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Saints draw in Kosovo while Lincoln & Europa lose

A goal from Juanfri secured a 1-1 draw for St Joseph’s away in Kosovo while Lincoln & Europa suffered defeats but the use of 3 Gibraltarians across 33 players left a sour taste in Gibraltar.

Two minutes into their opening UEFA Champions League preliminary and the hosts Feronikeli made it 1-0 through Mendurim Hoti. The rest of the game was quite even, very few chances were created and the Kosovan Champions held on to progress – they will play TNS in 1QR after beating Santa Coloma on Friday.

The Imps started with Roy Chipolina & Joseph Chipolina with Anthony Hernandez coming on in the 74th minute. Lee Casciaro missed out after recovering from injury while new signing Ethan Britto didn’t make the squad.

Talk before the game had this game as a Europa win all over it and it should have been but a poor defensively display could cost them dearly. Adrian Gallardo fired Europa into a 1-0 lead in the 4th minute but the hosts would equalise on the stroke of half-time.

One minute into the second half and Europa made it 2-1, Juampe’s cross found Fernando Velasco and his effort was turned into his own net by Senah Mango.

On the 64th minute, the hosts equalised against through Joel Mendez getting his second of the evening. Europa couldn’t make use of the extra-man advantage and Pedro Munoz would make it 3-2 to Sant Julia in the 93rd minute.

Liam Walker was the only Gibraltarian starting for Europa last Thursday. Dayle Coleing & Tjay De Barr picked up apparent knocks while Ethan Jolley, Mikey Yome, Jason Pusey & Jayce Olivero were all named on the bench.

After beating Europa last season, next up for Prishtina would be St Joseph’s. The hosts pretty much dominated from start to finish, having a total of 17 goal attempts with 5 on target.

Francisco Mateo Vera started in goal for Saints and pulled off an incredible piece of goalkeeping to prevent Shillova scoring a tap-in after Kreshnik Uka’s shot hit the crossbar and bounced on the line. Shortly after Prishtina made it 1-0 as captain Armend Daliku scored from the penalty spot after Shillova was brought down by Ezequiel Rojas.

Doing what Lincoln & Europa were not able to do, St Joseph’s scored in Kosovo. Just three minutes after conceding, a cross by Cristian Pecci was met by the head of Juanfri and he guided the ball into the bottom left corner.

Saints were able to hold on and take a 1-1 draw into next Tuesday’s return leg. The impressive result would not be the talking point, with many people voicing their frustrations over the use of 0 Gibraltarian’s in their starting lineup – a repeat of last season’s second leg tie against B36 Torsavn.

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Bardon: “We must continue to provide a platform for the youngsters to get better”

Part One of our three part series with Anthony Bardon as we talk about his time at Manchester 62, Lincoln Red Imps and much more.

  • FG – How would you look at your time at Man62?
  • Bardon – Man62 was the first club that took me in as a player in Gibraltar and I have to always thank them as they made me feel so welcome and one of their own from the very start. It was a great time in which I learned about Gibraltar football in the short 6 months we had together.
  • FG – How did it feel signing for Lincoln Red Imps?
  • Bardon – Signing for Lincoln was something I couldn’t turn down. They showed great interest in me becoming a Lincoln player so I couldn’t say no and it was the best decision I ever made playing there for the best part of 4-5 years.
  • FG – You won many trophies at Lincoln but what is your greatest achievement?
  • Bardon – My greatest achievement was when we beat Celtic. Not only that we beat them but the whole 11 months was an incredible season and that was the icing on the cake.
  • FG – How has your time at Lincoln benefitted you as a player?
  • Bardon – Lincoln benefitted me greatly because it provided me with an opportunity to train with quality players every single day, and it turned me into a much better overall player in everything.
  • FG – Since the day you arrived to when you left, what your thoughts on football in Gibraltar?
  • Bardon – From the day I came to the day I left the football in Gibraltar was so much different. The league when I left to when I started was so much different and the quality was on another level. Football in Gibraltar now is in such an important moment and we must continue to provide a platform for the youngsters to get better.
  • FG – Who is the best player you’ve played with?
  • Bardon – The best player overall would be Lee Casciaro. We fought every game and constantly got into each other but it’s because we only wanted to win. He is an incredible athlete and player.
  • FG – Who is the toughest opponent you’ve come across in the league?
  • Bardon – Mustapha Yahaya. He was the most complete and most dominant midfielder I ever faced. He is a very good player.
  • FG – Who is the best manager you’ve worked with?
  • Bardon – Julio Ribas. He has been a football father figure to me. He is an inspiration and beyond smart.
  • FG – What local player/s do you think have the most potential to succeed as a professional?
  • Bardon – I think Tjay De Barr, Jayce Olivero and Louie Annesley are the players with the age and talent to make it. Two of them now are in pro clubs and have a real chance and Jayce can do the same. Another one is Ethan Britto.
  • FG – What is your view on the new rules being implemented by the Gibraltar FA in regard of HGP & 1 league?
  • Bardon – I don’t like the 1 league because I think it kills the competition in the lower half towards the end of the season. Many problems could arise with that I feel, but we all trust the GFA to make the right decision. HGP rule is tricky because we have to get more locals playing, but not lose the quality of play because we need our best players playing at the highest level possible every week. Again, we all have to put our faith and trust in the GFA.
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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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Chipolina: “The team is feeling confident”

We spoke to Lincoln captain Roy Chipolina about his sides league campaign, Tjay De Barr and more.

