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Europa retain Gibtelecom Rock Cup for a third year

Second half goals from Manuel Arana, Urko Arroyo and a Liam Walker penalty helped Europa beat Gibraltar United 3-0 and retain the Gibtelecom Rock Cup for a third consecutive year.

In the pre-Rock Cup press conference, Europa head coach Rafa Escobar didn’t give any hints as to his who his three HGP’s following the suspension of Tjay De Barr. As expected, it would be Dayle Coleing named alongside Liam Walker & Ethan Jolley.

Alberto Zapata had a glorious chance to score in the first fifteen minutes but volleyed his close range shot over the bar. Ten minutes later, Europa would reply as Manuel Arana shot just wide from inside the box.

There wasn’t much between the teams for the rest of the half apart from Liam Walker’s free-kick which was well saved by Kyle Goldwin. Herbert Warwick blew for half-time with the score locked at 0-0.

Goldwin was called into action, making an excellent save to keep out a shot from Manuel Dimas. After starting the half strong, Europa got their goal through Manuel Arana as he beat Erin Barnett to the ball, run on goal and fired past Goldwin.

Less than ten minutes later and Europa doubled their lead, Arana went from scorer to provider as he set up Urko Arroyo to slot the ball in from close.

Things went from bad to worse for Gibraltar United as Europa made it 3-0 minutes later as Liam Walker scored from the penalty spot. The holder nearly got a fourth but Goldwin did well to save a shot from Dimas.

Gibraltar United bench were furious with the decision not to send off Manuel Arana after his altercation with Carlos Carrasco. Francis Huart walked back to the bench then out of nowhere whipped out a Lincoln shirt and start shouting towards the Europa fans. This foolish act would see the Gibraltar United delegate sent to stands.

Europa held on to their lead and retained the Gibtelecom Rock Cup.

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Yome: “We are looking forward to defending the title again”

We caught up with Europa winger Mikey Yome to get his thoughts on the upcoming Gibtelecom Rock Cup final and more.

After last week’s 13-1 thrashing of FC Boca Juniors, we asked how how Europa are feeling going into this Sunday’s Gibtelecom Rock Cup final – “Team’s in good spirits, the rock cup final is probably the best game of the season in Gibraltar with regards to the way in which it’s organised and we are looking forward to defending the title again. We have a really good group of guys and personally this is probably the best group I’ve been with in terms of friendship as well as on the pitch chemistry.”

After missing out on winning the league to rivals Lincoln, we asked if there’s any added pressure on Europa to retain the Rock Cup – “We always take every game one by one, and the cup final was not a thought up until after the boca game. Missing out on the league was quite a big blow but we have moved on from it, we have a cup final as well as the Europa League to look forward to, and we need to feel privileged about our situation. Everyone feels pressure in every game but we are a team that knows how to play under pressure. We have very experienced players who have played to the highest levels and this further reinforces the teams spirit.”

It was Europa’s draw to Gibraltar United in late April which would pave the way for Lincoln to retain the league, we asked Yome if Europa will be looking for revenge on Sunday – “As I said before we have moved on from the past. Our only focus is lifting the cup. Revenge is nothing compared to lifting a title.”

Lastly, Yome reflected on his season – “I thought I started the season off considerably well, but I know I have much more to offer. All I know is that at the moment what’s important is the team and how we perform as a whole on Sunday.”

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Barnett: “It was an extremely disciplined performance from the whole team”

We spoke to Erin Barnett about Gibraltar United’s Rock Cup semi-final win, his season so far and more.

Barnett reflected on his teams performance after their 1-0 win over Mons Calpe, “I feel that the performance from the whole team was exactly as we had planned. We have spent a lot of hours preparing on the training ground for this important game, and i am glad that our hard work paid off. Being a Semi Final, We knew that it was going to be a very tight game between two similarly matched sides, and we are extremely happy as a team to have been able to take our chances and progress to the final. It was an extremely disciplined performance from the whole team, from 1 to 11, and i feel that keeping a clean sheet was fundamental in ensuring that we won the game.”

