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Gibraltar National League 2019 preview

The newly reconstructed Gibraltar National League season is upon us, kicking off today when Lynx take on Mons Calpe at 20:30, so read below our preview, where we attempt to predict the outcome of the league.

Who will win the title? Lincoln Red Imps are looking to retain their crown again, but will face stiff competition from Europa once more, while St Joseph’s, Mons Calpe and newboys Brunos Magpies have all spent heavily to reinforce their squads and try to close the gap.

Who will finish in the top eight? The new inclusion of the “Championship Group” sees the league split and the top seven seperated and battle it out between themselves for the league. The winner particpates in the UEFA Champions League, while the two runners-up move to the UEFA Europa League (depending the outcome of the Gibtelecom Rock Cup).

Your easy choices would be Lincoln Red Imps, Europa, St Joseph’s and Mons Calpe. Gibraltar Phoenix & Gibraltar United’s withdrawal leaves more empty spots to join the aforementioned four teams. We would expect Brunos Magpies to take advantage of this, while joining them would be Lynx and Lions.

The Challenge Group? Manchester 62 should be favourites and will provide tough competition with Lynx & Lions in the Championship Group. Leo announced a host of good signings earlier on in the season and led by Dani Amaya, could be favourites to win the group. College 1975 have been very quiet throughout the summer and if the signing of ex-St Joseph’s & Lions striker Jose Luis Romero is anything to go by, they could be real underdogs to even sneak into the Championship Group.

Europa Point have had a strong finish to their preseason, their only problem would be finding enough HGP’s – they will be hoping they can pick up some from Phoenix & Gib Utd. Boca have been relatively quiet this summer, apart from the announcement of their new head coach Christian Ressa, it’s been a ‘hush hush’ transfer window so it’ll be interesting to see the team they put out on Tuesday night.

Glacis will be hoping their financial troubles behind them and try to reach the heights they did back in 2016, but with players still reportedly stating they are missing wages from the second half of last season looks like it’ll be another long season for them.

Last but not least FC Olympique, a team which looks to be struggling to get a full squad together. However, with their game against Gibraltar United expected to be cancelled, it could actually be a blessing in disguise to give the club more time to bring in much needed players and compete at this level.

Gibraltar National League prediction:

  1. Europa FC
  2. Lincoln Red Imps
  3. St Joseph’s
  4. Brunos Magpies
  5. Mons Calpe
  6. Lynx
  7. Lions
  8. Manchester 62
  9. College 1975
  10. Leo FC
  11. Europa Point
  12. Glacis United
  13. FC Boca Juniors
  14. FC Olympique
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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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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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Mons Calpe & Gib Phoenix remain locked at the top

Mons Calpe and Gibraltar Phoenix Viajes Lineasol both recorded wins last weekend to keep the battle at the top on goal difference while South United secured a top four place.

Mons Calpe 7-4 Newton Stores

Jaydan Parody scored four goals as Mons Calpe cruised to a comfortable win over Newton to remain top of the Futsal 1st Division table – Gibraltar internationals Dylan Glynn, Naoufal El Andaloussi & Zane Holgado all got on the scoresheet.

Lynx 1-4 Gibraltar Phoenix Viajes Lineasol

Mons Calpe were hoping last season’s league winners Lynx would do them a favour and try to get a result against Phoenix but goals from ex-Gibraltar internationals Jamie Pecino & a Joseph Chipol brace sealed an important win.

South United 1-1 Europa

South United announced on social that their draw against Europa mathematically confirmed them a top four finish. Justin Collado gave South the lead before Europa quickly equalised.

A big achievement for a side which was only created three years ago, now to build and go one better next season!

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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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Ronco: I feel that with every game I gain more confidence

We spoke to Mons Calpe & Gibraltar U21 international Kevagn Ronco about his return from long-term injury, life in Premier and much more.

After picking up a serious injury in 2015-16, Kevagn Ronco has drifted off the raider in Gibraltar with the odd appearance for Lincoln Red Imps in their reserve league. We asked how it feels to be back playing football, “After a whole year out due to my injury, it feels great to be back playing football. My goal being to recover fully and properly from my injury. I now feel rejuvenated and I’m determined to make my return to football a success. Leading a healthy lifestyle, keeping physically active and Football has always been crucial to me since a very young age , I must admit It was a difficult period for myself not being able to play football for a whole year. Nevertheless I tried to maintain a positive attitude as I knew I needed to be at my best mentally as well as physically. I continued overall conditioning, alternating forms of low intensity training such as swimming and light weight training. I’d set new goals within every session.”

Since joining Mons Calpe last summer; Kevagn has cemented his spot in the unfamiliar right-back position, the midfielder by trade, has started twelve games so far this season. Ronco reflected on life in Premier – “It took me a couple of matches to get the hang of the speed of the gameplay but I knew that within each full 90 minutes or so on the pitch I would gain progress, especially when I’d be on the starting 11 every game. Having represented Gibraltar abroad for the U19/U21, I could anticipate that a high level of responsibility and duty would be expected at Premier. ”

Kevagn’s performances have been very impressive and was re-called to the Gibraltar national team. We asked him about his goals for the season, “As a player my goal is to progress onto the Gibraltar Senior Team and be able to represent my country abroad at the highest level. Overall I hope to develop further as a player, I feel that with every game I gain more confidence. I give it my all in every single match and training session as a player for Mons Calpe and always push myself to the limit no matter how tough the challenge may be.”

Mons’ win over Phoenix last Monday leaves them eight points off leaders Europa and with teams around them all in action between themselves – we asked how important their next game is against Lions, “I believe it would be equally important to beat Lions as it would be to win any team we play against. It is crucial for us now to not lose any matches. However our current goal would be to win Lions as this will enable us to push higher up on the league and put pressure on the teams above us.”

Photo: Neil Wilson

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Premier Division 2018/19 season preview

The just over two month wait is over and today the Premier Division kicks off – below is our season preview with league table predictions and players who we believe you should keep an eye on.  Continue reading



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Gibtelecom Rock Cup Final rematch on opening matchday of the season

The opening matchday of fixtures in Gibraltar sees a repeat of last season’s Rock Cup final, while Manchester 62 begin life in the Second Division by taking on Hound Dogs.

Photo © William Gracia

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