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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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Lynx and Phoenix qualify for Futsal Final

Lynx beat Mons Calpe 10-3 on aggregate while Gibraltar Phoenix Viajes Lineasol overcame South United on penalties to qualify for the Futsal 1st Division playoff final.

After the first leg finished 2-2, you would expect the second leg to be as tight but on the contrary, Lynx made light work of their opponents. Tyson Ruiz scored a hat-trick, captain Ezequiel Martin Martin bagged a brace and there were further goals for Ruben Fernandez Ruiz, Ethan Perez & Joel Emiliano Fraile as the holders shipped eight past Mons.

South United put in a valiant effort in the first leg, leading twice and equalising to make it 3-3 but Phoenix’s quality shone near the end which saw them take a 5-3 lead into the second leg.

Braces for Jayce Consigliero & Alberto Caravaca and one from Estiven Morente Veles saw South United win the second leg 5-3 and take the game to penalties which Phoenix would go on and win – it is games such as this which makes Futsal so exciting.

Lynx will now play Phoenix Viajes Lineasol in a best of three final which is expected to take place this weekend (no official confirmation by the Gibraltar FA at the time of writing).

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FG Awards 2019 information

With the season now fully over and some players beginning their holidays, while others start preparing for Internationals next week, we will be announcing our yearly awards.

Part One will be unveiled on Tuesday 28th May – below are the categories:

  • Goalkeeper of the Season
  • Defender of the Season
  • Midfielder of the Season
  • Striker of the Season
  • Manager of the Season

Part Two will be unveiled immediately after Part One, but the winners will not be announced until Sunday 2nd June – below are the categories:

  • Young Player of the Season
  • Player of the Season
  • Second Division Young Player of the Season
  • Second Division Player of the Season
  • Second Division Manager of the Season
  • Adam Roberts’ Team of the Season
  • Daniel Griffin’s Team of the Season
  • Premier Division Bottom Half Team of the Season
  • Fans Young Player of the Season
  • Fans Player of the Season
  • Fans Team of the Season
  • Fans Premier Division Bottom Half Team of the Season

Part Three will be our season reviews and you can read about that next week.

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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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Premier Division: Team of the Week

  • Matchday 27 results
  • Lions Gibraltar 0-1 St Joseph’s (Cornejo)
  • Mons Calpe 2-0 Lincoln Red Imps (Trecco, Londero)
  • Europa 13-1 FC Boca Juniors (Walker x4, Arroyo x4, Quillo, Iddrisu, Arana x2, Matto; Castillo)
  • Gibraltar Phoenix 2-0 Gibraltar United (Minano, Segura)
  • Glacis United 0-2 Lynx (Caro, Badr)

GOALKEEPER: John Paul Hernandez (Lions)

DEFENDER: Ryan Dean (Lynx)

DEFENDER: Ethan Thorne-Llambias (Lincoln)

DEFENDER: Francisco Cano (Gib Phoenix)

DEFENDER: Leonardo Incorvaia (Mons)

DEFENDER: Miguel Londero (Mons)

MIDFIELDER: Liam Walker (Europa)

MIDFIELDER: Jayce Consigliero (Gib Phoenix)

MIDFIELDER: Ernesto Cornejo (St Joseph’s)

MIDFIELDER: Manuel Arana (Europa)

STRIKER: Urko Arroyo (Europa)

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Premier Division: Team of the Week

  • Matchday 26 results
  • St Joseph’s 3-0 Gibraltar Phoenix (Duarte, Juanfri, Boro)
  • FC Boca Juniors 0-7 Lions (Caravaca x3, Cantelmi, Funes, Parral, Buhagiar)
  • Lincoln Red Imps 2-0 Europa (R.Chipolina, Kike)
  • Lynx 2-1 Mons Calpe (Sekou, Valdivia; Incorvaia)
  • Gibraltar United 2-0 Glacis United (Zapata, Antona)

GOALKEEPER: Alejandro Caro (Lynx)

DEFENDER: Courtney Lewis (Glacis)

DEFENDER: Nicolas Marquez (Gib Utd)

DEFENDER: Olmo Gonzalez (Europa)

DEFENDER: Jared Buhagiar (Lions)

MIDFIELDER: Borja Gil (Lincoln)

MIDFIELDER: David Gomez Prieto (Gib Utd)

STRIKER: Javier Cantelmi (Lions)

STRIKER: Hector Figueroa (Lincoln)

STRIKER: Alberto Caravaca (Lions)

STRIKER: John Paul Duarte (St Joseph’s)

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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.”