Gibraltar United will play Europa in the Gibtelecom Rock Cup final with the winner heading to the Europa League. We asked how it felt to have another shot at European football after missing out on it on the final day of last season, “To be honest, missing out on european football last season in such circumstances was extremely difficult, and therefore, to be able to have another huge opportunity this season is extremely rewarding and is fruits of the hard work that the whole team has put in. It still hurts when i think back to last season, and this certainly gives us that extra drive and determination going in to the final this year.”

Currently sitting fifth in the league with five games to go and now in the Rock Cup final – Barnett reflected on his sides season so far, “The season this year has been very strange. There has been many difficult and challenging times throughout the season, and as a result there has been many changes within the team. If we are completely honest with ourselves, this season has been rather disappointing in terms of our league position, and especially considering how we started the season. Nevertheless, winning the Rock Cup will make it an extremely successful season, and therefore, we will use the next six weeks to recover and prepare ourselves in order to give us the best possible chance of winning.”

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Zuniga: “It is going to be a hard game as they also want the Rock Cup like us”

We spoke to Mons Calpe defender Francisco Zuniga about beating St Joseph’s, drawing Gibraltar United in the Gibtelecom Rock Cup semi-final again and his sides season so far.

Zuniga scored the opening goal in Mons Calpe’s 4-1 win over St Joseph’s in the Gibtelecom Rock Cup quarter-final, we asked how he felt the team played, “It was a great game for me, to score and the team, to win. We knew from the beginning that it was going to be a tough game, I think we performed well and made the most of our opportunities.”

A repeat of last season’s semi-final draw sees Mons Calpe take on Gibraltar United – Pako reacted to the draw by saying, “It is going to be a hard game as they also want the Rock Cup like us. We have played them several times and they’ve always been a tough opponent so I think it’s going to be very interesting.”

Mons Calpe currently sit fourth in the Premier Division table, nine points behind St Joseph’s in third and level with Gibraltar Phoenix in fifth. Zuniga reflected on his sides season so far, “We lost some important points at the beginning of the season that we need now. Apart from that, I think we have had a good season but I feel we could have made it better.”

Lastly, Pako commented on whether he feels there’s added pressure on Mons Calpe to win the Rock Cup – he replied, “I don’t think that we have added pressure to win the Cup. Our goal is to finish in third place at least and I’m calm because I know the kind of players that I play with.”

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Labra: “There is no pressure”

We spoke to Phoenix striker Juanma Labrador about the Rock Cup win over Lions, drawing Europa in the semi-final and more.

Labra scored two goals in Phoenix’s 4-0 Gibtelecom Rock Cup quarter-final win over Lions last Wednesday. We asked how he felt the team played, “The team played very well, was focused and it was great to score two goals.”

We asked how Labra felt after Phoenix were pitted against Europa in the semi-final “I feel very motivated and eager to play the game.”

Labra joined Phoenix in the summer from Los Barrios, we asked the 23-year old how he has found his first season in GIbraltar – “I didn’t know the league very well before joining but there are many competitive teams and I’m happy to have scored nine goals so far in my first year.”

Phoenix currently sit fifth, nine points behind St Joseph’s in third and level with Mons in fourth. With only seven games remaining, we asked if there’s a lot of pressure on his side to win the Rock Cup, “There is no pressure. We have to do our job and try to win every game from now until the end of the season. We might be 9 points behind St Joseph’s but there’s still a lot of time left.

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Gibtelecom Rock Cup Quarter Final: Predictions

The Gibtelecom Rock Cup quarter-finals kicks off tomorrow and here are our predictions.

Gibraltar United vs FC Olympique (Tuesday 12th March – 18:15)

After losing to St Joseph’s last weekend, Gib Utd’s only possible chance of getting into Europe would be winning this year’s Rock Cup. Olympique were unlucky in the final of the Second Division Cup, losing 2-1 to Magpies but with match fitness playing a major factor in their defeat then you’d expect the same to happen again.

Prediction: Gibraltar United win.

