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Gibraltar Euro 2016 qualifier Squad Announcement

Gibraltar national coach, Allen Bula announced his squad for the upcoming Euro 2016 qualifier against Poland. Mr Bula seemed confident coming into his first press conference for the European Qualifiers, touching upon the match vs Poland. He seemed unfazed by the gathering journalists and the GBC camera crew and answered the questions accordingly.

Full squad can be located here Squad List

Mr Bula highlighted that he had named a 21 man squad, but has yet to decide on who his final 2 members of his squad would be. He stated that he had in mind three players, however he gave no indication as to who they were. He also commented that he would have until next week to decide on the final selections.

Roy Chipolina has once again been selected as the national team’s captain.

Mr Bula confirmed that the team would not be ‘parking the bus’ against Poland. Not giving much away on how he would approach the game, he did however mention that he was very happy with the last two matches played and would implement this kind of style against Poland, keeping in mind that the opposition this time round is of a higher calibre than the last two opponents. He did ambitiously state that a realistic result for his side would be a draw.

Casting an eye upon the players selected, Kaaron Macedo was a surprise call up as he had been overlooked for some time despite his consistent performances for St Joseph’s. Mr Bula did say however that UEFA regulations state that there needs to be a minimum of 3 goal keepers per squad. Asked about selecting Macedo, Mr Bula stated that he considered Macedo to be of the same calibre as Perez and Robba and quoted

“he is a very good goalkeeper”.

Nearly a year on after his agonising knee injury in the opening league game of last season, Lincoln striker, Lee Casciaro has been called up into the squad for the first time since the Slovakia game. No doubt this will be welcome news for Lee after a long rehab session, he has now earned a call up after impressing in Lincoln’s Champions League debut in July. This also means that the 3 Casciaro siblings could be on the field in a UEFA recognised game, a feat which is probably a first in the International scene.

Mr Bula was asked about his preference on choosing a lone striker from the five he could pick from, whether it would be wise to give George Cabrera an opportunity as he was last years joint league top goal scorer. Mr Bula’s reply was that he had been the goal scorer in the Gibraltarian league but had been very impressed with Kyle Casciaro’s performances of late at an international level and therefore gave us an inclination of his preference being Kyle Casciaro starting up front alone.

Asked about the absence of Anthony Bardon on the squad list after impressing last time around, and whether he was one of the three players he had in mind, Mr Bula replied that he was not going to say who these players were as it would be unfair to them.

Looking at the squad list, it is apparent that there is a lack of central midfield cover and the likes of Anthony Bardon, Aaron Payas and Liam Clarke all of whom have previously played for Gibraltar’s national team could be in the mix to be called up.

Another point raised was the fitness levels of his squad. He clearly stated that this was a slight concern as the fitness of his players is controlled by their respective clubs. And receiving the players to train on such short notice makes an national team managers task even more difficult, especially when it comes to assessing the fitness levels of his players. However he did hope that those fitness levels were maintained at a high standard and did continue by stating that he has noticed a big change in his players regarding their professionalism as footballers on a whole. Stating that although most of his players were amateur footballers they seemed very professional on and off the field, highlighting that the main difference between his players and those which they will now play against is their ‘fat wallets’. and professional footballers life style.

With little less than a month to go for what arguably will be Gibraltar’s biggest game, all eyes will be set on the final squad announcements and all going well no players should suffer injuries in the opening days of the new season.

For more on the squad selection, see our interview with Allen Bula which will be posted later today.

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Gibraltar Premier League Managerial Merry-go-rounds

The preseason is well under way for the Premier League clubs in Gibraltar. With Lincoln and College’s European campaigns over after 1 round, all 8 clubs are now focused on the new league season which is now approximately 5 weeks away.

This season will mark the start of the new football calendar in Gibraltar. With the season starting in August, clubs have had to step up their preseason plans earlier than expected. The league requires the earlier start to be in line with similar UEFA nations and the European Qualifiers for 2016.

Other aspects of the local game that have changed during the closed season are the managers of some of the elite clubs in Gibraltar. Whilst Lincoln, Manchester 62, Lynx, Glacis Utd and St Joseph’s remaining with the same head coaches, College Europa, Lions Gibraltar and newly promoted Britannia have all appointed new coaches for the 2014/15 season.

After the surprise dismissal of coach Juan Luis Perez Herrera from the College dugout, the Dolphins appointed Jose Requena as their boss. Requena, a former goalkeeper at Spanish clubs Real Betis, Elche, Los Barrios and Balonpedica Linense, was assistant coach last season and has been promoted to head coach for the upcoming campaign. College have continued to scour the Spanish market for players bringing in a number of players from Spain which will no doubt increase the flair of the side going forward. A question will although be raised on the chances of the local based players breaking into the 1st team. Requena favours a more intense approach to his training methods and his players seem to have benefitted from this from their spirited displays against FC Vaduz in the Europa League.

College Europa boss Jose Requena on the touchline during their Europa League qualifier v FC Vaduz

College Europa boss Jose Requena on the touchline during their Europa League qualifier v FC Vaduz

Requena’s predecessor at College, Juan Luis Perez Herrera has taken over at FC Britannia. New boys to the Premier League, Britannia have surprised the local football community with this appointment. A real statement of intent from the club to appoint a manager who has plenty of pedigree locally, after guiding College to the Rock Cup final and hence the Europa League. Britannia announced the arrival of their new boss on twitter:

Juan Luis Perez Herrera spoke to GFT upon his appointment as manager:

I feel extremely thankful for the interest shown by FC Britannia since the 1st day we sat down for talks. I am very excited to start the new season and delighted to once again to be involved in football in Gibraltar.

 

Britannia captain James Watson with new coach Juan Luis Perez Herrera

Britannia captain James Watson with new coach Juan Luis Perez Herrera

Britannia will have their work cut our for this season after the 2nd year under UEFA means clubs are more determined to reach their objectives to qualify for Europe. Herrera however has more modest targets:

Our objectives for the season begin with humility. We are the new comers to the league so we don’t set ourselves targets with respect to league position. We will play every game and the effort we put into those games will determine our position at the end of the season. The squad is very excited, between those players that have been longer at the club who have strived to see the team in Premier, to the new crop of players brought in during the summer who are just as excited to play in the top flight. They all have the same idea – with effort comes results. I am delighted with the effort and work rate the players are demonstrating in training.

James Watson, one of the men involved in the deal to bring in Herrera, also spoke to GFT regarding their new man.

The moment we got promoted, we knew we had to convert the club to a premier standard. Alongside everything else, having ‘Juanlu’ appointed as manager shows the progress made and direction the club is going. Very much looking forward to our partnership this season.

