Roy Chipolina: “I thought I loved football but Julio takes the love of the game to a whole new level”

Ahead of Lincoln’s Europa League Second Qualifying Round match vs The New Saints, we caught up with Roy Chipolina to get his thoughts on the game, as well as a number of other topics including the appointment of Julio Ribas as national manager, and the increased Home Grown Player (HGP) rules.

Photo (C) William Gracia

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Walker: “A win is all we have on our minds”

Arguably the most eye-catching signing of the summer was Liam Walker moving from Lincoln to Europa after the successful Champions League campaign where he shone in not only Gibraltar, but also Tallinn and Glasgow.

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Lee Casciaro scores four as Lincoln rout Glacis

Four goals for Lee Casciaro, a hat-trick for Kyle Casciaro, as well as goals from Yeray Blasco, Liam Walker, Joseph Chipolina and Steven Soussi secured the league leaders a comfortable victory over Glacis Utd.

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Robba: “Go abroad, learn as much as you can and that is my advice”

In the latest part of our interviews with the people involved with Gibraltar’s maiden European campaign, we caught up with former Europa & US Le Pontet goalkeeper Jamie Robba, now playing at Lynx. Continue reading


Bardon: “Hopefully I can continue the trend of scoring in big games”

After Lincoln’s dramatic 3-2 win against Britannia, we caught up with midfielder Anthony Bardon, who scored the winner for the Red Imps.

I think in the first half we played really, really bad, we let them come on to us. We didn’t show them enough respect. After their 4-0 loss to Europa we thought maybe they had taken a dip.

Britannia were 2-1 up going into the 84th minute, but Liam Walker’s stunning free kick, and Bardon’s winner a minute later saw Lincoln snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.  Britannia’s efforts did not go unnoticed by Bardon though. “Fair play to them, they played brilliantly and we really had to dig deep. The comeback shows great character within our team.”

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Anthony Bardon seals a late win for Lincoln

Lincoln Red Imps produced a stunning second-half comeback to win 3-2 from being two goals down at the break against FC Britannia. 

The first half was a very even encounter, Britannia had the first chance of the game, Bernardes long range shot was excellently saved by Raul Navas. Lincoln replied instantly, Liam Walker picked out Guido Abayian, the striker’s shot was saved by Louie Barnfather.

Britannia took a shock lead in the fourteenth minute, Lincoln defenders gave Peter Grimmer too much time on the ball and the striker smashed his shot into the top corner from twenty-five yards out. Lincoln tried to get back into the game but were unable to break down a well organised Britannia defence.

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Brian Perez: “We did the best we could”

In the latest interview with Gibraltar’s Euro 2016 qualifying stars, we caught up with Manchester 62 midfielder Brian Perez, to talk about both his contribution to qualification, and the circumstances that led to his departure from Lincoln to Manchester.

Perez, who has six caps for the full national team, was positive about how the team handled their maiden European campaign.Considering we had no experience of having played at such a high international level, I feel we did the best we could which in my opinion was considerably good.”

Every game Gibraltar played was against seasoned professionals, as high up as World Champions Germany, and Perez felt that considering Gibraltar’s semi-professional status, they handled themselves more than adequately. “We couldn’t expect to match up against big countries with world class players when our players are semi professionals who work for a living and play football as a second vocation. I know it’s easy to see things differently from a spectators perspective however playing against these professionals is a much harder task than what one may imagine.”

On a personal level, Perez’s caps all came in the qualifiers, completing the full 90 in four of those encounters. When asked about how he felt his own performances were for the national team, Perez said: “Personally I feel I have given my utmost every time I have had the opportunity to play for the national team. I was unfortunate to have missed 3 of the matches due to injury but regardless of this, I still persisted and played to the best of my ability even after my recovery. I was fortunate to be amongst the first 11 and play the whole 90minutes in the first 4 matches where I feel I demonstrated my ability as a football player.”

Being pictured alongside stars such as Toni Kroos and Mario Gotze were also big moments for the midfielder: “Captured moments like these are ones which I will forever be proud of and I consider these to be one of, if not, the greatest highlight of my footballing career.”

A lot of talk recently has been about Gibraltarian footballers making the step out of local football, and representing themselves abroad in other leagues, especially professional systems such as those of the English and Spanish leagues. UEFA membership not coming until 2016 has limited those opportunities for the likes of Perez, who said: “I feel that there are many of us players within the national team who could have played professionally if, at a younger age, we would have been given the opportunities which are now arising. The younger talent in Gibraltar will benefit from these changes in local football and hopefully we will see many of these become professionals in the near future.

Domestically, a recent move from Lincoln, where Perez had been for 18 years, to Manchester 62, was completed under perhaps unsatisfactory circumstances. Perez was honest about the circumstances surrounding this move, saying that: “It was a very hard decision to leave Lincoln after having played for the club for 18 years, but due to unnecessary changes within the club I started to realise it was time for me to move on. On another note I would like to thank Manchester for welcoming and believing in me, and allowing me to do what I love most which is playing football.”  

When asked whether he felt Lincoln treated him right, Perez was frank in saying: “No, I don’t feel I was treated right and felt devalued after having given so much for the club and team.” Perez is more positive about the future though, saying: “It feels good to be back on the pitch where I belong playing for my current club Manchester 62. Playing football is what I most enjoy and I feel that the more I play, the more confidence I gain, and that will allow me to further improve as a player.”


Lincoln remain top after win over St Joseph’s

Lincoln Red Imps remain top of the league after goals from Roy Chipolina & Kyle Casciaro secured a 2-0 victory over St Joseph’s.

The first half started with Lincoln on the attack and bringing out a number of saves from St Joseph’s keeper Jordan Perez. Lincoln had a great chance early on as Liam Walker played Lee Casciaro through on goal but the striker’s shot was excellently saved by Perez.

Lincoln broke the deadlock fifteen minutes in, Liam Walker delivered a corner which found Anthony Bardon on the edge of the area, the midfield picked out Roy Chipolina at the far post, the captain controlled and slotted his shot into the top corner. St Joseph’s players and fans were unhappy with the decision as they felt Roy Chipolina was offside but the goal stood.

Minutes later St Joseph’s had a great chance to equalise, Jose Luis Verdejo through ball sent Jorge Torres through on goal, the winger struck his effort wide. Three minutes later Lincoln made it 2-0, Daniel Cifuentes’ cross found Kyle Casciaro at the back post, the striker controlled and slotted his shot away.

St Joseph’s came battling back, Juan Carlos Polo’s free-kick found Jamie Contreras’ in the middle, the defenders shot was saved by Raul Navas and the rebound cleared off the line by Cifuentes. Just before half-time horror struck, Joseph Chipolina received a head injury and was knocked unconscious, thanks to some quick thinking of Jordan Perez and medical attention from Keith Ramirez, the full-back regained conscious and was able to walk off the pitch. 

The second half started with Lincoln making a substitution, Joseph Chipolina was replaced by Yeray Blasco. Blasco got involved straight away, the midfielder latched onto a through ball and shot but his effort went wide. As the game went on the St Joseph’s fans started getting more frustrated with the refereeing decisions and they had a case as it wasn’t the great game from referee Glen Gilbert.

With less than five minutes remaining St Joseph’s went down to 10 men as Ivan Lobato was sent off for a second bookable offence. Just before full-time Saints stand-out player Juan Carlos Polo played the ball to Borja Gomez Torres, the striker’s shot was saved by Navas.

Lincoln were able to see out the four minutes of added time and walked away with a vital three points. This win sees Lincoln move top and play Angels next while St Joseph’s remain sixth and face Gibraltar United.