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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

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Lions Women get off to perfect start

Lions Women have got their league campaign off to the perfect start by winning their first two games against Europa and Lynx.

Women’s football was finally given the green light to begin their season after Covid restrictions. The big talking point was reigning champions Lincoln Red Imps pulling out the league and being replaced by Lynx.

Lions beat Europa 2-0 in the season opener with Kayleigh Ferro and 15-year old Mollie Karp getting the goals. It is refreshing to see so many young girls playing, 14-year old Sarah Popham being the youngest in the Europa team.

Managed by Janssen Olivero and Adrian Parral, Lions secured their second straight win yesterday with a 3-0 win over new side Lynx. A brace from Joelle Gilbert and one by Mollie Karp made sure their 100% record stayed intact.

The next women’s game is on Tuesday 22nd December between Lynx & Europa at 18:15.

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Kike scores twice to tame Lions

Kike scored twice as 9-man Lions were soundly beaten 3-0 by Lincoln Red Imps.

Mick McElwee made two changes from the side which beat Europa Point in midweek with Jesus Toscano and Scott Wiseman replacing Graeme Torrilla and Diego Gamiz.

Albert Ferri would also make changes after their defeat to Europa last week with Kaylan Rumbo and Ivan Ruiz Pecino replacing Antonio Cintas and Craig Bossano-Anes.

Lincoln’s fast start was credited with a goal as Kyle Casciaro’s shot took a deflection and beat Borja Valades. A few minutes after losing defender Thomas Hastings to injury, Lions would concede their second goal through Kike’s rebound.

Valades was the busiest of the two keepers with the Spanish goalkeeper making a number of good saves to keep the score at 2-0. Kike got his second and Lincoln’s third from the penalty spot in the 77th minute.

With the final whistle fast approaching, Lions would end up finishing with 9 men after Guillermo Jimenez and captain Alberto Caravaca saw red.

This win sees the Imps keep up the pressure on Europa and St Joseph’s while Lions remain seventh.


Lineups

Lincoln Red Imps – Goldwin; Ronan, Wiseman, Lopes, K.Casciaro (Gamiz 68), De Barr, Toscano, Moreno (Valarino 66), Yahaya (Azopardi 80), Kike (Clinton 80), Coombes (Torrilla 66)

Unused subs: Soler, Cawthorn

Lions – Valades; Jimenez, Tovar, Bosio, Breakspear, Rumbo (Bossano-Anes 50), Caravaca, Ruiz, Verjaque, Cortes (Pomares 70), Hastings (Espinosa 20 – Dobinson 70)

Unused subs: Benitez, Thorne, Grech

Yellow cards: Coombes, Gamiz; Valades, Jimenez, Caravaca, Ruiz

Red cards: Jimenez, Caravaca

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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