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Kvilitaia breaks Gibraltar hearts

A late goal from Giorgi Kvilitaia breaks Gibraltar’s hearts as Georgia win 3-2 after second half goals from Lee Casciaro and Roy Chipolina saw Gib come from behind to draw 2-2.

Gibraltar head coach Julio Ribas made one change from the side which narrowly lost 1-0 away to Kosovo last week with Liam Walker replacing the injured Anthony Hernandez.

Mohamed Badr & Aymen Mouelhi joined Walker in the central of midfield with Lee Casciaro on the right wing, 18-year old Ethan Britto on the left and 19-year old Tjay De Barr the lone striker.

Gibraltar had the first opportunity of the match as Liam Walker volleyed the ball over from outside the box and the visitors replied shortly after with the opening goal in the 10th minute as Giorgi Kharaishvili got inbehind the defence and slotted the ball past Goldwin.

Georgia nearly doubled their lead two minutes later but Valeri Qazaishvili headed wide from inside the box. Twenty minutes in and Georgia made 2-0 as a long range strike from captain Jaba Kankava flew into the top corner which left Goldwin helpless.

The home crowds made Julio Ribas aware of their frustration for the rest of the first half with calls for more attacking football, striker Tjay De Barr found himself in a defensive position more often than not as himself and Joseph Chipolina tried to spur the team into more positive play.

Liam Walker went close to pulling a goal back in the 54 minute as he struck a low shot towards goal which Giorgi Loria excellently pushed past the post. There was a break in play shortly after as a hard challenge from Jack Sergeant on Georgia’s first goalscorer Kharaishvili left the winger unconscious and receiving medical treatment.

Gibraltar had an excellent opportunity to pull a goal back as he found himself through on goal, rounded Loria and hit the side-netting from a tight angle. Gib finally got that goal which they deserved in the second half as Lee Casciaro fired in from an Ethan Britto cross to make it 2-1 to Georgia.

Liam Walker was once again Gibraltar’s main threat going forward as he struck a long range effort which looked destined for the top corner but Loria pulled off a stunning save to keep it out. The resulting corner was delivered into the box and bundled over the line by captain Roy Chipolina to make it 2-2 with fifteen minutes to go.

80 minutes in and Julio Ribas made a double change as Andrew Hernandez & Erin Barnett replaced Mohamed Badr & Joseph Chipolina. Georgia regained the lead in the 83rd minute through Giorgi Kvilitaia.

Gibraltar appealed for a penalty in the 86th minute as Liam Walker went down in the box as he tried to waltz his way through Georgian defenders but the referee said no.

Julio Ribas made his final change in the 88th minute as Alain Pons replaced Liam Walker as they search for another equaliser. Even with the 6 minutes added time, Gibraltar could not find a third goal and Georgia won the game 3-2.

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Switzerland beat Gibraltar in Sion

A very tired-looking performance from Gibraltar saw them comfortably beaten by Switzerland in Sion.

Switzerland quickly took control of the game with Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka dictating the play with his good flow of possible in the middle. It only took the hosts six minutes to create their first chance which Edimilson Fernandes missed from close range.

The quickness in movement of the Swiss players continued to create the Gibraltar defence problems, Fernandes found himself free at the back post and saw his shot well saved by Dayle Coleing.

25 minutes into the first half and Gibraltar was forced into making their first substitution as Kyle ‘Chino’ Goldwin replaced Dayle Coleing, who walked off holding his hamstring.

Switzerland opened the scoring in the 37 minute, Denis Zakaria got his head to a corner and guided the ball into the net – a deserved lead for the hosts. Six minutes later and the hosts doubled their lead as Admir Mehmedi got on the end of a cross and headed the ball past Goldwin.

Seconds from the break and Switzerland made it 3-0 as a poor clearance from the Gibraltar defence fell to Ricardo Rodriguez whose low driven shot flew into the bottom corner from range. The referee’s whistle blew and the hosts led 3-0 at half-time.

The second half got underway with the hosts continuing to control the game and nearly made it 4-0, five minutes into the second half, but Goldwin made a great low save.

