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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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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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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.

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Rock Cup final player ratings: Kike wins it for Europa

Europa beat Mons Calpe 2-1 to win the Gibtelecom Rock Cup for a second consecutive time this evening after a Kike brace. 

We were watching the game and rated each players’ performance at the Victoria Stadium. 


Europa

Javi Munoz – 7

Confident on the ball but largely untroubled. 

Ibrahim Ayew – 9

Good industry and overlapping, a very solid all-round game.

Alberto Merino – 8

Kept Pibe relatively quiet in the first half but his pace was too much for the equaliser. 

Martin Belfortti – 7 

Dealt with Rubo well but was caught out for the equaliser. 

Antonio Garcia – 7

Caught out of position for the equaliser – most of Mons attacks came through his side.  

Guillermo Roldan – 8

A constant threat on the wing but his crossing was below par. 

Mustapha Yahaya – 9

Mopped up anything in front of the back four in his role as a defensive midfielder.

Ivan Moya – 8

A few eyebrows raised at his yellow card but was too strong for the opposition midfield. 

Alex Quillo – 7

Didn’t get involved in the game as much as he would have liked and should have scored. 

Mikey Yome – 7

Started well but found it difficult to match the pace of Andre Dos Santos. 

Kike – 9

Showed glimpses of last season’s form, scoring two goals – an all-round great performance.


Mons Calpe 

Mateo Grasso – 6

Didn’t have much to do for large parts of the game but you shouldn’t concede at your near-post. 

Andre Dos Santos – 5

Dealt with Yome & Toni well but his sending off was out of pure frustration.

Federico Villar – 4

Looked lost after failing to stop Kike from scoring the opening goal.

Francisco Zuniga – 7

Great performance and kept Kike quiet for large parts of the game. 

Renan Bernardes – 6

Had a hard time keeping up with Ayew, especially after the first red card. 

Jonathan Di Toro – 5

Struggled with the power of Yahaya & Moya – chasing shadows for the majority of the game. 

Graeme Torrilla – 7

For his first taste of a Cup final at a young age, he can be proud of his performance. 

Manuel Onega – 3

Got given the runaround from Ayew and let his team down when he got sent off at 1-1. 

Facundo Cascio – 6

Looked threatening from set pieces but couldn’t match the physicality of Europa. 

Pibe – 7

His goal gave him & his team-mates a huge rise in confidence but his team never recovered when he went off injured.

Rubo Blanco – 7

Was very quiet in the first half but assisted the equaliser and then tried his best as the lone striker but to no avail.


Photo by C Correa Photography.