St Joseph’s vs Mons Calpe (Tuesday 12th March – 20:30)

A tasty fixture indeed, Saints flying while Mons’ victory over Boca would be a good confidence booster after a poor run of results. Mons have won three of their last five meeting against Saints but with Boro & Juanfri scoring 36 goals between them, you just feel that they’ll play a big part tomorrow night.

Prediction: St Joseph’s win.

Gibraltar Phoenix vs Lions Gibraltar (Wednesday 13th March – 18:15)

Like Gibraltar United, Phoenix’s defeat to Lincoln last weekend leaves them with winning the Rock Cup as their only chance of qualifying into Europe. You would expect Labra and co to sweep aside Lions and progress.

Prediction: Gibraltar Phoenix win.

Brunos Magpies vs Europa (Wednesday 13th March – 20:30)

In an interview with FG, Matheus Assumpcao spoke about how he wished to test himself against Europa and two days later, Magpies’ star-man got his wish. After going unbeaten in the Second Division and winning the Second Division Cup, Europa will be their biggest task this season. We’d be expecting a professional display from the holders as they can’t afford to switch off against Assumpcao, Wyatt and Cuesta.

Prediction: Europa win.

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Assumpcao: “We have to be ready to play anyone”

Brazilian-born attacker Matheus Assumpcao chats about his sides Gibtelecom Rock Cup victory, life at Magpies and much more.

Magpies progressed to the Gibtelecom Rock Cup quarter final last week by beating Boca 5-2. We asked Matheus how he felt the team played, ” It was a very important win on our first test against a Premier Division side this season. We were happy with the result, but, we were not pleased with the amount of chances we missed during the game. Overall it was a good performance from everyone, but, as a team we know that’s not our full potential. We are looking to work hard in the next few weeks to keep improving our game and reach the intensity that Davie wants us to play.”

Magpies and Olympique will be representing the Second Division in the Gibtelecom Rock Cup, we asked if there’s any team he would like to play against – “Honestly, as a team we can’t be choosing opponents at this stage of the competition. We will happily play against any of the teams that are left because if we want to go far in the Gibtelecom Rock Cup, we have to be ready to play anyone. Personally though, I believe that we can surprise anyone and knockout one of the big teams of the Premier and show everyone that we are ready to compete at the top. Maybe test ourselves against Europa FC at some point in the Cup, the First in the Second Division against one of the strongest teams in the Premier Division, why not?”

Assumpcao reflects on his time so far with Magpies, “It’s been really good. I’m thankful for Soccer Smart for connecting me with Magpies. I’m really enjoying myself and excited to see what my future holds in Gibraltar. We have a very good relationship between players, coaching staff, and our directors, what makes everything better. Our fans are also amazing, coming to basically every game and giving us an atmosphere that I don’t think many teams have here. Knowing you have people like that supporting you from the stands makes it easy to have energy to run 90 minutes for them!”

Magpies currently sit top of the Second Division, four points clear and a game in hand – we asked if he fancies his side to go all the win and win, “That’s the goal we set for the season, to win the league and the Second Division Cup. Davie is always pushing us to be better and never let us feel comfortable with the first place, so if we keep listening to him and doing things right, I believe we can go and win the league. Confidence comes from the positive results we are having so far, it’s natural, but if at any moment we think we are already Champions then teams like Manchester 62 and Olympique could come and take it away from us. 

Photo: Neil Wilson

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Gibtelecom Rock Cup: Team of the Week

Gibtelecom Rock Cup Second Round results

  • St Joseph’s 12-0 FC Hound Dogs
  • Mons Calpe 14-0 College 1975
  • Lincoln 1-2 Europa
  • Manchester 62 0-12 Gibraltar United
  • Lynx 1-3 Gibraltar Phoenix
  • Glacis 1 (3) – (4) 1 Lions Gibraltar
  • Europa Point 0-2 FC Olympique
  • FC Boca Juniors 2-5 Brunos Magpies

GOALKEEPER: Francisco Jose Perez Pichardo (Lions)

DEFENDER: Olmo Gonzalez (Europa)

