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Football Gibraltar Awards 2019: Part 1

In Part One of the Football Gibraltar 2019 Awards, both Adam Roberts and Daniel Griffin chose their player of the season in the four key areas, as well as their manager of the season.

Goalkeeper of the Season – Jamie Robba (St Joseph’s)

In a season where the top two have rotated their experienced first choice keepers with young local keepers, Robba has been a constant for most of the season with St Joseph’s. The club signing Francisco Mateo in January only seemed to up Robba’s game, and he made the number 1 spot more or less his own. His performances this season should be enough for him to be considered once more for the national side – he has been the most consistent and in-form local keeper for a number of months now.

Defender of the Season – Bernardo Lopes (Lincoln)

Lopes makes things look almost too easy at times as his ability allows him to stroll through most games. He has been the best player for his side this season, and when it mattered he ensured most of the time his defence were good enough to see through games and ultimately claim the title. The Portuguese defender has improved season-on-season and will be a key part of their European campaign this summer.

Midfielder of the Season – Mustapha Yahaya (Europa)

A sure sign of Yahaya’s importance in the midfield is that when he has had to drop into defence, the Europa midfield has suffered noticeably as a result. Recent injury issues for Yahaya hurt Europa at the worst possible time, as the Ghanaian midfielder runs the show from the heart of the midfield, allowing the more creative attacking players to flourish, while ensuring protection to the back four. His versatility has also been very useful in a Europa team that has been thin in numbers all season

Striker of the Season – Salvador ‘Boro’ Delgado (St Joseph’s)

The league’s top scorer, alongside his teammate Juanfri, have contributed massively towards Saints finishing third, ensuring few slip-ups against the teams around them. While there can be an argument they didn’t score enough against the top two, the quality of Lincoln and Europa plays a part in that. Boro’s goals and creativity have been a key factor for his side this season, and will be key in the Europa League campaign.

Manager of the Season – Raul Procopio

With the top two both changing managers this season, we have opted for the St Joseph’s manager, who has delivered his teams objective to get into Europe. Procopio saw his side go on a great unbeaten streak earlier in the season which played a huge part in staving off the likes of Mons Calpe, Phoenix and Gib United in the league, and while he’ll be disappointed with the manner of his sides cup exit, he has still managed to keep stability in a league which very rarely has any sort of stability – the challenge next season is to break the top two.

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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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Gibtelecom Rock Cup Final preview

Europa will look to win the Gibtelecom Rock Cup for the 3rd season in a row, but know they are in for a tough match this evening against Gibraltar United, who are looking to win the cup for the first time since 2001.

Photo (C) William Gracia

The final game of the domestic football season sees the teams who finished 2nd and 6th in the First Division respectively face off for the final piece of silverware on offer, and whilst Europa have the head-to-head advantage in the last six games, it was their most recent meeting, a 1-1 draw, that cost them dearly in the title race.

Europa reached the final by beating Lincoln, Magpies and Gib Phoenix respectively, while for Gib United, they dispatched of Second Division opposition in Manchester 62 and Olympique, before beating Mons Calpe in the semi-final to set up today’s finale.

Another interested party in this game will be St Joseph’s, who will be cheering on Europa – a win for Rafael Escobar’s side secures Europa League football for Saints, while a Gib United win will give them European football for the first time ever – after missing out so narrowly last season.

The only injury worry for either team is potentially Mustapha Yahaya for Europa, but he is expected to start – Europa will be without star attacker Tjay De Barr who is serving the second game of his two-game ban due to accumulating 10 yellow cards this season, so Liam Walker and Manuel Arana will be key attackers, while Dayle Coleing is expected to start in goal.

For Gib United, Kyle ‘Chino’ Goldwin will need to be at his best to ensure his side have a chance of lifting the trophy, while at the other end of the pitch Chico Rubio, who scored in the 1-1 draw in the league, could cause Europa’s defence a number of problems this evening.

The game, which kicks off at 7pm at the Victoria Stadium, is being live-streamed on the Gibraltar FA Youtube page, and you can also follow text updates of the game at our Twitter account, @FGScoreCentre.

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Julian Lopez impresses as Europa Point finish second

Julian Lopez scored an impressive 14 goals in 8 league games to help Europa Point finish second in the Second Division.

The 27-year old joined Europa Point in a major rebuild after failures from the previous owners left the club in a bad state; John Gontier took back full control in January.

Despite losing their top players like Alexis Sanchez and Christian Nunez, Gontier would bring in twelve players in January which included Stefan Oliva & Aidan Casey who were at the club last season, Lions goalkeeper Kaaron Macedo, Europa’s Jonathan Rodriguez Parragues and Julian Lopez (just to name a few).

The wins would soon starting rolling in and in Julian Lopez case, the goals also. Lopez would score a staggering 14 goals in 8 league games which would result in six wins, two losses and a very respectable second place finish.

With the two leagues expected to merge next season – what’s next for Julian Lopez?

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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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Mouelhi: “It’s a very important and difficult game for us”

Ahead of Sunday’s Gibtelecom Rock Cup Final, we caught up with Gibraltar United defender Aymen Mouelhi.

Photo (c) Rough and Ready

Firstly, we asked the defender for his thoughts on the big game: “I think that it is not every season you have a chance to play a final so it’s a very important and difficult game for us.”

Last year, Mouelhi and Gib United got to the semis of the cup and one game from Europw in the league – does the chance to make the Europa League add more to this game? “Yes we know that feeling of last season, and the good thing about football is that it gives another opportunity, and this time we won’t let it go away. All Gib Utd players know how very important this match is, and we are going to die on the pitch to win this cup.”

Gib United drew 1-1 with Europa in their last meeting; will that help in preparing for Sunday’s final? “Yes maybe for some idea, but I think the final of the cup will be different to the league match; we know how Europa play and we are prepared for them .”

Finally, we asked the 32-year old defender how he rated his own season: “On the personal level I’m satisfied with season – with my club and called up to the national team, and had my debut which the best memories ever I had. I am a bit disappointed with my injury, which took a couple of months to come back from,  which I could do more better I think.”

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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)