Just before the hour mark, Julio Ribas made his second change as Jamie Coombes replaced Andrew Hernandez with his brother, Anthony, moving into centre midfield.

On the 67th minute mark, Gibraltar made their final change as Ethan Britto was replaced by Alain Pons. Shortly after, Joseph Chipolina received a yellow card for a foul on Swiss captain Granit Xhaka.

Goldwin made a good save in the 82nd minute from Vargas’ volley to keep the score at 3-0. A few minutes later, Mehmedi nearly got his brace but his excellent volley went inches wide of Goldwin’s post.

Gibraltar recorded just their second attempt on goal in the 86th minute as Liam Walker’s shot from range went wide. Sommer in the Switzerland goal the game restarted and the hosts made it 4-0 through Mario Gavranovic, slotting in the rebound after the initial shot was saved by Goldwin.

The referee blew for the final whistle with Switzerland running out comfortable 4-0 winners.

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Switzerland vs Gibraltar: Preview

Gibraltar take on Switzerland at the Stade de Tourbillon in Sion at 18:00.

The hosts will be looking to get back on track after suffering a late equaliser against Ireland on Thursday night. Petkovic’s side now sit third, but with a game in hand over Denmark and two over Ireland – both sit higher than them in the table.

Benfica striker Haris Seferovic will miss the game as he has flown back for family reasons so all eyes will be on Breel Embolo to be the main attacking threat today while Mario Gavranovic is expected to replace Seferovic, according to Swiss media.

Switzerland predicted lineup: Sommer; Elvidi, Schar, Comert; Widmer, Zakaria, Xhaka, Rodriguez; Embolo, Gavranovic, Steffen

Julio will be hoping for the same type of performance, especially the first 50-60 minutes as Dayle Coleing told us in yesterday’s press conference but better refereeing will surely be Gib’s main hope.

Questionable refereeing made Gibraltar’s life even harder than it was already going to be when coming up against a top nation such as Denmark. Ribas never said no to making changes for today’s game but would probably be expected to name the same team which were defeated by the Danes.

Gibraltar predicted lineup: Coleing; Sergeant, R.Chipolina, J.Chipolina, Olivero; Annesley; Hernandez, Walker, Hernandez, Britto; De Barr

Betting:

The Swiss are undoubtedly huge favourites this evening, and the match betting isn’t even worth talking about – so we start off by looking at the correct score betting. The bookies reckon the most likely score tonight will be a 5-0 victory for the home side, at 13/2, with 6-0 close by at 6/1. Logically, the line is then set at 5 in terms of the handicap betting this evening, while, with Seferovic unavailable, Gavranovic is 100/30 to score first. An alternative option would be to back AC Milan full-back Ricardo Rodriguez to score in 90 minutes at 7/5 – he will most likely be on free kick and penalty duty.

For Gib, the goalscorer markets have thrown up some real eye-openers – with bookmaker Paddy Power having Tjay De Barr as the most likely Gib attacker to score, but at 275/1. Meanwhile, Joseph Chipolina is as short as 6/1 to score this evening – meaning that if Gib get a goal and it is someone other than Joseph, you could cash in a big winning.

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Portugal U21 vs Gibraltar U21: Preview

Gibraltar U21 will face their biggest test so far in Group 7 as they take on Portugal U21’s at 21:45 in the Complexo Desportivo FC Alverca stadium.

David Ochello will be forced to make a minimum two changes from his side which lost 10-0 to Belarus, back in early June. Michael Negrette wrote on social media that he would miss the game due to work commitments, while his team-mate for both club and country, Shaun De Los Santos was not selected in Ochello’s 19-man squad.

Julian Del Rio’s good form in both the domestic league and Intermediate has earned himself a call-up alongside Evan De Haro who recently signed for Algeciras Juvenil – two players with big futures ahead of them.

The young Portuguese side boasts some of the best young players in the world, playing football with the best teams. One player which the Gibraltar defense will have to keep an eye on is 20-year striker Rafael Leao who signed in the summer for AC Milan for a staggering €30 million.

