As the preparation for the two-month extended winter break begins, we review how the Second Division season has panned out so far.
The Second Division starts today, and with it shaping up to be a very competitive league as teams push for the Premier Division, we take a look at the nine teams in the division for 2017/18.
We’ll look at the nine teams, how they’ve done over the summer and try to predict where they may finish this season.
Photo (C) Gibraltar Phoenix
Opening Second Division Fixtures
The fixture of the week could arguably be the very first one as last season’s runners up Brunos Magpies take on relegated Europa Point tonight.
Thursday sees Cannons and Hound Dogs face off before one of the overhauled teams, Leo, take on a Boca team who look much stronger on paper.
Finally, Olympique get their season underway on Sunday and with a team boasting Gibraltar internationals of recent seasons, they’ll be favourites against College 1975
Angels have a bye week due to the fact there’s nine teams in the league and wait until October 7th to start their season, against Magpies.
A nightmare season after being relegated from the Premier saw Angels come 8th last season, and losing manager Lewis Fraser will be a big issue for the team this time out. A year on, we see the team doing better but with so much competition around them in the league, a mid-table finish is likely – still an improvement on last season and they may be a nuisance to the teams above them.
Quitely, and without too much fanfare, Boca have improved their team a fair bit in the summer, with signings such as Liam Clarke and Estiven likely to prove key in their battle this season. They managed a third place finish last season and pushed Brunos for most of the season – we can see them repeating that feat this time out and who knows, maybe even sneak into second if they win key games against the likes of Magpies and Olympique. If their team is as good as their social media updates, they’ll be ones to watch this year.
The once-whipping boys of the league, Cannons have become a much better team in recent seasons. They’ve strengthened in the summer but they may find it half to replicate their 4th place finish of last season which was arguably a massive over-achievement for the team. 7th may be a little harsh and they could just as easily finish 5th if one or two games go their way over the course of the season against teams around them.
College 1975 (8th)
College improved last season after a largely shambolic start to their career as a club, however very little is known about what the club have done over the summer, and as such our prediction of 8th may turn out to look foolish after a couple of games. It doesn’t seem likely they’ll have strengthened enough compared to the other teams in the league.
Europa Point (6th)
It is far from easy for teams who have been relegated to go straight back up, and Europa Point enter the second division knowing they’ve a massive battle on their hand to do just that. Key for them is keeping the core of a team together for the whole season, but ultimately we feel they’ll come up short when it matters, especially as any key players in the first half of the season will likely leave as per the club’s ‘stepping stone’ policy.
Hound Dogs (9th)
While their commitment to develop local talent can only be applauded, it may not get them very far in the league this season, and unfortunately for Hound Dogs we feel they’ll come bottom in what will be a highly competitive league. Should some of their youngsters shine though, expect Hound Dogs to upset a few teams along the way especially later in the season.
They were arguably unlucky not to win their playoff match vs Manchester last season, but Magpies have to settle for another crack at going up. Another team doing a lot off the pitch to improve themselves, they have built a good team in the summer and it will be interesting to see who starts for them against Europa Point.
In David Wilson they have one of the best managers across both divisions, and much like Olympique they have a strong core of locals making up their team. Expect them to push Olympique all the way but just finish second – we do expect them to be playing Premier Division football next season whether they finish second or first.
Another team who had a major overhaul in the summer, Leo hired former Spain striker Catanha to manage them in the summer – his first job in management after retiring from football as a player. They’ve bought in a number of players too, largely from the Campo region, utilising the contacts their manager no doubt has.
Our prediction of fourth takes into account the team largely staying together all season – as is often the case teams can fall apart during the season and Leo must avoid that at all costs or else they’ll find themselves in bother pretty quickly.
Our favourites to win the league, Olympique have transformed spectacularly both on and off the pitch in the summer, with new investor Sunday Adeleye helping the team get in the likes of Jordan Perez and Robert Montovio who have both played for Gibraltar; Perez notably was Gibraltar’s first-choice keeper and has experience playing against teams such as Germany and Poland.
They also appointed Lewis Fraser as manager, and off the pitch they are arguably as good as any team at the moment in the division. Big things are expected of Olympique.
Premier Division – 16:30 – Glacis Utd 0-2 Lynx FC The first half was dominated by Lynx but with Glacis defending deep they made life very hard for Lynx to create any chances. Neither keeper was called into action. The first half ended with the score at 0-0. The second half Lynx came out a much better side, and started to create Glacis a few problems with the pace down the wings. Glacis keeper Jamie Carlin made a few terrific saves and Glacis nearly opened the scoring but Fraiz made a great save to keep it out. With less than ten minutes remaining Lynx broke the deadlock, a cross found Egyptian winger Badr, the midfielder controlled and slotted his shot past Carlin. After going behind Glacis started to attack more leaving themselves open to the counter. Lynx made it 2-0 with minutes remaining, a counter saw Agustin Doxagarat run through on goal and slotted his shot past Carlin. Lynx were able to hold on secure the three points.
