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Gibtelecom Rock Cup quarter-final review

The Gibtelecom Rock Cup quarter-finals brought no surprises as Mons Calpe, St Joseph’s, Europa and Lincoln Red Imps progress into the next round.


Mons Calpe 3-1 Europa Point

Mons rushed into an early two-goal lead against Europa Point, with Diego Diaz and Andre Dos Santos scoring in the first ten minutes before things settled down a bit more.

Europa Point was out of the traps early in the second half and got a goal back thanks to Diego Vera’s header, but their chances of a comeback were ended after Samuel Vermeeren’s own goal, and captain Antony Moulds late red card.

Mons is the only Challenge Group team left in the cup, and while they are now rank outsiders, they will look to make the cup final for the second time in three years.


St Joseph’s 1-0 Brunos Magpies

If last weekend’s encounter was anything to go by, we expected a fiery contest and certainly got it. With the level of football being played below par, both teams didn’t hide away from any strong challenges.

Juanfri scored from the penalty spot to send 10-man Saints, who had Angel Guirado sent off, into the semi-final since 2017 but it was the altercation after the final whistle which was the main focal point.

An altercation between Kelvin Morgan and Juanma Gonzalez spurred on a brawl between both teams which took quite some time to calm down – a situation which you’d believe the Gibraltar FA will investigate further.


Europa 2-0 Lions

The Rock Cup holders went safely through to the semi-finals thanks to goals from Fernando Velasco and Manuel Dimas. The Green found it tough to break the well-organised Lions defence, an improvement from their 7-0 defeat last weekend.

Europa will need to be much better for Saturday when they come up against St Joseph’s – a doubt for that match could be Olmo who came off early with a suspected groin injury.


Lincoln 6-0 Boca

As expected, Lincoln beat Boca, by a score of 6-0 on Sunday afternoon. Boca made them work for it, but Pibe’s brace and Jamie Coombes first-half goal meant at the break the game was all but done.

Boca gave Lincoln a slight scare in winning a penalty, but they missed from 12 yards, and that led to Lincoln making sure there was to be no hint of a comeback – Oli, Gato, and Blas Alvarez all scored in the second half to put an end to a spirited Boca side, who before the game may have been fearing a bigger scoreline.

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Possible turning point for Magpies?

Magpies win over Lynx last weekend in the Gibtelecom Rock Cup was slender but showed glimpses of promise – could this be the turning point they need to push on and impress for the remainder of the season?

Jaron Vinet finished off an excellent through ball by Brian Perez in the second half to win 1-0 and secure a spot in the quarter-final. It would be hard to say that their win wasn’t deserved and at times, showed a performance to match the result.

After a hit-and-miss season which saw them win their opening three games of the Gibraltar National League, they then went on and lose eight of their next twelve games.

Within the space of four months, Magpies have seen two managers leave, as well as a whole bunch of players leave who realistically didn’t fit the bill of a team in the top six.

Magpies moved away from bringing in a whole host of foreign talent and went for the option of signing Gibraltarian players – a clever move when you remember that the HGP ruling rises to five next season.

There is exciting talent in this squad – Brian Perez showed last weekend that he still has that killer pass, youngster Jaron Vinet continues to improve and other players such as Tyson Ruiz and Shea Breakspear (amongst others) can only help the team get stronger for next season.

One player who has stood out this season has been Dan Bent – the English defender has played 12 out of Magpies’ 15 games this season and has played solidly when called upon – we look forward to seeing how this Magpies team takes shape in the coming months.

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Gibtelecom Rock Cup First Round Review

Brunos Magpies edged out Lynx in a fiery encounter while FG correctly predicted Europa Point, Europa, Lincoln Red Imps and Mons Calpe all qualifying for the quarter-final.


FC Hound Dogs 0-10 Europa Point

Maybe not the scoreline which many expected but Europa Point cruised through to the next round. Lukas Lindholm & Dean Dillion both got hat-tricks, Joshua Moody with a brace and a goal each from Cian Collins and Omar El Yettefti sealed the win for Ian Hendon’s side.

Europa Point will hope that the bizarre straight red card shown to Omar El Yettefti is received with the minimal suspension.