Betting:

Unsurprisingly, Portugal are massive favourites, with the best price being 1/100, and some firms even offering 1/1500. Gibraltar are as big as 500/1 to cause one of the biggest upsets in football history, while even a draw, a similarly big upset, is 40/1.

The handicap for this match is set at 6 – unsurprising given Gib’s 10-0 defeat last time out, and in truth, there is little value outside of the handicap when betting on games like these.

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Ribas announces squad for September European Qualifiers

Gibraltar senior head coach, Julio Ribas has announced his squad for September’s European Qualifiers against Denmark at home on the 5th & Switzerland away on the 8th.

Ribas had originally announced a 30-man squad but removing the seven players which have travelled with the U21’s for their qualifier against Portugal – below is the 23-man squad:

  • Dayle Coleing (Europa)
  • Matt Cafer (Bruno Magpies)
  • Kyle Goldwin (Lincoln Red Imps)
  • Louie Annesley (Blackburn Rovers)
  • Erin Barnett (Boca Juniors)
  • Ethan Britto (Lincoln Red Imps)
  • Jared Buhagiar (Bruno Magpies)
  • Joseph Chipolina (Lincoln Red Imps)
  • Roy Chipolina (Lincoln Red Imps)
  • Ethan Jolley (Europa)
  • Jean Carlos Garcia (Bruno Magpies)
  • Aymen Mouelhi (St Joseph’s)
  • Jayce Olivero (Europa)
  • Brad Power (Lynx)
  • Jason Pusey (Europa)
  • Jack Sergeant (Europa)
  • Andrew Hernandez (St Joseph’s)
  • Anthony Hernandez (Lincoln Red Imps)
  • Alain Pons (St Joseph’s)
  • Liam Walker (Europa)
  • Jamie Coombes (Lincoln Red Imps)
  • Tjay De Barr (Real Oviedo B)
  • Reece Styche (Hereford)

The seven players named on the standby list are Ethan Santos, Jamie Serra, Ethan Thorne-Llambias, Jaydan Parody, James Parkinson, Ayoub El Hmidi and Dylan Peacock.

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Ochello names U21 squad for Portugal qualifier

Gibraltar’s U21 Head Coach, David Ochello, has announced his squad ahead of this Thursday’s European Qualifier against Portugal.

The Gibraltar U21 squad also features seven players who have been named in Julio Ribas’ National Team for the September European 2020 Qualifiers doubleheader, meaning the seven players selected will be on standby should the Senior National Team require them.

Squad:

  • Bradley Banda (Lynx)
  • Jaylan Hankins (Las Palmas C)
  • Christian Lopez (Manchester 62)
  • Jack Breed (AFC Portchester)
  • Leon Clinton (St Joseph’s)
  • Max Cottrell (Mons Calpe)
  • Liam Crisp (Manchester 62)
  • Evan De Haro (Algeciras Juvenil)
  • Julian Del Rio (Lincoln Red Imps)
  • Ayoub El Hmidi (Mons Calpe)
  • Phillip Gillingwater-Pederson (Europa)
  • James Parkinson (Lions)
  • Jaydan Parody (Lynx)
  • Dylan Peacock (Algeciras Juvenil)
  • Kian Ronan (Manchester 62)
  • Kevagn Ronco (Mons Calpe)
  • Ethan Santos (Mons Calpe)
  • Jamie Serra (St Joseph’s)
  • Ethan Thorne-Llambias (Lincoln Red Imps)
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Is now the time for Dayle Coleing?

With the internationals just around the corner and Julio Ribas’ squad announced today, we take a look at Europa FC goalkeeper Dayle Coleing and if now is the correct time to cement his position as Gibraltar’s number one.

Dayle made 11 appearances last season in all competitions, conceding 5 goals in 990 minutes and keeping 6 clean-sheets. Taking into account the newly implemented 4 HGP rule in the Gibraltar National League, Europa awarded the 22-year old the number one shirt and has now become a regular figure.