With Britannia already announcing the signing of some promising youngsters, the future looks bright for the new boys in Premier.

Lions Gibraltar have been doing the work quietly during the preseason. After a promising start last time round, their season began to unravel and just managed to avoid the relegation playoff by drawing against College in the penultimate league game. The club announced the change to the management team via twitter:

Although not officially announced by the club, Lions Gibraltar F.C. are believed to have appointed Jeff Wood as club technical director and head coach of the first team after the departure of previous head coach Steve Cummings.

Potential new head coach of Lions Gibraltar, Jeff Wood

Potential new head coach of Lions Gibraltar, Jeff Wood

Wood is an experienced coach who has been involved in professional football as player and manager working with junior and senior professionals for over 30 years. His playing career combined over 500 professional 1st team appearances. He is familiar with Gibraltar football having worked and coached with national teams both at youth and senior level.

Most recently he was appointed as the goalkeeping coach for the Wales U19 and Wales U21 national teams as well as Conference Premier side Luton Town.

An exciting appointment by Lions should it become confirmed. A club with a strong youth setup, Wood would be the perfect man to continue the clubs progression and develop their talented youngsters.

An interesting time for clubs in Gibraltar, and with 5 weeks to go, there could may well be more interesting stories in the pipelines.

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Europa League Preview

23rd June 2014 was another Historic landmark in Gibraltar football as for the 1st time, a local club was entered for the draw for the UEFA Europa League. All eyes were on College Europa to see who they will face in their inaugural European campaign. For obvious reasons, they were unseeded.

College v Vaduz

College Europa v FC Vaduz.

College Europa discovered their opponents yesterday for their first ever UEFA Europa League qualifier. Their opponents will be FC Vaduz from Lichtenstein.

College will play travel away to play the 1st leg on the 3rd of July whilst the 2nd leg will played at the Victoria Stadium on the 10th July. The winners of the tie will face Polish side Ruch Chorzow.

GFT was able to get reaction from the College camp after the draw was made. Manager Jose Requena (former goalkeeper for Betis) was in a defiant mood:

We face a complicated team that plays in the Swiss league which was a budget of approx. €10m. We will go over there and try to make things difficult for them and see if we can bring a good result back to Gibraltar

Team captain Robert Montovio also gave his reaction to the draw:

I’m very excited to have the chance to play in the Europa League. Not in my wildest dreams would I have ever imagined this was going to happen. I do not know much about FC Vaduz but we will give it our all to try and win and make Gibraltar proud.

Last season’s top scorer, Argentinian Striker Cristian Toncheff also reacted to the draw:

I am very happy that the draw has helped College Europa continue to make history and with it take us to Liechtenstein to face a great club.

Young central midfielder Jamie Bosio also gave his reaction to the draw:

They have plenty of European qualifying experience. We can find out as much as we can about them because they’ve been involved on the European football scene since 1992 but it will be difficult for them to find anything on us here in Gibraltar, and that might benefit us. Any of the 5 teams that we could have been drawn with was always going to be difficult in our first European campaign, but we will keep doing as we have been for the last 3 weeks and keep working hard. We will attempt to give a good account of ourselves abroad not just for us but more importantly for the whole of Gibraltar

FC Vaduz play their domestic league football in Switzerland and finished 1st in the Swiss Challenge League (Swizz 2nd level) earning promotion to the top tier of Swiss football for the 2014/15 season. Their European qualification has come via the Liechtenstein cup as winners. There is no domestic league football in Liechtenstein.

But what else do we know about the team from Liechtenstein. Here is all the info you need:

Formed: 1932

History:

Vaduz have been required to pay a fee to the Swiss Football Association in order to participate as a foreign club. There have been calls for this agreement to be revoked, but discussions have meant that a permanent arrangement has now taken place for a Liechtenstein representative to be allowed to participate in the Challenge League or Super League in future.

From the 2001–02 season, Vaduz played in the Swiss Challenge League (formerly called Nationalliga B), the second tier of the Swiss league system. Since then, Vaduz have been one of the best teams in the Challenge League and gave serious challenges towards promotion to the Super League, especially in 2004 and 2005, playing two-leg play-offs in both cases. In the 2007–08 season, Vaduz secured promotion to the Swiss Super League on 12 May 2008 by winning the Challenge League on the final day of the season, giving Liechtenstein a representative at the highest level of Swiss football for the first time. Vaduz, however, were relegated back to the Challenge League after one season in the top flight. Vaduz finally returned to top level after 5 years in Challange League last season.

Location:

Vaduz

Stadium: Rheinpark Stadion (7,838 capacity)

Liecht

FC Vaduz’s Rheinpark Stadion set between the beautiful Alps

Manager: Giorgio Contini (SWI)

Number of League titles: 3 (Swiss 2nd Division)

Number of Cups: 42

Player stats in 2014:

Vaduz squad

National Team Players:

Liechtenstein squad

 

 

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Champions League Preview

Lincoln v HB

23rd June 2014 was another Historic landmark in Gibraltar football as for the 1st time, a local club was entered for the draw for the UEFA Champions League. All eyes were on Lincoln Red Imps  to see who they will face in their inaugural European campaign. For obvious reasons, they were unseeded.

Lincoln v HB Torshavn.

Lincoln Red Imps today discovered their opponents for their first ever UEFA Champions League qualifier. Their opponents will be HB Torshavn from the Faroe Islands. Some of the Faroese players will be known to Lincoln’s Gibraltar national team players as they faced each other in a UEFA friendly in Gibraltar back in March 2014.

Lincoln will play their home leg 1st on the 2nd of July whilst the 2nd leg will be held in the Faroe islands on the 9th July. Lincoln have the unenviable task of travelling approximately 3,000 km to play their 2nd leg in what will surely be very cold conditions up in the Norwegian sea. The winners of the tie will face Serbian League runners up Partizan Belgrade. (Red Star Belgrade, the champions of the 2013–14 Serbian SuperLiga, would have qualified for the Champions League second qualifying round, but were banned by UEFA for breaching UEFA Club Licensing and Financial Fair Play Regulations)

The Lincoln players will however be phased with the unenviable task of traveling nearly 3,000 km in order to face their opponents in what will probably be very cold conditions up in the Norwegian sea.

GFT was able to get reaction from the Lincoln camp after the draw was made. Manager Mick McElwee was obviously delighted with the draw:

We are tremendously excited about the draw. We have now more information which makes the expectation and the anticipation even greater. We are looking forward to our first match which will be the home match against HB Torshavn so we’re just getting prepared for that. We have spoken to the representatives of HB Torshavn here at the UEFA ceremony, we are happy that they are fully cooperating with us and that we’ve got all the information we need to make our trip to Torshavn a successful one as well.

