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Yahaya: “We are not satisfied as a team”

We caught up with Europa midfielder Mustapha Yahaya to get his reaction to yesterday’s defeat to Lincoln, the Gibtelecom Rock Cup and more.

Yahaya reflected on Europa’s 2-0 defeat to Lincoln yesterday, “Yesterday was much of a disappointment for us but not just for losing the league or the game to Lincoln but because we didn’t play to our standard. We came on the field for a win but things didn’t go as we planned and the day became one of those bad days in football.”

Defeat to Lincoln meant the Imps would clinch the Premier Division shield, Yahaya gave his view on how Europa’s season has gone – “Losing to Lincoln yesterday makes them champions but our season so far , personally, has not been a failure considering all the obstacles. Not many can face what we have been through and keep to the standard we have but it’s not to deny the fact that we wanted to win the league and we were up there for it until the very end. For sure we are not satisfied as a team and family because we always want more and demand more but we are proud. Our next focus is to have Rock up and get results in Europe.”

After their final game against Boca next week, all eyes turn to the Gibtelecom Rock Cup final against Gibraltar United – we asked about the importance of the Cup after missing out on the league, “Every title is important regardless of losing or winning the league. Europa FC is going to do everything to win the Rock Cup and make it a second title this season.”

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Lincoln and Europa battle for Premier Division title

Gibraltar football’s top two collide on Saturday night, with Lincoln hoping to retain the Premier Division shield – but rivals Europa stand in their way in what would most likely be a title decider.

Reigning champions Lincoln have a two point lead in the table heading into Saturday’s game and have scored eleven more goals than their opponents Europa.

Even though both teams will be desperate for a win, drawing could be a risk that Lincoln may not want to take. Depending on results elsewhere, Mons Calpe, who face Lincoln on the final day, could still be in with a chance of qualifying for the Europa League, while Europa take on FC Boca Juniors.

Since taking over in mid-December, Victor Afonso has recorded eight straight wins, since a draw against Europa on the 16th February, and will be hoping to continue the run this Saturday.

Joseph Chipolina is one player which Victor will be hoping is fully fit. Lincoln’s top goalscorer this season hasn’t featured since scoring in their 3-0 win over Gibraltar Phoenix on the 8th March, while Lolo Soler will be expected to return between the sticks with Jaylan Hankins moving to the bench despite a very successful couple of months.

Their opponents Europa have also been on an excellent run of form; you need to date back to the 25th of November 2018 for their last defeat and it was against none other than Lincoln.

After losing five of arguably their best players and their manager in the betting scandal, Europa have still managed to turn their season into a positive one with a title decider on Saturday and facing Gibraltar United in the Gibtelecom Rock Cup final.

They needed players to step up and it would be their locals players which would steer the ship to Christmas. The club would go on to sign five players in January and announce a new coach in Rafael Escobar in February.

Escobar waltzed into Gibraltar football with a debut win over Lincoln in the Rock Cup and since then has gone undefeated with ten wins and two draws. Javi Munoz will be expected to return as Europa’s number one with Coleing making his way to the bench, who just like Hankins, has had a very successful couple of months.

We, just like everyone else, hope that Saturday’s game can live up the hype and provide the fans with a great spectacle. Entrance to the match is free, and if you can’t make it to the Victoria Stadium, you can follow it live on our Twitter and Facebook accounts.

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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 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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Tjay De Barr on trial with Rio Ave FC

Europa & Gibraltar international Tjay De Barr has been the last three days on trial with Primeira Liga side Rio Ave F.C.

The 18-year old was invited by the Portuguese club at the beginning of the week and is expected to return to his club’s training session on Thursday with part of the deal being De Barr would play in their next game against Gibraltar United on the 26th January.

One more Portuguese team interested but nothing concentrate and two Segunda División clubs are monitoring the youngster.

It is understood that if any trials was successful, no deal would be completed until the end of this season.

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Europa set to beat Phoenix to signing their former striker Kike

According to Spanish media outlet EuropaSur, Europa look to have won the race to re-sign their former striker Enrique ‘Kike’ Gomez Bernal despite interest from Gibraltar Phoenix.

Balona cleared the way for Kike to rejoin on Wednesday but the deal has not been made public as of yet with both teams yet to agree on terms of his contract.

Kike has only made nine appearances this season, including only two starts, since joining the Albinegros and most recently, Balona’s head coach Jordi Roger said in a press conference “that he did not depend on him for ninety minutes.”

FG understands that Europa activated their buy-back clause which allowed them to fend off interest from Gibraltar Phoenix, a host of Spanish clubs and reportedly Lincoln Red Imps.

Photo – C Correa Photography