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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.  

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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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Match Report: Mons Calpe S.C 4-0 FC Hound Dogs

Mons Calpe moved level on points with FC Magpies in fourth with a comfortable 4-0 victory over Hound Dogs courtesy of goals from Jose Lupianez, Yeray Gil Munoz, Stefan Cumbo & Sergio Vazquez.

The first half started with Mons Calpe on the attack, Jose Lupianez latched onto a through ball and unleashed a fiercely struck shot which was saved by Juan Carcano. Mons Calpe domination lead to them opening the scoring just after the 30 minute mark, Kyle Bear’s through ball found Jose Lupianez, the striker took a touch and slotted his shot past Carcano. 

Mons Calpe continued to dominate the half but were unable to find a way past a well organised Hound Dogs defence. The second half started with Mons Calpe nearly doubling their lead, Ruben Ruiz sent Lupianez through on goal, the striker’s shot was saved by Carcano. 

In the 56th minute Mons Calpe made it 2-0, Carcano’s clearance fell to Yeray Gil, the midfielder took a touch and lobbed the keeper from about 35 yards out. Just after the hour mark Mons Calpe were awarded a penalty as Stefan Cumbo was fouled in the area. Cumbo stepped up and cooly slotted it past Carcano.

Less than ten minutes remaining Mons Calpe made it 4-0, super-sub Sergio Vazquez latched onto a through ball and slided his shot past the onrushing Carcano. This win sees Mons Calpe move level on points with Magpies in fourth while Hound Dogs remain eighth.  

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Match Report: FCB Magpies 4-0 FC Hound Dogs

Bruno’s Magpies continued their winning streak as they comfortably overcame a resilient Hound Dogs side courtesy of goals from Tom Hudson, Harry Perry, Ahmed Elsahib & Lewis Constable. 

The first half started with Magpies on the attack, Jose Villegas Perles played Arif Hattabi through the goal but the midfielder smashed his effort wide.  Ten minutes later Juan Antonio Carcano was called into action keeping out a close range shot from Devonte Totesaut. 

Shortly after Bruno’s Magpies went down to 10 men, playmaker Jose Villegas Perles was given a straight red for a challenge on Christian Gonzalez. Magpies continued to dominate possession but couldn’t find a way past the well-organised Hound Dogs defence. Just before half-time Magpies broke the deadlock, Arif Hattabi whipped in a cross which the Hound Dogs defence failed to clear, the ball fell to Tom Hudson at the back post who headed the ball in. 

The second half started with Magpies in control but still failing to create anything good in the final third with both Lewis Constable & Max Bothen failing to put away their chances. Ten minutes later Magpies made it 2-0, winger Ahmed Elsahib skipped past a defender and his cutback was thumped in by Harry Perry. 

Three minutes later Hound Dogs went down to 10 men, midfielder Jarvis Bautista was given his marching orders for a second bookable offence. Juan Antonio Carcano was called into action minutes later making a terrific double save. Five minutes later Hound Dogs went down to 10 men, Shaun Gonzalez was fouled by Arif Hattabi, Shaun showed his frustration at the challenge by pushing and shoving Arif, his reaction ended up getting himself sent off. 

With 15 minutes remaining Magpies made it 3-0, winger Ahmed Elsahib with a great finish after some great play from the midfield. Magpies made it 4-0 minutes after, Ahmed Elsahib whipped in a corner which found unmarked Lewis Constable who headed past Carcano. Hound Dogs had a great chance near the end, Jason Costa played Ivan Robles Puertas through on ball but the striker smashed wide. The game restarted and referee Herbert Warwick blew for full-time. 

 

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Hound Dogs hold on for first win of season as Carcano shines

Shaun De Ath scores the only goal as FC Hound Dogs start their league campaign with a win over Europa Pegasus. 

The first half started with both teams playing extra safe as neither team wanted to create any mistakes. As the game grew on Pegasus started dominating possession as they did for much of last season, FC Hound Dogs were happy to sit deep and clear any balls that came into the box with the defensive partnership of Ercan Mehmet & Sean Harrison having a solid game.

With Hound Dogs defending in numbers Pegasus were restricted to shots from far with Guillermo Sanchez’s shot from far going wide of Carcano’s goal. Hound Dogs keeper Juan Antonio Carcano was called into action minutes later making a comfortable save from Daniel Guerrero’s free-kick attempt.

Pegasus nearly made it 1-0 midway through the half, a fantastic cross was met by Daniel Guerrero whose close range shot was excellently saved by Juan Carcano. Minutes later Hound Dogs broke the deadlock, debutant Shaun De Ath was sent through on goal, the striker was able to fend off his marker and cooly slot it past the onrushing Alberto Fernandez. 

The second half started with Hound Dogs leading 1-0 and happily sitting deep, dealing with the Pegasus pressure. Pegasus continued to dominate possession but just couldn’t find a way past Juan Antonio Carcano.

The second half saw minimal chances from both teams as Hound Dogs had plenty of men behind the ball, giving Pegasus no choice but to pass back and find the hole in the defence but that opportunity never came and Hound Dogs managed to hold out til the end and walk away with all three points.

FT: FC Hound Dogs 1-0 Europa Pegasus FC

FG MoTM was awarded to Hound Dogs keeper Juan Antonio Carcano for his terrific display.