Gibraltar national team captain Roy Chipolina also gave his reaction to the draw:

Any team we drew was going to be tough, but I’m sure we will rise to the challenge. The team has been working very hard in training for what is the biggest game of our football careers.

Lincoln captain Daniel Duarte also reacted to the draw:

Firstly, very happy to be part of this draw and to be the first Gibraltar team to participate in the Champions League. We knew that all 3 teams that we could face were going to be equally difficult opponents. Being the first time we participate we are always going to be the underdogs. Not very happy in terms of the draw because of the difficulty in getting to the Faroe Islands which means that many of our fans won’t be able to make it. But still, we hope that the heat in Gibraltar in July, playing in our stadium and having all of our fans present will give us a good advantage in the first leg.

HB are currently 2nd in the 2014 league season in the Faroe Islands and are 5pts behind local rivals B36 Tórshavn at the half way stage of the season. Interestingly, both clubs home colours’ are black and red. Like Lincoln, HB Tórshavn are the most prestigious club in the Faroe Islands in terms of titles.

But what else do we know about the Faroese Champions. Here is all the info you need:

Formed: 1904

Location:

Torshavn

Stadium: Gundadalur Stadium (5,000 capacity)

IMG_5711

HB Torshavn’s  Gundadalur Stadium

Manager: Heðin Askham (FAR)

Number of League titles: 22

Number of Cups: 26

Player stats in 2014:

Torshavn Squad Stats

National Team Players:

Torshavn Players

Benjaminsen, Vatnsdal, Harldsen and Gestsson all featured against Gibraltar in March 2014.

Team Statistics in 2014:

Torshavn Stats

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College Europa sack Perez Herrera

untitled

College Europa Boss sacked after 3 months in charge

College Europa have parted company with their head coach, Juan Luis Perez Herrera. Having recently guided the ‘Dolphins’ to the Europa League thanks to their Rock Cup final appearance against Lincoln, it could have been assumed that his job was safe.

Perez Herrera took over in March 2014 after the departure of Manuel Sanchez Nuñez from the College dugout. When Perez Herrera took over, College had amassed 12 points from their opening 7 games of the league campaign, only 4 points behind then leaders Lynx FC at the half way stage. The decision to sack Sanchez Nuñez appeared questionable at the time solely based on results.

However, Perez Herrera’s record in the league was worse than his predecessor as he was only able to achieve 7 points from their 7 games in 2014 leading to a 4th place finish ahead of Glacis United only by virtue of a slightly better head to head record.

Whilst College were solid and harder to break down under Sanchez Nuñez, under Perez Herrera, the players seemed to be set free from their shackles and they were allowed to express themselves more on the pitch. This reflected on their goal tally under both managers:untitled

NB: Sanchez Nuñez’s last game in charge was a 9-1 win over 2nd Division side Boca Juniors

Perez Herrera’s main objective was to qualify for one of next season’s European competitions. As Lincoln raced away to claim their 12th consecutive league title and thus confirming their place in next season’s Champions League, the final remaining European qualifying spot would go to the winner’s of the Rock Cup. It was in the Rock Cup where Perez Herrera’s men flourished. In his first game as manager, he handled the pressure of European qualification and beat Glacis United 4-2 in the quarter finals.

College Europa then battled against Manchester 62 in the semi final. They defeated the odds with 10 men and an injured Joseph Chipol to beat the Red Devils 4-2 on penalties to reach the final. College went on to lose the final 1-0 against Lincoln thanks to a Liam Clarke injury time winner. What ensued was a conflict in the GFA board room as to who had actually qualified for the Europa League, the runner up in the cup or the runner up in the league. The verdict was delivered 4 days later in favour of College Europa.

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Perez Herrera meets UEFA President Michel Platini ahead of the 2014 Rock Cup Final v Lincoln

Perez Herrera had already started making plans for the forthcoming Europa League campaign in July after being entrusted with control over 1st team matters early last week. However, an emergency meeting of the College Europa board a few days later resulted in the decision to sack the manager.

Speaking to GibFootballTalk, Juan Luis Perez Herrera said he had

not yet received a reason as to his dismissal and was still awaiting an official response from the club on this regard.
 

College managers this season have been very keen on seeing all aspects of the club flourish especially their youth teams, and Perez Herrera was very proud of the success achieved by the club’s youngsters this season. He went on to add

I feel the decision taken by the board is an injustice. I have worked very hard these past few months to achieve the goals that were demanded from me. I have also had no problems with anyone at the club, a club which has a real family atmosphere.
 

Perez Herrera posted this on his Facebook account yesterday afternoon:

untitled

Translation: I communicate my disconnection from College Europa after I renewed this past Monday 19th May and working towards next season. This same morning [Friday] I was told that I was no longer the manager without explanation (Clear it cannot be results based as I qualified the team for Europe.) I want to give thanks to the person that had faith in me (and was correct), to those who have battled for me to remain despite the difficult circumstances and to the players because without them I would have not achieved this life time dream. Best of luck to College Europa in their next chapter except whenever we come face to face…you never know.

Earlier in the week, senior club officials announced that they had parted company with College Europa. Posting in one of College Europa’s social media outlets, Jonathan Da Costa commented

Due to great differences with College Europa FC board of directors as from now me Jonathan Da Costa, Malcolm Martin and Kevin Payas will resign from our current position in College Europa FC. We will no longer belong to this club which we formed and we will no longer take any decisions dealing with this club. We think things have not been dealt with clearly with us and work has been done without consulting us in very important football matters.
 

Only days after this was posted the 3 reversed their decision and were back with the club. Two days later, the announcement of the sacking of Perez Herrera was making rounds in social media.

College Europa FC have yet to make any official statement regarding the departure of Perez Herrera which can only fuel further speculation as to what has happened behind the scenes. It is rumoured that the club are looking for a high profile appointment for the manager’s role.

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Another pot of gold on the cards for Gibraltar’s European Qualifiers?

After the Gibraltar Football Association confirmed the U-turn on the decision to allow College Europa into the Europa League next season at the expense of Manchester 62, a decision at the higher echelons of European football could see Gibraltar’s European representatives benefit financially from the recent Financial Fair Play (FFP) investigations.

Recently it was revealed by UEFA that clubs in breach of FFP rules will be fined and dealt with other sanctions. It was recently revealed that high profile clubs such as Manchester City and Paris Saint Germain have been fined by European Football’s governing body for breaches of FFP. Furthermore, the money raised from penalising clubs who were found to be in breach, would be split between other teams as solidarity payments

It appears that UEFA president Michel Platini and general secretary Gianni Infantino plan talks with the chairman of the European Club Association, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, to discuss precisely how to redistribute the fines levied from the FFP sanctions announced last week.