DEFENDER: Ezequiel Rojas (Gib Phoenix)

DEFENDER: Yassin El Melki (Glacis)

MIDFIELDER: Israel Castillo (Boca)

MIDFIELDER: Jaydan Parody (Olympique)

MIDFIELDER: Guido Ratto (Gibraltar United)

MIDFIELDER: Matheus Assumpcao (Magpies)

STRIKER: Jose Luis Reyes (St Joseph’s)

STRIKER: Leo Carboni (Mons Calpe)

STRIKER: Fernando Cuesta (Magpies)

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Gibtelecom Rock Cup Second Round: Predictions

The Gibtelecom Rock Cup second round kicks off tomorrow evening and here are our predictions.

St Joseph’s vs FC Hound Dogs (Wednesday 6th February – 8:30pm)

Saints come into the game on the back of a 8-0 thrashing of Glacis and would be expected to continue that goalscoring form against the side which sit bottom of the Second Division. Raul Procopio’s squad isn’t the biggest so we could see him putting out a strong squad.

Prediction: St Joseph’s win.

Mons Calpe vs College 1975 (Thursday 7th February – 6:15pm)

Just like the St Joseph’s game, this one will probably end up in a quite heavy scoreline. College got beat 5-1 by Manchester 62 in the Cup last weekend, while Mons Calpe will be looking for a confidence booster after their defeat to Gibraltar United. With a bigger squad, Blanco could use certain players from his Intermediate squad for some valuable minutes.

Prediction: Mons Calpe win.

Lincoln Red Imps vs Europa (Thursday 7th February – 8:30pm)

It was raining goals for Lincoln last weekend as they shipped eleven past Boca – Giovanni Rodriguez and Hector Figueroa have impressed since joining in January while ex-Europa forward Kike got himself a hat-trick on his debut. The holders will be hoping to try and get one over their rivals after losing 3-2 earlier on in the season but could see defeat as a blessing with more focus being put into winning the league.

Prediction: Lincoln win.

Manchester 62 vs Gibraltar United (Friday 8th February – 8:30pm)

It has been a difficult few months for Gibraltar United but last week’s win over Mons Calpe could be the turning point needed and they’d hope to continue it against Manchester. The Red Devils invested well in January and it showed in their Cup win against College with ex-Gib Utd striker Robert Montovio getting on the scoresheet but their number one keeper Christian Lopez saw red which will give them a problem going into the game.

Prediction: Gibraltar United win.

Lynx vs Gibraltar Phoenix (Saturday 9th February – 4pm)

This one could be a very interesting tie; two sides doing well at the moment with Phoenix slightly edging it with more goals scored. Lynx have proved to be a tough test to Lincoln and Europa in the last couple of weeks so their opponents should not take them lightly.

Prediction: Phoenix win on penalties.

Glacis United vs Lions (Saturday 9th February – 6:15pm)

Lions will be looking to exact revenge after their 3-1 loss in January, it was quite an even game until conceding an own goal just before half-time which ultimately changed the game. Glacis will be hoping to welcome Alan Parker and Nacho Fernandez back into the squad while Mariano Pereira and Courtney Lewis miss out through suspension.

Prediction: Lions win on penalties.

Europa Point vs FC Olympique (Saturday 9th February – 8:30pm)

Another interesting encounter -, both teams in good form and in with a good chance of progressing. Europa Point will be happy to welcome back their main man Cristian Nunez Chaves from suspension while their opponents come into the game off the back of a whopping 12-3 win over Leo in the 2nd Division Cup.

Prediction: Olympique win on penalties.

FC Boca Juniors vs Brunos Magpies (Sunday 10th February – 4pm)

Magpies did take a heavy hit to their squad in January but with a front three of Assumpcao, Wyatt & Cuesta – it doesn’t really matter what is behind you, they are that good. Yet to be properly tested in the Second Division, Dave Wilson’s men will be looking at the Rock Cup as a idea of where the club is going ahead of next season. It will be another difficult task for Boca and one which we don’t see them winning.

Prediction: Magpies win.