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.


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


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.


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.


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.”


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.


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


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.”


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:


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


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.


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.


Gibraltar National League Championship Group Review

With only four games remaining, the Gibraltar FA called off the league making it null and void. The European spots were handed out but no league winner announced. Here is our early review of the Championship Group.

Europa FC – 1st

While not being crowned champions has clearly left a very bitter taste in the mouths of all at Europa, they should no doubt still be happy at how their season went until the point of the league being terminated. From their opening week, eye-catching 4-1 win against Lincoln, Europa went on to be virtually unstoppable in the league, bar for a dramatic 2-2 draw against St Joseph’s in September which they were lucky not to lose.

They were of course expected to challenge for the title strongly, but few would have perhaps expected them to be unbeaten – past Europa sides have had a habit of very avoidable defeats that have cost them in the league dearly, but this Europa side, even when going behind in games, never looked like losing 99% of the time.

The emergence of Dayle Coleing in goal was a major plus for Rafael Escobar’s side, while the signing of Juampe from Balona was an inspired addition to a team who have never had trouble scoring. The plan for next season will be to try and maintain those levels, with St Joseph’s and Lincoln likely to be champing at the bit hoping to bring Europa down a peg or two.

St Joseph’s – 2nd

After years of coming so close in breaking the top two’s league dominance, Saints finally reached their potential this season. Sitting in second, five points behind Europa and five points in front of Lincoln with four games remaining.

Overall their season exceeded expectations – their Europa League campaign was memorable, came within minutes of beating Europa but would draw 2-2 in the final minute and did the league double of Lincoln.

The most important bit for Procopio and his men is to keep the same momentum and consistency going into whenever football restarts in Gibraltar.

Lincoln Red Imps – 3rd

For a team who have for so many years been the all-conquering, dominant force of local football, a third-place finish for Lincoln is disappointing – in fact, it is the first season they haven’t finished in the top two since the 1999/2000 season, where they finished fourth in a six-team league.

While they continued to beat the teams below them, normally with some ease, Lincoln came unstuck against both Europa and St Joseph’s, losing all four meetings against their title rivals. This saw their title hopes drift away in February, but there were some positive signs for the club, most notably the emergence of Julian Del Rio into the first team.

Next seasons aim for Lincoln has to be to appoint the right manager, after German Crespo’s departure earlier this week, and try to keep them in charge for a longer period than their last few managers – they have the squad, especially in attack, to challenge for titles, but stability is key if Lincoln wants to climb back on top of local football once again.

Lynx FC – 4th

Lynx was another team that started the season great, a 4th place finish is their highest since the 2014-15 season. Their three Croatians Hrvoje Bukvic, Ed Kokorovic, and Marko Marcius would play a big role in round one of the Gibraltar National League. Their departure would leave a big hole in the team and the results would show it with two wins from six games.

It has been a positive season for them though, Jaydan Parody has shown potential this season and Mohamed Badr has made the Gibraltar national team.

Brunos Magpies – 5th

Round one of the National League saw Magpies achieve their top half aims, albeit it was far less comfortable than expected, and saw the departure of David Wilson as manager, a move which proved unpopular among Magpies fanbase and seemed to hurt their attendances and atmosphere for a while after. They weren’t then helped by Alfonso Cortijo joining, only to leave for a job in China two months later, but he at least ensured they finished in the top six before the split.

Magpies issue seemed to be in beating the teams above them, with only a solitary cup win vs Lynx to their name vs the top four, so 5th place is a deserved finished, and perhaps around where the club would have hoped to finish, despite significant investment in both the summer and in January. Tight battles with St Joseph’s just before the league ended showed some hope they can battle with the big boys, presuming they don’t chop and change the squad too much this summer.

Lions Gibraltar – 6th

You can’t judge Lions’ season from their results in the Championship Group, with their financial resources not as strong as the others – the team itself knew what they were getting themselves into with a sixth-placed finish.

Lions did put in cracking performances in the Group and were unlucky not to get points on a couple of occasions. Looking at it from an overall perspective, Albert Ferri and his team showed great promise and that they don’t need to play so defensively to gain results.


Doody: “We will be back and we will be ready”

FG caught up with Lions Womens’ and Gibraltar’s Keshia Doody to talk about the season so far, the teams reaction to the postponement of the Womens Futsal Euro qualifiers, which were due to be held in Gib, and more.

Photo © Neil Wilson (Black & Burst Photography)

We firstly asked for her thoughts on how Lions Womens’ season had gone so far “Well before lockdown, our season had already ended with Lincoln being crowned champions. I personally don’t think we had a bad season overall but, it also wasn’t our best one. We’ve had a few changes to the squad bringing up younger players which I know they will be great assets to the team for the upcoming seasons. Us lionesses always give 100% in what we do, so I have faith we’ll be back stronger next season.

I would like to take the chance to congratulate Lincoln ladies for their title once again.”

Gibraltar were set to face Belgium and Kazakhstan in the Women’s Futsal Euro Qualifiers, in a week’s time, with Doody set to be part of that squad – were the team disappointed when the lockdown inevitably led to the qualifiers being postponed? “I think more than disappointed, we’re gutted about it. When we heard Gibraltar had been put down for the draw we were over the moon, at first it didn’t seem real as we had been waiting for this opportunity for years. The squad had already been training very hard for the past months due to having the friendly international matches over in Northern Ireland early in January which had been planned as a lead up to the upcoming Euros. So when the pandemic occurred, we couldn’t believe how close but far away our dream was.

Luckily we are all managing to stay positive about this and just waiting patiently for the time to come. Like I’ve already said to them before, we’ve waited countless of years for this opportunity, so I guess we can wait a further few months. Our health and the rest of the community’s health & safety comes first.”

With lockdown approaching two months now, we asked how the Lions Womens’ captain has approached keeping up fitness during this time: “Personally I have found it hard as I am very much a team player and don’t motivate myself to train alone. Luckily my partner is into cycling so I have been doing Gib rides as much as possible accompanied by him and motivated by him when I’ve not been at work. We have also been provided with a workout program by the GFA to do at home which I am also doing At least 3 times a week. That way I/we are as ready as possible for when we begin to get ready for the Euros once again.”

Finally, we asked Doody for her goals for the rest of 2020: “If football returns which I hope it does, my overall goal is to maintain my fitness, train hard with the girls/ squad & get back to routine with all of them. Locally my goal would have to be in winning the Rock Cup & Futsal league (*note – this interview took place before the announcement of the domestic season being terminated) and last but not least internationally my goal would be to make sure we are as ready as we can be to perform at our best at International Level when the opportunity arises again. Hopefully we will still be hosts in our homeland and make ourselves and Gibraltar proud. We will be back and we will be ready.”