Platini and Infantino want what is a pot worth up to £114.5m to be shared not only among all 237 clubs competing in Europe this season and next but also teams in domestic leagues affected by their rivals’ overspending.

If the money is distributed evenly, the most any team could hope to receive is approximately £380,000, although it may be as little as £138,000 if those guilty of FFP breaches avoid paying their whole fine by fulfilling certain obligations. However, for Gibraltar clubs, seeing as they weren’t involved in European competitions this season could possibly mean that their ‘solidarity’ payments would be significantly lower than other European counterparts.

UEFA is hoping the prospect of such solidarity payments will reduce the threat of clubs appealing the settlements agreed with those who broke the rules.

The other clubs, who accepted lesser sanctions, were Galatasaray, Trabzonspor and Bursaspor from Turkey, the Russian sides Zenit St Petersburg, Anzhi Makhachkala and Rubin Kazan, and Levski Sofia from Bulgaria.

As for the club’s in Gibraltar, Lincoln Red Imps and College Europa who will both feature for the first time in European club competitions for the 2014/15 season, could be set to pocket an extra amount of funding from UEFA thanks to the transgressions of those clubs higher up in the football food chain. At the same time, Manchester 62, who were recently told by the GFA that they would be compensated due to the decision to deny them Europa league football next year, could also benefit from this situation.

All in all, it appears that these clubs might be benefiting from FFP, which also leads to the notion of an uneven playing field for local clubs in the GFA Premier Division next season.

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The Coach Corner – Rock Cup Final: Tactical Analysis

GFA Rock Cup Final
Lincoln Red Imps FC vs College Europa FC
10th May 2014
Pictures by snaprimages

lincoln college

The showpiece event in Gibraltar’s football calendar saw a fiercely contested Rock Cup Final between league and cup winners Lincoln Red Imps and this season most revamped side, College Europa FC.

The game itself was played in the sweltering heat down at a packed Victoria Stadium in front of the GFA’s guest of honor, UEFA president Michel Platini along with Deputy Secretary General Theodore Theodoris, Head of Football Development Jean Francois Domergue, and Head of President’s Office Kevin Lamour. Lincoln had already secured Champions League football for next season as league winners with the major debate, which at time of writing, surrounded who should be entitled to the Europa League spot.

Line Ups

Lincoln Red Imps
Lincoln Red Imps Lined up with a 4-3-3

Lincoln Red Imps Lined up with a 4-3-3

Manager Mick McElwee fielded a strong starting 11 in a 4-3-3 formation which included their regular central defensive partnership of Roy Chipolina and Ryan Casciaro flanked by 2 young, energetic and marauding full backs in Alain Pons and Jean Carlos Garcia. The a latter having been awarded the GFT Young player of the season acolade. Mark Casciaro was deployed in his preferred and natural deep lying playmaker role and was somewhat surprisingly selected ahead of Lincoln skipper Daniel Duarte. Alongside him in midfield were Joseph Chipolina and Liam Clarke, two players who’s energy and attacking abilities are highly regarded in the local game and they were tasked with linking the play with Lincoln’s very sharp attacking front 3 which included newly crowned GFT player of the season and top goal scorer, John Paul Duarte.

On the bench Lincoln had the luxury of 2 experienced and established internationals in Aaron Payas and Lee Casciaro, with the latter having been out of action for 7 months due to a knee injury picked up in the first game of the season against Lynx F.C. and which required surgery. It could be argued this season that Lincoln’s style of play has been more direct than in previous seasons where they have preferred a more possession orientated approach.

This season however, the direct approach has worked well for them in order to take advantage of the pace they offer in the final third of the pitch. This style of play also compliments the long ball playing ability of their deeper lying players namely Ryan Casciaro, who can certainly ping a ball ‘a la Paul Scholes’ and he is probably regarded as the best in the league at doing this. Another characteristic of Lincoln’s play is their emphasis on width being supplied by their full backs which is used to great effect as it is clear that McElwee grants them license to attack when the opportunity presents itself. Lincoln certainly have the ability to easily revert to the possession based approach in order to grind down the opposition and that’s when they can take advantage and assert their domination on games. Clever infield movements of their wide players create a numerical advantage which disorganizes opponents in the centre of the pitch. Naturally the width is provided by their exciting young full backs and this has been a major attribute of Lincoln’s attacking play this season. It must be noted that all of the above shows the signs of a good team playing to their strengths with the right players in their strongest positions in order to maximize their chances of success. It’s no surprise that they have been the most dominant side in Gibraltar football within the last decade.

Lincoln Red Imps Left to right, Top row: Joseph Chipolina, John Paul Duarte, Kyle Casciaro, Jordan Perez, Roy Chipolina, Ryan Casciaro; Bottom row: Liam Clarke, George Cabrera, Mark Casciaro, Jean Carlos Garcia, Alain Pons.

Lincoln Red Imps
Left to right, Top row: Joseph Chipolina, John Paul Duarte, Kyle Casciaro, Jordan Perez, Roy Chipolina, Ryan Casciaro;
Bottom row: Liam Clarke, George Cabrera, Mark Casciaro, Jean Carlos Garcia, Alain Pons.

College Europa
College Europa lined up with a 4-4-1-1

College Europa lined up with a 4-4-1-1

College’s starting formation for this game could have been interpreted as a 4-4-1-1 or a 4-2-3-1 which are both tactical variants of the 4-4-2 however the way in which these can be set out and implemented can vary considerably and is dependent on how the manager would like his team to play. Manager Perez Herrera fielded his strongest side possible from the players at his disposal with his default central defensive partnership of Tunisian Aymen Mouelhi and promising local youngster Ethan Jolley. Both centre backs complement each other well and both have had good consistent seasons. In the centre of midfield the tenacious and tactically astute Argentinean Leandro Pereyra was partnered with Jamie Bosio who has become a regular starter for the 2nd half of the season.

Montovio and Toncheff started out on the flanks for College with the skilful veteran Joseph Chipol deployed in the ‘trequartista’ role behind sharp and tricky striker, “Tostao”. During the first half of this season College’s emphasis and foundation was built on defensive and tactical organization and credit here must go to previous manager Manolo “El Chupete” Nuñez however this seemed to be his downfall as their attacking abilities seemed to suffer slightly. Current manager, Perez Herrera, seems to have found the right balance between defense and attack and has got the team playing with greater confidence in the attacking phase. He also puts emphasis and wants his side to press and push higher up onto their opponents in order to win the ball back as close to the opposition goal as possible to maximize their goal scoring threat. College also have the ability to apply a direct approach to their game focusing their play around powerful Argentinean forward Christian Toncheff, who’s strength, ability and awareness to hold the ball for supporting players is arguably the best in the league.

