’ve just got to carry on working hard to improve and get better, and give everything for the club and help them achieve more.”

Lions manager Albert Ferri has built a deserved reputation for giving young players chances in the league, while also getting results – Verjaque is positive about working with his new manager: “It has helped me a lot as he has been giving me the opportunities in senior level, he has even played me the full 90 minutes – this is helping me improve as a player as I’m getting to play more competitive football.”

Finally, we asked the winger what his personal goals were this season: “My personal goals for this season are to get as many minutes as possible at senior level as this will help me improve my football game technically and physically.

Another goal of mine is to give my all in every match I play with the senior team in order to help them place as high up in the league as possible.”

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Caravaca hat-trick inspires Lions

Alberto Caravaca struck a hat-trick as Lions eased past Glacis United 3-0.

17-year old Kadrian Verjaque made his full senior debut for Lions after an impressive display in their win over Manchester 62 – he was Albert Ferri’s only change from last week.

Caravaca missed an early chance in the 4th minute to give his side the lead but the Lions captain made no mistake after scoring a penalty which youngster Verjaque won.

Lions doubled their lead with five minutes of the first half remaining through Caravaca and the Spaniard got his hat-trick on the hour mark to give his side a 3-0 lead.

This win sees Lions move top of the table; with two wins, seven goals scored and none conceded from their opening two games.


Lineups:

Lions: Valades; Tovar, Bosio, Breakspear, Cintas, Pomares (Jimenez 78), Caravaca (c) (Cortes 64), Buhagiar, Ruiz Pecino, Verjaque, Hastings

Unused Subs: Benitez, Morales, Rumbo, Thorne, Grech

Glacis: Fluxa Cano; Yeo, Londero (J.Castle 26), N.Castle, K.Castle (Gallo 46), Derksen, Smith, Kozuh, Witbreuk, Borghi, Peralta (Evans 46)

Unused Subs: Moreno, Kaleba, Di Piedi, Prescott

Yellow Cards: Cintas, Hastings; Derksen, Kozuh, J.Castle

Red Cards: None

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Bosio: “I personally hope to finish within the top five”

FG caught up with Lions midfielder Jamie Bosio about their win over Manchester 62 last week, ambitions for this season and more.

Lions opened up their campaign with a 4-0 win over Manchester 62 courtesy of goals from Kadrian Verjaque, Abraham Pomares and an Alberto Caravaca brace – we asked Bosio how he felt his team played, “I believe the team played with a lot of heart and courage and we were more physically dominant than they were and it was this that gave us the edge to win in what was an evenly contested match in the first half. We found our rhythm in the second half which was when we started to take full control of the game.”

The 29-year old joined from Olympique in 2018 – Bosio reflected on his time so far at Lions, “This is now my 3rd year at Lions FC. I am extremely happy to be playing with some great players and coaching staff. I feel that I have been able to grow as a player throughout the years and my contribution to the team is definitely valued at the club. Being one of the senior players and vice-captain of the team, I try my best to guide the younger players by maintaining a professional approach when it comes to training and match days.”

Jamie struck up a good partnership with Thomas Hastings in the heart of the Lions defence, guiding them to a top-six finish last season – we asked him how important the signing of Shea Breakspear will be for the team, “I definitely felt that I had a great partnership with Thomas last season as I feel that we complement each other well on the pitch. The addition of Shea to the squad has been a massive boost to the team. He’s a solid defender who gives us strength and security at the back. Having played with him in the past, I feel extremely comfortable playing alongside him and Tom and I look forward to seeing what this season holds.”

Bosio gave us an insight into his ambitions for the season, “We are very ambitious this season and I personally hope to finish within the top five. I believe the signings we’ve made this season have given us further depth in the squad and will help us give us the extra support that we were missing last year. We have been working hard throughout pre-season and I am confident that we are going to be a tough team to beat on the pitch.”

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Caravaca brace ensures Lions breeze past Manchester

Two goals from Alberto Caravaca ensured Lions beat Manchester 62 4-0 this afternoon in the first of a double-header on Saturday.

Photo (C) Daniel Ferro

In a game which saw 12 Gibraltarians start, it was Manchester who made the brighter start – only a save from Borja Valades and a block from Shea Breakspear stopped them scoring after two minutes of the game. After that, Lions went and took control of the match.

A header from Breakspear went over – later on Lions took the lead – Caravaca ended up finishing off a free kick from Pecino to ensure Lions went into the break one goal up.

A sub in the second half break proved vital – 17-year-old Kadrian Verjaque came on for Kaylan Rumbo, and after 63 minutes, the teenager doubled Lions lead to give them some breathing space.

From there, David Wilson and his Manchester side could do nothing to stop his former club – Verjaque set up Caravaca for his second and Lions third after 70 minutes, and three minutes from time, Jared Buhagiar’s cross found Abraham Pomares who got Lions fourth – a comfortable win for Albert Ferri’s side.

After the game, Manchester 62 manager David Wilson had this to say:

Lineups:

Manchester 62: Borge; P. Sardena (Ballester, 70), Pereira (Thomas, 56), De Los Santos, Ballantine (C), Fortuna (Sanchez, 80), Montovio (C. Sardena, 56), Edzez, Farmer, Clenahan, Garcia (Mifsud, 80)

Unused Subs: Chichon, Green

Lions: Valades; Tovar, Bosio, Breakspear, Rumbo (Verjaque, 45), Cintas, Pomares, Caravaca (C) (Jimenez, 76), Buhagiar, Ruiz (Thorne, 85), Hastings

Unused Subs: Victor, Cortes, Grech, Benitez

Yellow Cards: Fortuna; Breakspear, Cintas

Red Cards: None

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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.

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Revagliatte and Doody to sign for ADC Esteponense

Gibraltar International duo Kyrelle Revagliatte and Keshia Doody are close to signing for ADC Esteponense from Lions Gibraltar.

Kyrelle and Keshia will be part of the newly formed women’s team which will take part in the 2020-2021 season for the first time in its 13-year history. A huge milestone for Women’s Football in Gibraltar which continues to grow and will be the start of more women following them to play abroad.

Captain and vice-captain at both domestic and international level, this move is a massive milestone for Women’s football to see it is going in the right direction with interest coming from abroad.

Kyrelle has previous experience from playing in Spain with CD Salesianos in 2016 while Keshia has been a long-time servant of Lions – a big loss for the club.

A promising move which will hopefully lead the way for more women like Tiffany Viagas, Shania Robba & others to follow suit and try their luck outside of Gibraltar.