If Dayle was to be given Gibraltar’s number one jersey, you expect Julio’s decision to be made a little easy with not only Dayle’s current form but Chino’s unexpected move to current champions of the domestic league Lincoln Red Imps.

Chino will definitely go down as one of the greats in Gibraltar football, making his debut in a friendly win over Latvia followed by playing a huge role in Gibraltar’s historic back-to-back wins in the UEFA Nations League against Armenia and Liechtenstein.

His move to Lincoln caught many by surprise, going from being number one at Gibraltar United to competing against Lolo Soler, arguably the best goalkeeper in Gibraltar, at Imps will be difficult but one which Chino will surely fight til the end for.

If Dayle does start against Denmark, the pressure on Matt Cafer will be extremely big. Starting against Macedonia in the away fixture in the Nations League would have been a taster of what’s to come for the 24-year old but inconsistent performances for Gib Phoenix and rumoured off-field issues has seen the Bruno Magpies keeper to possibly drop down to third choice for the Gibraltar National team.

After joining Magpies this summer, Cafer really needs to step up to the plate and not only help his side compete at the top but show Julio Ribas that he is worth keeping in the squad.

With Jamie Robba become a regular figure and keeping 9 clean-sheets last season, more than any other Gibraltarian goalkeeper, there’s only so much Julio can do before he looks at other possibilities. The current Gibraltar U21 goalkeeper Bradley Banda can’t be far off from knocking on Julio’s door and will definitely need a good U21 campaign and season with Lynx if he is to be considered.

Last but not least, Jaylan Hankins is someone who is highly regarded as a future Gibraltar international goalkeeper and if he can step up at his new club Las Palmas – he will be another option for Julio in the future.

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Long travels, tough results but a positive finish

Three games, three defeats, fifteen goals conceded – we review the past four days of international football.

After a long trip to Tbilisi, Gibraltar got their second game of the group underway in the beautiful Boris Paichadze Dinamo Arena. Head coach Julio Ribas named the same team which lost to Ireland 1-0 at home in March.

A poor performance saw Gib lose 3-0, one which the players would later take into account and make right in Dublin on Monday night. It was always going to be a big ask, especially when you take into account that game time is few and far between in their domestic clubs for a lot of the players.

Goldwin found himself in the wrong end of Twitter discussions by people after what he would see as a below-par performance (highlighting also how easy it is to forget the good performances when a player has one bad one, and how thankless a task it is to be a keeper in general). Chino would come out on twitter and say, “Not my best day at the office! Onto ireland. Thank you to the traveling fans and everyone at home supporting the team.”

Credit where credit is due – it’s easy to post pictures when things are going your way but when they don’t? While others cower away, Chino stood up and took responsibility, showing that the leadership he shows on the pitch also transfers off it.

Attention swiftly moved towards the Under 21’s who would be travelling to Belarus, looking to build on their impressive display against Cyprus in June. David Ochello made three changes to the side that lost 1-0 in June with Jamie Serra, Liam Crisp & Kevagn Ronco replaced Leon Clinton, Patrick McElwee and James Parkinson.

To the shock of many, Belarus would come out 10-0 winners. A tough result to take for many of the squad, who, like the senior side, found themselves on the wrong side of some harsh criticism. The U21 goalkeeper Bradley Banda, like his national team compatriot Chino, would come out on Twitter and post “Fail, fail again, fail better! Real learning curve today vs one of the best high pressing teams i’ve ever played against. Only up from here, we’ll be ready for Portugal in September.”

It is a tough ask being the U21 manager, probably more than other roles within the Gibraltar national coaching team. While others are able to take their strongest squad, give or take when there’s exams on at school, David Ochello’s pool is very limited.

Tjay De Barr is a regular figure in the senior national team, Louie Annesley has found himself more involved over the last few weeks while players such as Andrew Hernandez and Ethan Britto find themselves on most occasions on the bench – surely they should be on the plane with the U21’s? Especially considering the next game is against Portugal, while two games vs Netherlands still await.

With a good bulk of the squad made up of players in Universities, and a uni football system which in truth is not good enough for players looking to play at the level Gib U21s have to play at, “keeping track” of players and their game time is always an uphill task. Results won’t get any better if Ochello isn’t able to pick his strongest team.