College Europa Left to right, Top Row: Ethan Jolley, Joseph Chipol, Lee Coombes, Matt Cafer, Aymen Mouelhi, Cristian Toncheff. Bottom row: Aiden Victor, Robert Montovio, Jamie Bosio, Cristian Cortes 'Tostao', Leandro Pereyra.

College Europa
Left to right, Top Row: Lee Coombes, Joseph Chipol, Ethan Jolley, Matt Cafer, Aymen Mouelhi, Cristian Toncheff.
Bottom row: Aiden Victor, Robert Montovio, Jamie Bosio, Cristian Cortes ‘Tostao’, Leandro Pereyra.

The Game

Due to the magnitude of the occasion, it was clear that both sides started the game nervously as neither could really take control or assert their authority on the game in the opening stages. It was evident that the College manager wanted to press high and put Lincoln under intense pressure as soon as possible in order to force mistakes which would then allow them to recover the ball as close to their opponents goal as possible. Their formation at this stage was more of an aggressive 4-2-4 with their four front players pushing up high onto the Lincoln back line. In order to try and discourage College from doing this, Lincoln adopted their preferred direct approach by focusing their play down both flanks utilizing the pace and power of both Kyle Casciaro and John Paul Duarte. Lincoln’s system of a 4-3-3 allowed them to enjoy a 3v2 overload in their favour in midfield throughout the first half. It seemed pretty clear that Chipol, in the trequartista role, had no instruction or intention to drop into midfield to at least match up to Lincoln’s 3 midfield players and this allowed Mark Casciaro time and space on the ball at every opportunity. As mentioned earlier, Lincoln can easily adapt their game to become possession orientated so when they have a numerical advantage in the centre of midfield, they can keep and recycle possession for fun.

As the game progressed Lincoln slowly started to dominate the proceedings and they had the first real chance of the game when John Paul Duarte blazed over from about 10 yards at the far post after a Kyle Casciaro cross eluded everyone in the box. Almost immediately, the game’s best chance was brilliantly saved from College keeper, Matt Cafer, as he thwarted Joseph Chipolina’s 1 on 1 effort following a perfectly weighted defense splitting pass between College’s centre backs by John Paul Duarte.

The pattern of the game became pretty clear after Lincoln’s early chances as they started to grow in confidence and were seeing much more of the ball with College continuing to press high when the Lincoln defense had possession. Lincoln are certainly the strongest team in the league in terms of possession football so once they managed to play through the high press of College is was pretty easy for them to build attacks both centrally, but primarily down both flanks. Both Garcia and Pons had very good games as they buccaneered forward to create 2v1 overloads on the flanks which was aided by the fact that College’s wide players did not track their direct opponents. The danger of this is that extra emphasis is then placed on the central midfielders to come across to assist the exposed full backs which then creates a gap in the centre of midfield for the opponent to dominate even further. Perhaps the best option for College in this game would have been to sit deep and defend with 2 banks of four along with their attacking midfielder to drop onto the deep lying playmaker to try and restrict his influence as much as possible converting their shape into a 4-5-1. By doing this they could have contained and frustrated Lincoln with focus on counter attacking with pace and power as soon as possession was recovered. College have 2 quick and powerful players in “Tostao” and Toncheff so this tactical approach would most likely have caused Lincoln far greater problems as they would have slowly pushed further forward due to College’s deep defensive organization. The 2nd leg of the champions league semi final between Bayern Munich and Real Madrid is a perfect example of a matchup between 2 teams with completely different tactical approaches. As we all know Real Madrid defended as a unit and very compactly and were able to frustrate Bayern and win the ball back in good areas of the field. They provided a real master class in counterattacking football as they caused Bayern all sorts of problems going forward who’s primary focus was to try and breakdown the opposition with possession football. This is the problem for a team who don’t have a plan B however in this game it was clear that Lincoln could have used two different plans i.e. the direct approach or the possession based approach and it was the former which was preferred by the league champions.

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College Europa’s Lee Coombes battles with Lincoln’s John Paul Duarte

 

College’s best performers on the day were certainly their central defensive partnership of Aymen Mouelhi and Ethan Jolley who both had very solid games and continually dealt with Lincoln’s crosses from the flanks. Unfortunately for College they carried little threat in the attacking phase as their use of the ball when was possession was won was not effective enough. Lincoln continued to recover possession easily. The games next half chance fell to Kyle Casciaro but fortunately for College he blazed wide at the back post from 12 yards as a cross from the advanced Garcia bypassed everyone in the area. Lincoln continued to focus their play out wide and on one occasion exposed College right back Aiden Victor brilliantly as he was caught up field after losing possession. Ryan Casciaro played a glorious long ball to Joseph Chipolina who had drifted over to the College right hand side looking to take advantage of the space that had opened up. He played a ball through to a buccaneering Kyle Casciaro however his cross into the box proved ineffective and was dealt with by the College centre backs. It was rather surprising that the College manager did nothing to at least try and restrict Lincoln’s wide play.

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College Europa’s Aymen Mouelhi chases after Kyle Casciaro

 

The College manager made his first tactical adjustment of the game around the half hour mark as he switched his captain, Robert Montovio with “Tostao”. Out of College’s front 4 attacking players Montovio is probably the only one who carries some defensive awareness so it was as bold move by the manager to remove him from the flank but his thinking was a positive one. “Tostao” is a pacey and tricky player so the move over to the left side of midfield made sense to try and expose Garcia once College regained possession. However, their ability to effectively use possession was very limited by a well organised Lincoln side.

The ball was in the net just before half time but was promptly disallowed by referee Jason Barcelo as George Cabreras effort from 12 yards went through a crowd of players. The referee deemed the goal offside as 2 Lincoln players were in offside positions and blocking the College goalkeepers line of sight. Almost immediately College themselves had a goal ruled for offside. A neat ball was played through to Robert Motonvio who put the ball into the net after he penetrated and exposed Lincoln’s right side well. The linesman was quick to raise his flag with some questioning whether Montovio was in fact offside. The half ended a 0-0 stalemate however Lincoln were looking the more likely to break the deadlock.

