post

Lincoln beat Europa to win the Premier Division

Goals in either half from Roy Chipolina and Kike saw Lincoln deservedly beat Europa 2-0 this evening, and lift the Premier Division shield for a 24th time.

Photo (c) Rough and Ready

The game, billed as the Title Decider, saw a packed Main Stand split in half between both sets of fans, who all knew of the importance of the match. A win for Lincoln guaranteed them the trophy, while a Europa win would have all but done the same for them, as they had Boca on the last day.

The players appeared to know that too with the match being a frantic, 100 mile an hour affair with a lot of nervy mistakes creeping in early doors. Both teams have changed a lot in recent years, but it was one of the so-called old guard who broke the deadlock, as Lincoln captain Roy Chipolina stepped up to the mark and put his side in the lead.

The goal appeared to shock Europa, who in truth looked bereft of ideas and couldn’t seem to find any way to break Lincoln down – one of their brightest talents, Tjay De Barr, seemed to be carrying the effects of his leg injury that had seen him strapped up in recent games – the striker looks set to miss the Gibtelecom Rock Cup final having picked up a 10th booking and a two-game ban.

The killer blow for Europa came in the second half, as a lack of communication saw a poor backpass pounced upon by Lincoln, and former Europa striker Kike was on hand to finish into an empty net and send them on the way to another league title.

Europa had a couple of chances to perhaps get one goal back, but wasted them, and in truth Lincoln were hungrier, sharper and simply better on the day as they comfortably saw out the 2-0 victory.

Lincoln can now sit back and enjoy their final game vs Mons Calpe, while Europa will need to get over this disappointment before their Gibtelecom Rock Cup final against Gibraltar United.

post

Mons Calpe players stage sit-down protest over unpaid wages

Mons Calpe’s players staged a sit-down protest in the first minute of their 5-2 win vs Gib United this evening over unpaid wages.

Mons, who can still finish 3rd and qualify for Europe, kicked off their game this evening and promptly chose to sit down for the first minute of the match as the players had not been paid on time and were understandably not happy at this.

Mons are not the only club in Gibraltar who have not had their players paid on time – there is worry throughout the league over teams not keeping up with their payments of players and staff – after one Premier Division game last month a player was heard arguing with the owner of the club he plays for in the main stand, about not being paid, and the player was told he could have left in January if he wanted to, so he apparently couldn’t complain about not being paid his wages full stop. Today’s actions though will bring to light the rumoured instability affecting a number of teams in Gib.

There are also concerns within certain teams about local players holding clubs to ransom over wages, and with the HGP rule rumoured to increase this summer, there are worries about Gibraltarian players demanding far more money than they are worth, knowing that clubs either have to pay them or sign inferior players and suffer on the pitch as a result.

With regards their game today, Mons managed to secure three points despite the protests – in fact they scored mere seconds after sitting down on the pitch through Lautaro Fernandez, and Leonardo Carboni followed up with a second goal 10 minutes later. Carboni scored in the second half for Mons, before picking up a hat-trick minutes later. Gib United managed to get one back through Aymen Mouelhi, before Nicolas Trecco added a 5th for his side. Achraf Nait scored a late consolation penalty, but despite the protest, Mons put in one of their best performances all season

At the time of writing, there was no confirmed word over whether Mons would face any punishment for their protests this evening.

post

Europa players visit Rainbow Ward as part of Easter commitments

Five of Europa’s Gibraltarian first team players visited St Bernard’s Hospital today as part of their Easter commitments.

Photo © Europa FC

The side, who are currently second in the Premier Division, undertook the activities as part of their community engagement programme.

Liam Walker, Tjay De Barr, Ethan Jolley, Dayle Coleing and Mikey Yome visited the hospital today, after a visit to Europa’s youth team training sessions, handing out Easter eggs to both the youth players and the children in the Rainbow Ward of the hospital, as well as spending time with those in the ward.

Europa Sporting Director Eddie Yome had this to say about today’s visits from their local first team players: “Europa strongly believes that our senior players need to take time to give back to our community and supporting our youngsters so that they are seen as role models as they grow in our football family.”

post

Jolley: “It’s always good reaching the finals of the cup”

After being part of the Europa side that reached the Gibtelecom Rock Cup final, we caught up with Europa and Gibraltar international defender Ethan Jolley to get his thoughts on the game, his season so far and more.

Photo © C Correa Photography

Europa saw off Phoenix 4-1 on Tuesday, despite going down to 10 men after an hour and giving away two penalties in the game – how did Jolley feel the game went for his side? “I felt the team played well, considering we had a man down after 60 minutes, and still managed to control the game most of the time. There’s still room for improvement as a team collectively but the outcome was a win which was our main aim.”

This is the fourth season in a row Europa have made the final of the cup, and last year Jolley featured off the bench in their 2-1 success over Mons Calpe in the final – what are the 22-year old’s thoughts on reaching another final? “Apart from all behind the scenes we deserve some credit not just the players but staff. It’s always good reaching the finals of the cup, any game we play is just as important but after playing in last year’s finals you can always tell there’s a sensation to it, especially when its one game away from lifting silverware.”

