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Gibraltar v San Marino: Preview

Gibraltar open their 2020 UEFA Nations League campaign with a home match against San Marino this afternoon at the Victoria Stadium.

Just under 10 months after both sides last played at international level, the pair get League D Group 2 underway at 3pm, in what undoubtedly is a big game for both nations.

Speaking ahead of the game yesterday, Gibraltar Head Coach Julio Ribas said that the game will be a “very tough encounter”, but one that he expects the team, as always, to encounter with “all of our hearts, always to win”.

Meanwhile, San Marino Head Coach Franco Varrella spoke very respectfully of Gibraltar, commenting that he felt that Gibraltar were still ahead of his team in terms of professionalism, and that there was a gap between the two. Whether that was mind games, or a genuine comment, remains to be seen, but the comments from both managers highlight the nature of today’s game.

Squad News:

Gibraltar confirmed their 23-man squad yesterday, with a notable omission as Europa’s Ethan Jolley was surprisingly dropped from Ribas final squad. Notably, 12 Lincoln players have made the team after their summer transfer exploits in signing a number of HGP’s, and there could be debuts for Red Imps duo Kian Ronan and Graeme Torrilla – alongside Lynx’s Bradley Banda and Bruno’s Magpies Jaron Vinet, they make up the four uncapped players in the team. There is also a returning face in Scott Wiseman, who last played for the national team back in 2016.

For the visitors, San Marino, their biggest attacking threat, now that former Sammarinese icon Andy Selva has retired, would likely be Filippo Berardi. The winger, who was on the book of Serie A side Torino for four years, scored their most recent goal in a 3-1 home defeat against Kazakhstan in Euro 2020 qualifying.

Betting:

For the first time in a competitive international, Gibraltar go into this game as overwhelming favourites to pick up all 3 points – they are best price 1/2 to win, while the draw is 19/4 and a San Marino win is currently as high as 10/1 in places.

The bookies don’t appear to fancy goals flying in today, with Under 2.5 a short chance at 8/11, however, in the goalscoring stakes, you can get 9/5 on Lee Casciaro to score once again for Gibraltar, or 9/2 for Roy Chipolina to notch on the scoresheet – both scored in the 3-2 defeat to Georgia last year.

FG’s Predicted Lineups:

Gibraltar – Coleing; Sergeant, Wiseman, R. Chipolina, Olivero; Badr, Walker, Hernandez, L. Casciaro; De Barr, Styche

San Marino – E. Benedettini; Rossi, Simoncini, Battistini, Grandoni, Palazzi; E. Golinucci, Giardi, A. Golinucci, Berardi; Ceccaroli

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Georgia v Gibraltar: Match Preview

Gibraltar go into tonight’s game vs Georgia looking for an improvement on their previous two meetings against their opponents.

Photo © William Gracia

Both sides are without a point in Group D, with Gib ahead of Georgia on goal difference, having played a game less. However, this evening’s match in Tbilisi will prove to be a difficult one, with the hosts only having lost once on home soil since the beginning of 2018.

The match, which kicks off at 6pm Gibraltarian time (8pm in Georgia), is the first part of a double-header, where Gib also travel to Dublin to play Ireland on Monday night. The two away matches sees Julio Ribas side travel across the length and breadth of Europe for two games in just over 72 hours, and will be a test of the players fitness – however it is a challenge the team should thrive off.

For Georgia, their undoubted star player is Giorgi Chakvetadze. The 19-year old, currently at Gent, has five goals in seven appearances for the national side, and has been attracting interest from top sides across Europe. The midfielder is tipped to be the next big thing in Georgian football and possibly a star in Europe as well, so he will be one to watch out for. Tonight’s hosts also have Levan Mchedlidze, who plies his trade in Serie A with Empoli, but Tornike Okriashvili, who scored in both previous encounters against Gib, has not made the squad for this round of fixtures.

Gibraltar have the luxury of a fully fit 23-man squad to pick from at the time of writing, with no injuries believed to be affecting the side. Tjay De Barr was carrying an injury for the latter stages of the season, but the two game ban he received for 10 yellow cards domestically means he has had nearly a month without a match, and should be fit and raring to go at the Georgian defence. Meanwhile, the likes of Joseph Chipolina, Lee Casciaro and Roy Chipolina had been injury concerns, but appeared to be training as normal and would be expected to be part of the eleven this evening.

Betting*:

As usual, Gibraltar go into the game as massive underdogs, with odds as great as 80/1 that they can win today. The hosts Georgia are a best price of 1/14 to win, and as short as 1/33 in places, while a draw is generally around about 14/1 on average.

Chakvetadze, who scored four of his five goals for his country in the Nations League, is 5/4 to score anytime tonight and is likely to be one of their biggest threats, while for Gib, the likes of De Barr (13/1), Joseph Chipolina (14/1) and Liam Walker (13/1) are good odds to get a goal for Ribas side. A good in-play bet may be to wait for Reece Styche (currently 17/2 anytime score) to come off the bench if he doesn’t start, and get bigger odds on him scoring.

If you fancy there to be goals at both ends, BTTS is currently a best price of 5/2, while if you think it’ll be a similar game to Gib’s 1-0 loss to Ireland in March, under 2.5 goals is also a 5/2 shot this evening.

FG’s Predicted XI:

Goldwin; Sergeant, J. Chipolina, R. Chipolina, Olivero; Annesley; Casciaro, Bardon, Hernandez, Walker; De Barr

*Odds correct at the time of writing, and taken from Oddschecker

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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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Top 10 International Football Moments of 2016

After looking at the Top 10 moments domestically earlier this week, we now turn our eyes to the international stage, where 2016 proved to be notable for both good and bad reasons.

Here are our Top 10 International moments: Continue reading