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Monvotio sees his effort ruled out for off-side

 

The 2nd half started with an early College chance as Christian Toncheff latched onto a free kick which arrived to him in the area but Jordan Perez managed to deny the Argentinian with a smart save. It was interesting to see that College had now moved to a 4-3-3 to match up to Lincoln in the centre of midfield to try and limit their influence in possession. This system still encourages a team to press high up with the front three spread out across the back four however if the 2 front wide players are not in peak physical condition and are not defensively smart, the system can completely fall apart as both the flanks and the centre of midfield can become completely exposed. This was the pattern in the 2nd half as Lincoln dominated possession further and seemed to have greater freedom down the flanks as both College’s wide players failed to track back. The College manger instructed his goalkeeper to go long as soon as possible during the first 15mins of the second half to try and put the Lincoln defense under pressure to try and force errors from them. This proved ineffective as the Lincoln defense managed to easily deal with this style of play and this tactic was soon proved unsuccessful. As Lincoln continued on the front foot, Liam Clarke had a great chance to put Lincoln in the lead but he blazed over from 12 yards as a poorly cleared corner from College fell perfectly for Lincoln’s attacking midfielder. College had a good chance to open the scoring from a direct free kick 25 yards out however Toncheff’s effort was sent wide.

With UEFA President, MIchel Platini looking on, The 2nd half became very flat as College now decided to drop deeper as it was clear that they were more than happy to take the game into extra time and penalties. As the game reached the latter stages, Lincoln were overwhelmingly dominating possession as they tried everything to get the goal that would win them the Rock Cup. That moment came in the 90th minute when a long throw by Joseph Chipolina, was flicked on by Roy Chipolina, and the ball was met by Liam Clarke who managed to direct the ball into the College keepers right hand post.

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Clarke nets Lincoln’s winner in stoppage time

This proved to be the winning goal as referee Barcelo promptly blew for full time as College restarted the game. There were interesting scenes at the final whistle as the College contingent were seen celebrating as if they had won the trophy however this was related to the Europa League qualification as they felt that they are the ones who have rightly qualified for next seasons competition. It turned out days later, College Europa were in fact elected into the Europa League as per 2014/15 Europa League regulations.

 

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Lincoln captain Daniel Duarte receives the Rock Cup trophy from UEFA President Michel Platini

Conclusion

 An intense game which saw Lincoln emerge as the winners. The game, especially in the 2nd half was pretty flat and dull at times and credit must not only go to Lincoln here for completing yet another clean sweep but also to College who made life tough for their opponents and were perhaps hard done by the winning goal scored right at the death. They defended admirably with Aymen Mouelhi and Ethan Jolley putting in very solid performances however they could not build on this as their attacking play and chance creation was average at best. Credit must also go to the College manager, Perez Herera, as he was not afraid in shifting his side around to try and identify the best way of causing Lincoln problems however this proved unrewarding as Lincoln continually exposed the College flanks time and time again to take advantage of the poor defensive awareness shown by College’s wide players. Fortunately for College, Lincoln weren’t as clinical in front of goal as they have been throughout the majority of the season. College could have altered their tactical approach to a more contain and counter one which could have caused Lincoln more problems going forward instead of pressing them so high up as Lincoln continually played through the press with consummate ease. One of Lincoln’s weakness over the years has been when they have become increasingly frustrated and under pressure which can make them vulnerable. By adopting this approach College could have caused greater problems for Lincoln but only if their use of possession was far more effective in their attacking transition. Overall a deserved win for Lincoln who have once again set the bench mark for the other teams to aim for next season.

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The Lincoln Red Imps squad celebrate their Rock Cup win along with the other silverware obtained this season

GFT MOTM – Liam Clarke (Lincoln)

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Lincoln’s Liam Clarke was instrumental in the Red Imps’ win

The attacking midfielder was involved in pretty much every Lincoln move as he continually showed great energy and fitness levels and linked play well. This was especially the case with with Pons and Kyle Casciaro down the left side. He always went looking for the ball to try and make something happen so it was only fitting that he grabbed the game’s only goal. It’s a shame that Gibraltar manager Bula has not included him in the recent senior squads for both friendlies coming up as he could certainly offer a different dimension to Gibraltar’s attacking play.

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The Race for Promotion in the 2nd Division

As the 2nd Division season is reaching its climax, there are still 4 clubs chasing either the title or the playoff position. Lions Pilots are not allowed to earn promotion to the Premier League, due to their affiliation to Lions Gibraltar, but nevertheless, the players will be looking to win some silverware. Lions Pilots are also in the unenviable position of challenging for a league and cup double, as the face Red Imps in the 2nd Division Cup Final.

2ndDiv promotion

Here’s how the run in for the 4 teams at the top of the table looks:

Form Guide – Last 5 games
Mons Calpe D W D W W
Lions Pilots W W W W D
FC Britannia XI L W W W L
FC Olympique 13 L D W D D

Mons Calpe SC:

The Calpeans are currently on a 7 match unbeaten run, which includes 5 wins and 2 draws. Although a new team to the division and did not feature in the early season favourites, Mons Calpe have proved everyone wrong and have surged through the league and have not been phased by the prize of promotion to the big league.

Their season started off with 4 wins out of the opening 5 games, and only a draw. The draw came against lowly Leo Parilla who had not won a game at that point.

The Calpeans have 5 games remaining and 2 of those games are against their direct rivals, Lions Pilots and FC Britannia XI. In their previous encounters against both sides, Mons have had indifferent games, losing 2-0 to the Pilots, but beating FC Britannia 2-0. Pilots are currently the form team in the Division so that game will be an interesting encounter.

Key players this season have been defender Aaron Collado. The former St Joseph’s man’s experience proves to be key in this division. Right back Alberto is a very good player and has been influential. In midfield, the quality of Stefan Cumbo and Kaylan Muscat have been instrumental in the team’s success. Shane Howe, a great player back in his youth days, is the top goal scorer. The signings of Kai and Kaylan Rumbo have given the team an important boost in speed and quality.

John Paul Bacaresse ‘Kuka’ and Giovanni Bagu are also key as they do the ‘dirty’ work for the more creative players to have a good game.

The manager, Kieran Alman, is doing a great job and is assisted by Philip Debono and James Read. The dressing room has many egos to control and the fact they are top of the league is testament to the good job the management team are doing.

If Mons can come away from both those games unbeaten, promotion could most certainly be on the cards. Only their final fixture against a rejuvenated Red Imps team could prove a difficult hurdle.

Lions Pilots:

Although they are currently the form side in the division, the Pilots by far have the toughest run in out of the 5 sides in the hunt for promotion. With 3 direct clashes against those around them, and a game against Red Imps, they could not have wished for a worse run in to the league season.

In addition to this, the Pilots also have the added distraction of playing the Red Imps in the final of the 2nd Division Cup final. This could distract the player’s attention knowing that promotion is not possible.