Second Division – 18:30 – College 1975 4-3 FC Boca Juniors College opened the scoring in the 5th minute, Aaron Aguilera skipped past three Boca defenders and smashed his shot into the bottom corner. Boca came battling back and nearly replied instantly but Andrew Olivero’s shot flew over the bar. Boca equalised in the 23rd minute, Sebastian Suarez picked out Felix Formica-Corsi with a superb pass, the striker controlled, turned and slotted his shot past Dominguez. Less than ten minutes later College were back infront, a counter attack saw Hamza Hanafi through on goal and coolly slotted his shot past Hermida. College made it 3-1 four minutes later, Soufian Hanafi drifts past the Boca defenders and smashes his shot into the top corner. Boca pulled one back in the 41st minute, Neil Robba’s cross found Formica-Corsi who scored with a tidy finish. Just before half-time Boca got themselves back on level terms, Boca were awarded a penalty, Formica-Corsi stepped up and slotted it away which also completed his hat-trick. The second half was evenly contested with both teams seeking the winner. Philip Hermida was the busiest of the two keepers, pulling off some great saves to keep the score at 3-3. With ten minutes remaining College got themselves a winner, Hamza Hanafi’s shot deflected off the Boca defender and into the back of the net. College were able to hold on and walk away with the three points.
Second Division – 20:30 – Leo FC 6-0 FC Hound Dogs Leo broke the deadlock in the 12th minute, Rafael Rodriguez through ball from Ivan Clavijo, the midfielder controlled and smashed his shot past Horner Garcia. Leo doubled their lead fifteen minutes later, Clavijo was fouled in the area by Jarvis Bautista. Justo Peralta stepped up and smashed his penalty into the top corner. Just before half-time Leo made it 3-0, Javier Moreno stepped up and curled his free-kick over the wall and past Horner Garcia. Leo continued to dominate the second half, Adan Guerrero capitalised on a Hound Dogs mistake, ran through on goal and slotted his shot into the bottom corner. Leo were awarded another penalty midway through the half as Alfonso Benitez was brought down in the area, Dylan Hayes’ stepped up and coolly slotted his penalty away. Just before full-time Leo made it 6-0, Alfonso Benitez’s low cross found Jose Antonio Vinas, the striker controlled and tucked his shot away.
Super sub Eduardo Carrion scored twice as Mons Calpe comprehensively beat Boca Juniors in the Second Division.
The first half started with Mons Calpe on the attack and broke the deadlock in under fifteen minutes, Jose Lupianez squared the ball to Salvador Ruiz, the full-back controlled the ball and smashed his shot into the top corner.
Mons Calpe continued to dominate the game but were unable to find a way past Philip Hermida, the keeper pulled off some vitals saves in the first half from Sergio Vazquez, Jose Castillo & Alex Gonzalez. The teams went into halftime with Mons Calpe leading 1-0.
The second half started with Mons Calpe on the attack, Philip Hermida failed to deal with a cross which fell to Alex Gonzalez at the back post, the striker headed his effort into an empty net. Hermida made up for his mistake by pulling off a great save to keep out Sergio Vazquez.
Minutes later Mons Calpe made it 3-0, Ruben Ruiz played Sergio Vazquez through on goal, the striker slotted his shot past an onrushing Hermida. Twelve minutes later Mons Calpe made it 4-0, Eduardo Carrion latched onto a through ball from Ruben Ruiz and smashed his shot past Hermida.
Just before the full-time whistle Mons Calpe got their fifth, Jansen Dalli played Eduardo Carrion through on goal, the midfielder took a touch and slotted his shot past Hermida. The game restarted and referee Adrian Alcoba blew the final whistle and Mons Calpe walked away with the three points.
This win sees Mons Calpe move up to third, level on points with Leo & Europa Point while Boca Juniors remain eighth.
Sunday 15th November – College 1975 vs Boca Juniors
Tuesday 17th November – Mons Calpe vs Bruno’s Magpies
Summer signing Arif Hattabi netted a late penalty to earn Bruno’s Magpies a 1-1 draw against Boca Juniors after Liam Victor gave them the lead.
The first half started with Boca on the attack and winning an early corner as Liam Victor’s cross was blocked by Michael Macias, the corner was whipped in and cleared by Magpies. As the game went on Magpies started taking control but unable to break down the Boca wall.
Boca keeper Philip Hermida produced a great double save midway through the half, keeping out Arif Hattabi’s long range shot and tipping over the rebound from Ahmed Elsahib. Despite all the defending Boca had a great chance minutes later, Matthew Grech was played through on goal but the midfielder smashed over the bar.
Magpies continued the pressure with duo Arif Hattabi & Tom Hudson going close but neither were able to find a way past an inspired Philip Hermida. Referee Andrew Parody blew for halftime with the score at 0-0.
The second half started with Boca on the attack and broke the deadlock in the 50th minute, a free-kick from Antonio Alvarez was headed as far as Liam Victor whose long range shot flew past Fernandez Diaz and headed straight into the top corner.
Boca had a great chance to make it 2-0 minutes later, a poor clearance from Diaz fell to Felix Formica-Corsi, with the whole goal to aim at, the striker shot straight into the hands of Diaz. The Boca players and fans couldn’t believe it.
As the game went on Boca grew in confidence and Magpies struggling to cope under pressure. The game evened out with Magpies having the majority of the shots on goal but Hermida was able to keep them out. With less than 15 minutes left Philip Hermida pulled off an unbelievable save to keep out a shot from Tom Hudson.
In injury time Magpies were awarded a penalty as Hattabi was brought down in the box. Referee Andrew Parody pointed straight to the spot, a decision which infuriated the Boca players and management. Arif Hattabi stepped up and smashed his penalty past Hermida.
With second remaining Boca went down to 10 men as midfielder Nathan Sene was given a straight red for an alleged headbutt on Magpies wing-back Harry Perry. The game restarted and referee Andrew Parody blew for halftime.
This result sees Magpies remain fifth while Boca move into sixth.