Europa FC 12-0 Glacis United

The holders made light work of their opponents with an easy win to progress into the quarter-finals. Team selection by Europa raised a few questions on whether such a strong team was needed, but the big guns came out all guns blazing with Labra scoring four goals.


Lincoln Red Imps 15-0 College 1975

Just like Europa – team selection was at full strength and against the opposition which they thrashed 9-1 in mid-September. With their Intermediate team undefeated, this could have been a chance to show off some of their excellent talents.

Emmanuel Sunday was on red hot form with the Nigerian scoring seven goals.


Manchester 62 1-2 Mons Calpe

Mons Calpe came from behind to secure a spot in the quarter-final thanks to a brace from Argentine striker Diego Diaz. Man62 captain Scott Ballantine put his side ahead but after Diaz’s first goal was adjudged to have crossed the line, he made no mistake when firing a shot past Tomizawa in the second half.

A disappointing result for Man62 who gave it a good fight but with Kian Ronan playing striker for the injured Robert Montovio – it never felt as they would get back into the game after the equaliser.


Lynx FC 0-1 Brunos Magpies

The main game of the round didn’t disappoint as Magpies got revenge for their league defeat to Lynx in January and eliminated them from the Gibtelecom Rock Cup.

An excellent through ball from Brian Perez found the feet of Jaron Vinet and his second-half goal secured a 1-0 win.

After some pushing and shoving at the end of the first half, you knew frustrations would boil over eventually and with 10 minutes remaining, it certainly did. An altercation between Mohamed Badr & Dan Bent ensued with a flurry of yellow cards being shown by the referee. Once everything calmed down, Lynx head coach Albert Parody was sent off which was quickly followed by the Magpies captain Brian Perez.


Europa Point, Europa, Lincoln, Mons Calpe, Magpies will join Boca, Lions & St Joseph’s in the pot for the Gibtelecom Rock Cup quarter-final draw.

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Gibtelecom Rock Cup First Round Preview

The 2020 Gibtelecom Rock Cup gets underway tomorrow, with Hound Dogs v Europa Point the first of five matches taking place over the next few days – read on for our predictions of all five games.

Photo © Rough and Ready

Hound Dogs v Europa Point:

Europa Point have been resurgent under the managerial guidance of Ian Hendon and come into this one on the back of five games unbeaten – they should in truth have too much for a Hound Dogs side who get their first taste of non-Intermediate League football this year.

Prediction: Hound Dogs 1-5 Europa Point

Europa v Glacis:

It will be interesting to see how Europa approach the cup this year – you’d imagine with the league in their hands they would want to also secure the cup and take the domestic treble, having already won the Pepe Reyes Cup. Their league meeting was a 6-2 victory which in truth flattered Europa, who scored three times in the last 10 minutes vs a tiring Glacis side, but we think, much like vs Lions earlier this year, Europa will show they have learned their lessons of taking teams too lightly.

Prediction: Europa 4-0 Glacis

Lincoln Red Imps v College 1975:

Realistically Lincoln’s final chance of silverware this season, Lincoln may take out their anger of losing back-to-back games on a College side who have yet to pick up a result this season. The league meeting between the two ended 9-1, and we could see a similar scoreline in what may be a lopsided Saturday of football.

Prediction: Lincoln 8-0 College 1975

Manchester 62 v Mons Calpe:

One of the two games which on paper are harder to call, as two Challenge Group teams face off for the second time in a month. In the last meeting, Manchester had more of the ball but were wasteful and lost 3-0 – this time out we see it being a bit tighter with Manchester surely learning some lessons – however we think Mons will have just too much for them.

Prediction: Manchester 62 1-2 Mons Calpe

Lynx v Bruno’s Magpies:

The tie of the round on paper, Lynx take on Magpies having beaten them 3-1 just a couple of weeks ago. Lynx punished Magpies errors in that game, but this one should be a lot tighter with both teams eyeing the cup as their only realistic chance of Europa League qualification this season – this is a game which could easily go to penalties, where we’ve plumped for Lynx to come out on top, just.

Prediction: Lynx 2-2 Bruno’s Magpies (Lynx win on penalties)

St Joseph’s, Lions and Boca all got a bye to the Quarter Finals, but who will join them?

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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.