A few players have stood out this season for the Pilots. Most noticeably Jovan Buttigieg who has been a key player at the heart of the defence; Kenneth Chipolina who has been a driving force in the Lions Midifield. Aidan Casey has also been a key player to the team. A player who can play in all positions and has given his all when called upon. Javagn Apap has also chipped in with his fair share of goals and is a hot prospect for the future.Pilots manager Joaquin Ignacio pinned his teams’ title prospects on the upcoming match against Mons Calpe.

“We have had too many injuries and haven’t been able to field what I consider would be my best 11 but we play Mons Calpe in our next match. We won in the 1st round of the league so if we win we have a great chance.”

Ignacio also added

“Im’ also getting players back fit which is a boost.”

 

No doubt this fitness boost could be just what Lions Pilots need for this hard run in.

The Pilots know that they have a big say on whether they can win the title or not. They face Mons Calpe, Britannia and Boca Juniors in the final 5 games. In addition they also face in form Red Imps to compound the difficulty level of their run in. It remains to be seen whether this young team has it in them to pull it off.

FC Britannia XI:

Britannia were considered the preseason favourites for promotion this season. After being there or there abouts the last couple of seasons, they have gained enough experience at this level to know whats required and hopefully reach the promised land of the Gibraltar Premier League this season.

Britannia made a very strong start to the campaign, winning 5 out of their first 6 games. Their only defeat came at the hands of their promotion rivals Mons Calpe who beat them 2-0 back in October.

They did however suffer a sticky spell during the festive period where they went 3 games without a win, most notably defeats to FC Olympique and Leo Parilla by the odd goal in both occasions. Defeat last time out to Sporting dented their automatic promotion hopes slightly.

Britannia have 6 games left to catch up the leaders. 3 out of the final 6 games are against direct promotion rivals so their chances are still very much in their own hands. A mammoth encounter against leaders Mons Calpe awaits, knowing a win against the table toppers will put them in a fantastic position in terms of automatic promotion. A defeat and playoffs seem like the most likely position, especially considering Lions Pilots can not be promoted.

Playerss such as free kick specialist James Watson, tricky Paul Scholes like midfielder Christian Caetano and Kristian D’Rosiario will be crucial for their success in the final games of the season. The latter has been in great goal scoring form netting in his last 7 games. Martin Lobb is the team’s top scorer this season.

Britannia also boast from having to keepers with Premier experience in the likes of Phil Reyes and Anthony Perez.

Club Captain James Watson spoke to GibFootballTalk and said:

It’s been a typical Britannia season; some highs, some lows! We are disappointed we’ve dropped so many points but are still confident we can get the right results for remainder of season. It’s been very competitive league, the most since we started. Red imps are near bottom but are an excellent young team.

Watson also went on about their lack of fortune in the injury department:

We’ve been blighted with injuries since day 1. Martin Lobb and instrumental midfielder Liam Roche are now out for season. With George Russo being absent last month, it probably looks like he will be out for the remainder of the season

FC Olympique 13:

The new kids to the block, similar in mold to the Laguna team which emerged in 2007. A group of talented mates have come together to create this competitive side which has so far lived up to expectations and been at the sharp end for the majority of the campaign.

Their season got off to an inconsistent start with 2 wins, 3 draws and a defeat in their opening 6 games. A good run of form in the middle part of the season, in conjunction with an appearance in the Rock Cup quarter finals, propelled the team up the table.

However Olympique have stuttered of late, conceding late goals and losing out on valuable points. One win in their last 5 in addition to 3 draws is not promotion form. However fixtures favour them as the majority are against teams below them. They will face Brittania which will go a long way as to deciding their fate this season.

Most of their players will be happy staying in 2nd Division next season and taking this season as a learning experience. However should they get into the playoffs, they will give a good account of themselves.

Players will skilfull winger Daniel D’Amato, midfield general Carl Ramagge and striker Justin Santos are all players to watch out for and will give anybody a game.

Conclusion:

It has been a very exciting 2nd Division season this year. With 12 teams making up the division, it makes for end to end and unpredictable football. This year however, it may be that newcomers Mons Calpe will have just a bit too much for the rest of them and could edge out their opponents to the automatic promotion place. Lions Pilots will be the the joker in the hand. A team of very talented youngsters who can not be promoted but will go out and give professional performances which could decide where the title ends up. Brittania have been slightly inconsistent which could see them end up in a playoff spot. Olympique have been refreshing this year and had it not been for slip ups against lower league opponents, they could have well had a title winning debut season.

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U19 International – Gibraltar 2-2 Hungary Report

16/4/14 – Photos by SnaprImages

GFA v HungaryGFAu19

After the U19’s failed to score a goal in their Euro U19 qualifying group in the Czech Republic last year, an International friendly in the more recognisable surroundings of the Victoria Stadium in Gibraltar was a welcome sight.

Their opponents on the night were Hungary who will host the UEFA European Under-19 Championship from 19 to 31 July 2014. Seven teams will join Hungary in the finals, the 13th to be held since the switch from U18 classification.

This was a great opportunity for the Hungarian coaches to scout their youngster’s abilities ahead of the tournament this summer. The majority of the squad which faced Gibraltar are predominantly from Hungarian sides, but they fielded some players who ply their trade outside of Hungary; Akos Kesckes (Atlalanta), Tamas Szanto (rapid Vienna) and Rajmund Csima (Stuttgarter Kickers)

Gibraltar’s U19 players are already making a name for themselves in the Premier Division locally, in addition to some already gaining caps for the senior side at UEFA International Level. Jack Sergeant and Anthony Hernandez featured in the senior sides friendlies against Faroe Islands and Estonia respectively, whilst the likes of Scot Balentine, Erin Barnett, Francis Picardo, Alain Pons, Daylian Victor, Bradley Banda and Alex Gonzalez have been regulars for their clubs in the Premier Division this season.

Formations

Gibraltar lined up with the traditional 4-2-3-1 formation which appears to be the way Alen Bulla wants all the youth sides to play in order to facilitate the transition up the ranks as their careers progress in International football. Jolley and Sergeant added the protective layer in front of the back four, whilst the pacey Mikey Yome was the main outlet in Gibraltar’s attacking phases, supported by the trio of Anthony Hernandez, Scot Balentine and Alan Parker.

 

Gibraltar U19 Formation

Gibraltar U19 Formation

Hungary set out in a 4-1-4-1 formation. Their forcus was to have the full backs Tabaler and Spandler overlapping the wingers Csima and Toth to overload in attack and provide support for lone striker Murai.