Lincoln go into Saturday’s game two points clear of their opponents Europa with two games remaining. Roy reflects on his sides campaign so far, “We have had our ups and downs this season. Starting in our European campaign, I felt we were unlucky not to progress in both our Champions league and Europa league ties but that’s football. Investment was made in strengthening our squad but the chopping and changing of managers hasn’t helped in settling and gelling what has been a new look Lincoln side. At Lincoln, standards and expectations are very high and though we have had some excellent results we have had some disappointing ones too. Since Victor took over just before Christmas I do feel the team has been progressing well and is looking the best it has been all season which is perfect timing as we will need to be at our very best if we are to come away with a victory on Saturday.”

We asked the Lincoln captain how his side are feeling going into Saturday’s title decider, “The team is feeling confident. I believe recently we have seen this on the field with some very good performances such as our recent wins versus St Joseph’s and Gibraltar United. We know Europa is a fantastic team and there are very fine margins between us, as recent results suggest. We are ready and are very much looking forward to Saturday’s battle with only one thing on our mind and that is to win and retain our title.”

One player Roy will have to keep an eye out on is in-form Tjay De Barr who he knows very well from club and country. We asked Roy what he has made of the newly appointed Europa captain’s season, “What can i say about Tjay that hasn’t been said already? Apart from being a great lad, he is a fantastic player with so much potential. He has had a great season and even at his tender age has been mature enough to carry the responsibility of being such an important and reliable player for Europa and the national team. Nothing seems to faze him. With his explosive power and pace he will be a real danger.”

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Premier Division Player and Manager of the Month – April 2019

As Lincoln managed to grow a two point lead over Europa in the title race, the current league leaders have won both the Football Gibraltar Player of the Month and Manager of the Month awards for April

Photo (C) Rough and Ready Media

Player of the Month – Sergio Molina Rivero (Lincoln Red Imps)

Lincoln, as mentioned above, are now two points clear in the title race with just three games to go, and key to their 100% record last month was Sergio Molina really stepping up for his side and adding yet another goalscoring threat to Lincoln’s potent attack force. The ex-Balona man scored twice, including a world class free kick vs Lynx, and has now made himself an integral part of the first eleven, having played the full 90 in five of his last six matches.

Closely behind him this month in second place was his teammate, Marcos Perez, who has arguably gone under the radar with his performances and his part in helping Lincoln towards a potential league title, while Europa’s Tjay De Barr, who was instrumental in wins vs Lions and St Joseph’s, but couldn’t repeat the feat against Gib United, is third in this months award – all three will no doubt be very important in the title race.

Manager of the Month – Victor Manuel Afonso Mateo (Lincoln Red Imps)

The only manager with a 100% record last month, Afonso has kept his Lincoln side both fresh and consistent, no mean feat considering we are in the business end of the season, and he should be credited for that. The win vs Lions may have been expected, but Lincoln still had to navigate what were potentially tricky matches vs Gib United and Lynx – something they managed successfully to put themselves in pole position ahead of next weekend’s potential title decider vs Europa.

Perhaps unlucky to finish second is Glacis manager Jesus Napolitano, who managed to steer his side to two wins and a creditable draw vs Phoenix in April – ending a run of six straight defeats from the start of February to the end of March. Napolitano has seemingly steadied the Glacis ship for now – Europa manager Rafael Escobar finishes third this month in this award.

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Ferro: “We set our minds out to win this game and we did”

After Lions Women’s win over Lincoln Women, we spoke to Kayleigh Ferro about her Rock Cup triumph, scoring four goals in the final and much more.

Lions beat Lincoln 6-0 to clinch this season’s Rock Cup, we asked Kayleigh how she felt the team played – “I think we all played well, we set our minds out to win this game and we did.”

Not only did Kayleigh win the Rock Cup with her team, she was also announced as the Player’s Player of the Season – we asked how it felt winning both accolades, “Its overwhelming to win the Rock Cup and Player’s Player. I think i’ve worked hard for the award and my team have worked hard for the Cup.”

A couple of weeks ago, Lincoln beat Lions on the final day of the season to win the Women’s Football League. Kayleigh reflected on how she felt the campaign went – “I feel that my team worked very hard and deserved to win the league but football is unfair. Well done to Lincoln though for winning it.”

At just 17 years old and plenty of years to improve – we asked what her goals for the future are, “My goals are to do well in future competitions with my team and the national squad. Also to win next years League & Cup and overall improve as a player.”

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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.