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Second Division 2017/18 Preview

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.


Team-by-team Previews

Angels (5th)

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.

Boca (3rd)

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.

Cannons (7th)

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.

Magpies (2nd)

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.

Leo (4th)

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.

Olympique (1st)

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.

 

 

 

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FG Predicts: Rock Cup 1st Round Sunday 10th January

With the 2016 Gibraltar Rock Cup getting underway today with two games, we’ve racked our brains together to try and predict the outcome of the two games on today.  

Continue reading

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Super Sunday Round-Up

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.

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Edu Carrion bags brace in Mons Calpe rout

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. 


Next Game

Sunday 15th November – College 1975 vs Boca Juniors

Tuesday 17th November – Mons Calpe vs Bruno’s Magpies

 

 

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Late Arif Hattabi penalty saves Magpies against Boca Juniors

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. 

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2015/16 Second Division preview

The 2015/16 Second Division season kicks off tomorrow – and you can warm-up for the new campaign with our comprehensive guide to the Second Division teams.

Below you’ll find links to Second Division team profiles.


Cannons FC

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Cannons have added Jack Fraser to their squad this summer.

A disappointing rock-bottom finish in the Second Division last season means many people think Cannons could be in for much of the same this season. Christoper Gomez was appointed as manager for the new season and has plenty of work to do as he takes over a team that was clearly below par last season. Can he turn things around?

Cannons have made plenty of signings this summer, which could make a difference. Jack Fraser was brought in from Red Imps, Kaylan Borda was signed from Gib Scorpions and many more. Although, with plenty of Second Division teams bringing in ‘Premier rejects’, we will be expecting Cannons to be fighting at the bottom of the table again this year.


College 1975 FC

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The Second Division new-boys come into this league taking the place of Gib Scorpions and they have plenty to do as they hope to become as big of a threat to their rivals as Scorpions were. 

College have been by far the quietest of all the teams in Gibraltar, there has been no mention of the signings they have made with the club not even having a Facebook page. We, like everyone else, will be eagerly waiting the team that turns out for their first game.


Europa Pegasus FC

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Pegasus endured a frustrating 2014/15 season. They failed to build on their fourth-place finish from the year before and, after flirting with the relegation zone, ended their campaign in 12th. Christian Olivares will expect better this time around.

Pegasus, during their preseason, have looked in good condition, producing some decent displays. They have been very active through the transfer window bringing in some great talent, mainly from across the border.


Europa Point FC

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Europa Point have been tipped to mount a serious title tilt this season, with the club bringing in plenty of quality from top academies in and around Europe. Europa Point were the in-form team in the second half of the 2014/15 season – can they maintain that level for an entire campaign?

We have announced throughout the summer that Europa Point have lost many of the players which were so instrumental last season like Robert Montovio & Dexter Atkinson. This season will be a platform for many of their new signings to make a name for themselves and possibly take the step up to Premier football next season. 


FC Hound Dogs 

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FC Hound Dogs finished last season in 10th place, after such a poor start to the first half of the season, the clubs performances turned around near the end as the manager Chris Gomez had a full squad to pick from as his players had returned from their studies in UK.

Hound Dogs have been very busy in the transfer window. Despite losing some big players like Nick & James Castle, they did manage to bring in some great local talent in the form of Shaun De’Ath, the pacey winger from Leo, and also full-back Shaun Gonzalez who brings plenty of experience to this young squad.


FC Olympique 13 

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FC Olympique started very strongly last season, producing some great displays. Early results saw them hover around the top three in the table. As the season went on, the consistency which Olympique started slowly to fall with injuries and suspensions hampering the club, sending them down to 7th.

Olympique have been very busy in the summer, mixing experience with youth. If they can get striker Justin Santos firing on all cylinders again, Olympique could be the dark horses of this season.


FCB Magpies 

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Brunos Magpies go into this season hoping to shake off their ‘Pub team’ title. Louie Perry, Magpies President, started with the appointment of Joel Williams which was followed by a handful of signing such as Max Bothen from Phoenix, Michael Macias from Gib Utd & some players from abroad.

The around the Magpies camp is that the team is looking for promotion and with the players Joel has brought into the club, they might be causing a few upsets this season.


FC Boca Juniors

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Boca Juniors finished last season 10th in the league, seven point behind Brunos Magpies. Boca struggled a lot of last season with consistency, they would pick up points against teams in the top half of the table but then struggle against teams in and around their position.

Boca have been heavily revamped this season, a new crest, a new sponsor and some new players has seen the ambition at the club change massively over the last few months. Despite losing their best player Nicholas Ramagge to Olympique, they have been able to bring in some Premier experience and along side players who have proved themselves in the Second Division.


Gibraltar Phoenix FC

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Last season’s ‘big boy killers’ will be hoping to pick up from where they left off to improve after finishing 4th last season and beating all the big teams in the second half of the season.

Phoenix have enjoyed a relatively good preseason and like most teams have been quiet this transfer window, President Brian Brosco confirmed to us that the team has been reshaped with many comings and goings, but they were very happy that they were able to keep hold of Fernando Cuesta who was so instrumental last season.


Leo FC

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Leo FC will be looking for a better performance this season after finishing 13th last season. Karl Alecio, President of Leo, has been very busy through the summer, his shock appointment of Juanfran Perez as manager from Angels showed the kind of ambitions the club will have this season.

Leo have also needed a major reshape this season, they had plenty of departures this season but with Juanfran’s links in Spain, they were able to bring in plenty of players to fill the holes which they were lacking in. Leo were also able to renew the contracts of Dylan Hayes & Iain Latin who were one of few consistent players from last season. One major blow for Leo is the loss of Charlie Santos who moved to futsal.


Mons Calpe S.C.

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Mons Calpe would probably like to forget about last season. They saw three different managers followed by an 8th placed finish which no doubt seemed poor after having such a great season two years ago when they finished second, missing out on promotion by the play-off stipulation.

Mons Calpe have by far done the best business in the Second Division with the signing of Jansen Dalli. Other players brought in like Francis Marquez means Mons Calpe seem to be early favourites to be promoted.


Red Imps FC

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Red Imps, the feeder club of Lincoln Red Imps, have also had a major turnaround. The appointment of Garry Lowe, followed by some great signings, shows where the club wants to be at regarding producing great local talent.

Red Imps have been working hard during preseason to be 100% ready for this season. Red Imps made many signings through the summer, Evan Coleing returned to the club, experienced duo Thomas Hastings & Colin Dyer and followed by striker Cesar Rosa who has been dubbed as ‘one to watch’ this season.


Matchday 1 fixtures

21/09 – FC Hound Dogs vs Europa Pegasus FC & FC Boca Juniors vs Cannons FC

22/09 – FCB Magpies vs Europa Point FC & FC Olympique 13 vs Red Imps FC

24/09 – Mons Calpe S.C. vs Gibraltar Phoenix FC & College 1975 FC vs Leo FC


So who will win promotion to the Premier Division? Will it be Mons Calpe, will it be Europa Point, will Brunos Magpies proved all the doubters wrong? We expect the next few months to be exciting aswell as hectic, stay tuned at Football Gibraltar as we will be with you every step of the way.