Jolley’s team-mate for club and country, Tjay De Barr, is top scorer in the cup with seven goals, and is very likely to end the tournament in that position as well – how highly does the defender rate his team-mate? “Well, Tjay De Barr is the kind of player anyone would want in their team. He plays with the passion and desire and that’s what a team needs. He has all the attributes a player needs, and in training you can tell he wants to get better and keep progressing. You can tell he is learning and progressing from the results he is getting as a player, and helping out the team. He is one of those players that has been vital for the club this season. I must say to keep an eye out (on De Barr).”

The increase in the HGP rule has seen Jolley’s minutes on the pitch already increase from the whole of last season – with five league games and a cup final to go, and in turn led to him making his international debut in the final minutes against Estonia last month. How does Jolley rate his own personal season? “My season all round has been good. As a player you always want to get minutes and play to the best of your ability. Individually I have been training and working hard to get the best possible outcome in games and I can say I feel good playing and doing what I love most. Every season a player must aim to achieve something greater than the last and this season I think I have. This is my second consecutive season with my club Europa, I am happy with my game time, happy with the results as a team and happy with the performances.”

post

Premier Division Player and Manager of the Month – March 2019

With the season moving closer to the business end at the top of the table, March sees a Europa duo win the Football Gibraltar Player and Manager of the Month awards in the Premier Division.

Photo © C Correa Photography

Player of the Month – Alex Quillo (Europa FC)

This month proved to be quite hard, with a number of players catching the eye with their performances – however we’ve gone for a midfielder who scored in every game in March, all of which were important in their own way. The goals against Glacis, and especially Phoenix, ensured Europa could go on to secure comfortable victories as they look to chase after the title, while his screamer vs Mons Calpe, at the time making it 4-1, ended up being decisive with the game ending 4-3. Quillo quietly goes about his work for the side, but this season has contributed with a number of goals, and therefore is our player of the month. Leonardo Carboni came a close second this month after some impressive performances for Mons Calpe, while Chico Rubio, who has been consistently strong for Gib United in March, finishes third.

Manager of the Month – Rafael Escobar (Europa FC)

This one was a toss-up between the top three, who all won their three league matches in March, but given the opposition faced, and the manner of their wins, Europa’s Rafael Escobar just about edges out Raul Procopio in second, and Victor Afonso in third to Manager of the Month in March. In a title run-in where one slip could prove to be the end of a title run, both Lincoln and Europa have managed to be faultless in recent weeks, building up to what should be a blockbuster meeting on Matchday 26. For their part, the important wins vs Mons Calpe and Phoenix, as well as a comprehensive beating of Glacis which did their goal difference wonders means Europa have clawed back some of the gap between the two title-chasing sides in that department, while ensuring St Joseph’s don’t get a chance to join the race fully.

post

Gibraltar begin Euro Qualifiers against Ireland

Gibraltar kick-start their Euro 2020 Qualifying campaign when they host Republic of Ireland at a sold-out Victoria Stadium this evening.

Photo © William Gracia

The two sides meet for the first time since 2015, when Ireland won 4-0 in Faro. Both teams have new managers and new faces within the team since then, and this evening’s game is the first European Championship qualifier to be hosted on the Rock.

At yesterday’s press conferences, both managers were in good form as they looked forward to the game – for Mick McCarthy it is his second debut as Ireland manager, and he’ll be looking to repeat his first competitive game in his first stint as manager, when Ireland won 5-0 against Liechtenstein back in 1996.

Julio Ribas spoke passionately about the importance of having these games back in Gibraltar, and emphasised the importance of the Gibraltarian fans in supporting their team – both sides will have healthy support with Ireland bring a strong contingent over, which should make for a cracking atmosphere.

The weather will be an interesting factor in today’s game as well – the Irish press who were gathered at the Victoria Stadium yesterday all noticed how windy it was at the ground, and with a severe weather warning issued until Sunday, the game should be played under less than ideal conditions.

Neither manager, as expected, gave much away in terms of team selection – Ribas never tends to show any of his cards to the press – but McCarthy did hint at Seamus Coleman making his 50th cap for the national side from the start, while up front there is the potential for Sean Maguire of Preston leading the line.

Betting:

Unsurprisingly, Ireland are heavy favourites at a best price of 1/18 to win, while Gibraltar are as big as 50/1 to pull off a shock victory – the draw is 20/1 which shows how heavily the bookies fancy Ireland to get off to a victorious start.

There is potentially value to be had elsewhere in the betting though – if Sean Maguire does start then 15/4 for him to score first would be a good price, while for Gib, Joseph Chipolina, top scorer in the Nations League for his side, and expected to be on penalties should Gib get one, is as high as 33/1 to score at any point in the match.

Finally, if you are looking for a correct score bet, a repeat of the 4-0 in Faro is 6/1, while if you fancy Gib to repeat their heroics from the Armenia match, then 1-0 Gibraltar is a whopping 125/1.

FG’s Predicted XI:

Gibraltar: Goldwin; Sergeant, R. Chipolina, J. Chipolina, Olivero; Anthony Hernandez, Bardon, Walker; Casciaro, De Barr, Pons

Republic of Ireland: Randolph; Coleman, Duffy, Egan, Stevens; Arter, Whelan, Hourihane; McClean, Brady; Maguire