Lastly, a trip to the Aviva Stadium in Dublin would be calling for Julio and his squad. After announcing his retirement prior to matchday, Anthony Bardon would find himself on the bench with Anthony Hernandez while Alain Pons and Andrew Hernandez would be their replacements.

Bardon would be granted his farewell appearance, earlier than many would have expected as he replaced an injured Lee Casciaro in the 9th minute, but one which he rightfully deserved.

Gibraltar frustrated the hosts for large parts of the game and only lead at half-time through an unfortunate own goal by Joseph Chipolina. Julio would opt out of bringing in two strikers and instead Ethan Britto would replace Alain Pons in 64th minute then Ethan Jolley for Andrew Hernandez, the latter being an understandable change given the distance covered.

Robbie Brady would double Ireland’s lead in injury time against a very tired Gibraltar team who had gave their all in 90 minutes. Apart from the performance, positive improvements are being made when you look at previous meetings with Ireland which ended 4-0 & 7-0.

Conclusion: More help needs to be given to the Under 21 squad so results such as 10-0 against Belarus doesn’t happen again, and also lessons from the game are learned by the players and staff.

Regarding the national team, Julio has probably already watched the games against Georgia, Ireland and already looking to improve for future games – given the type of manager he is. Finding a replacement for Anthony Bardon will hopefully spark some competitiveness within the squad and hopefully Julio is looking for tweaking in other positions also. Next up is Denmark at the Victoria Stadium, thankfully – not being thankful for the opposition, but I guess you could say that the local TV commentary could do with major tweaking also.

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Estonia win on a miserable night in Gibraltar

A second half free-kick from Konstantin Vassiljev secured Estonia a deserved 1-0 win over Gibraltar in a cold and miserable night in the Victoria Stadium.

Gibraltar looked to use the very windy conditions to their advantage early on, the Estonian defence misjudged the flight of the ball which led to Tjay De Barr see more of the ball.

The Gib fans made themselves known to the referee early on as Tjay De Barr latched onto a poor back-pass from Gert Kams, beat the goalkeeper to the ball and was wiped out in the process – would have probably been a red card in a competitive game but the referee showed a yellow.

Liam Walker took the resulting free-kick and hit the crossbar. A few minutes later, Estonia had a free-kick of their own which Brent Lepistu got on the end of and directed a shot towards goal which Chino saved.

Just before the 20th minute, Gibraltar had a good chance to take the lead as Liam Walker played Tjay De Barr on goal but the 19-year old’s shot was saved by Aksalu.

A good spell from Estonia saw Rauno Oliver Roosnupp’s shot hit the crossbar after the midfielder found himself with some space at the back post. Three minutes later, Sergei Zenjov cut inside from the right flank and curled a shot which looked to have had Chino beat but the crossbar came to the rescue.

The visitors were forced into a change just before the break as Nikita Baranov replaced the injured Gert Kams – little action after that and the referee blew for half-time with the score goalless.

Louie Annesley replaced Alain Pons at half-time as Gibraltar got the second half underway and three minutes later were forced to make another as Aymen Mouelhi replaced the injured Joseph Chipolina.

The Europa pair worked well again as Liam Walker played a through ball to Tjay De Barr whose low driven cross was nearly hit into his own net by Nikita Baranov.

Estonia broke the deadlock on the 53rd minute as captain Konstantin Vassiljev scored direct from a free-kick. Just after the hour mark Julio made two more change with Reece Styche & Adam Priestly replacing Lee Casciaro and Anthony Hernandez.

Gibraltar’s fifth change saw Jamie Coombes replace Anthony Bardon as the formation moved to a 4-2-4 with 20 minutes remaining and trailing 1-0. Reece Styche had the ball in the back of the net in the 82nd minute but the goal was disallowed for offside, much to the frustration of the Gibraltar fans.

Ethan Jolley made his senior debut near the end as the visitors saw the game out and walk away with a deserved 1-0 win.