Hungary U19 Formation

Hungary U19 Formation

 The Game

The opening exchanges were fairly cagey as both sides looked to assert themselves on the game. It was Gibraltar who had the 1st really shout in the game as their penalty appeals were turned away by local referee Jason Barcelo. Ethan Jolley grabbed possession in the midfield and played a thru ball to Mikey Yome. Although the defender had the positional advantage of the striker, Kecjkes played a horrific back pass to the keeper, which Yome latched onto in a flash. The keeper came out and clattered into the Lincoln front man but the appeals were ignored by the referee. The crowd were buoyed by this early chance for the hosts as the atmosphere grew more electric.

Hungary’s 1st meaningful opportunity on goal came on the 10th minute, as a cross from Spandler was met by Szanto, who’s header went over the bar. Shortly after, a Hungarian long throw was played into the box. The big number 9, Murai tussled to gain an advantage in the box with a defender in close proximity, but could only guide his header at the near post over the bar.

Gibraltar weathered the small period of Hungarian pressure and started to claim more of the possession. On the 17th minute, after some good hold up play by Yome, he played the ball out wide to Balentine, the Manchester 62 youngster did well to get his cross into the box, but just evaded Yome in the middle. Parker on the opposite side, collected the cross and played it back into the middle. Yome collected the ball in the box but was forced outside and eventually laid the ball off to the arriving Sergeant who struck the ball wildly without troubling Horvath in the Hungarian goal.

At the other end, Hungary won a free kick outside the Gibraltar box. A rehearsed free kick with 3 players standing over the ball was played to across the box. Spandler collected it out wide and played a consummate ball across the heart of the defence as 3 lurking Hungarian players strived to meet it. Eventually after the ball was half cleared by the Gibraltar defence, an effort was hit which Coleing in the Gibraltar goal did well to parry for a corner.

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Balentine loops the ball goalwards

The deadlock was broken on the half hour mark. A ball was played long and high into the Hungarian box. Horvath went up for the ball and was challenged by Yome. The keeper was unable to grab the ball and only parried it to Yome’s feet, who then turned and shot. Horvath made a great save to block the striker’s effort, but Balentine was on hand to collect the loose ball and dink it into the back of the net avoiding the Hungary defenders on the goal line. 1-0 to Gibraltar as the fans went wild celebrating the goal.

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Balentine looks on as his shot ends up in the back of the net

Hungary were not deterred by the goal and went on the hunt for the equaliser straight away. The Rapid Vienna player, Szanto, burst forward on a mazy run, avoiding Gibraltarian challengers and was eventually brought down by Jolley outside the box. Tabaler picked up the ball and struck it down low thru the wall but Coleing was there to again parry the ball out to a waiting Hungarian player, whose subsequent effort from 3 yards out hit the post and went out for a goal kick, however the linesman had raised his flag for offside.

A couple of minutes later Gibraltar made it 2-0. A mistake from the Hungarian defence gifted the ball straight to Hernandez. The Cadiz C.F. player had the simple task of slotting the ball calmly around the on rushing Horvath into the net to put Gibraltar 2-0 up. Jubilant scenes of celebrations by the players and fans ensued at this magnificent score line.

Hernandez sees his shot hit the back of the net

Hernandez sees his shot hit the back of the net

The Gibraltar players had not stopped celebrating as soon after, Hungary bombed down the right and Csima played a ball into the box for Szanto who was unmarked and placed a low shot beyond the reach of Coleing to make it 2-1 which is how the teams went into the dressing rooms at the half time break.

Hungary made two changes at half time. Koszecz went in goal in place of Horvath and Sejben came on in place of Csima.

The second half started slowly but after 10 minutes, Murai had an effort inside the box, but his weak effort was easily gathered by Coleing.

Gibraltar made their first substitution of the game after 55 minutes, with College Europa player Daylian Victor replacing Alan Parker, whilst Hungary brought on Jancso and Salloi in place of Vida and Murai respectively.

Salloi had two decent chances within minutes of him entering the field. Firstly, he was played through on goal down the left, but his effort was well saved by Coleing up high for a corner and within minutes he had a carbon copy of his earlier effort which he blazed over the bar.

At this point, Gibraltar replaced goal scorer Scot Balentine who had performed admirably and replaced him with Lions Gibraltar player Jules Origo.

With 25 minutes to go and Hungary seemingly on top of proceedings, they went for the jugular. Their coach pushed their full backs on and at times looked like they were playing a 3-2-5 formation as they desperately searched for an equaliser. Spandler played a dangerous looking ball into the box but Lee Coombes was there to clear for a corner. Coombes had been involved in a challenge with striker Murai at the end of the first half and required treatment at half time. The centre back had been through the wars and was visibly struggling after his encounter with Murai. He was replaced by Chad Gillingwater to a rapturous ovation by the home fans. Tristan Sergeant (Jack’s younger brother) and tricky forward Alex Gonzalez also came on in place of Lincoln pair Alain Pons and Mikey Yome.

Hungary continued going forward for that illusive equaliser. But Gibraltar were looking to attack on the counter attack. The two substitutes combined as Tristan Sergeant played Gonzalez, who has scored 2 goals in the Premier Division this season, seemed to have been played clean thru on goal, but was unable to get the ball under control. Shortly after, Victor had a shot but fired it over the bar.

Hungary nearly equalised with a direct free kick on the 80th minute. Victor brought down the marauding Hungarian player outside the box. Tabaler hit a shot which curled up and over the ball and just missed the top corner as Coleing desperately dived to try and save it.

With 7 minutes to go Hungary were dealt a blow as Lenzjer was given his marching orders for tugging back Gonzalez as the striker was flying towards goal. Referee Barcelo produced the player’s second yellow card. Victor struck the free kick but his shot went high wide and not very handsome.

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Gonzalez brought down by Lenzjer

With 5 minutes to go it was all Hungary as they bombarded the Gibraltar goal. Spandler hit a shot which was heroically blocked by the Gibraltar defence whilst Sejben later had a shot which went over the bar.

Just as Gibraltar looked to have again weathered the Hungary storm, up popped Spandler down the left and let fly an absolute rocket of shot which flew into the top corner past Coleing. If any goal deserved to level a game, that goal was certainly it.

Spandler strikes the goal of the game to make it 2-2

Spandler strikes the goal of the game to make it 2-2

The dying embers of the game were a scrappy affair as both teams looked happy with the result. At full time the Gibraltar players were joyous in their celebrations. From their defeats in the EURO qualifiers to a credible performance and draw against the U19 Euro hosts. The biggest of critics could say the players should not have been so happy to celebrate the draw just when it could have been a victory. However, the lads all gave a massive effort and to come away with a positive result was very impressive.

The Hungarian team was disciplined, moved the ball about well and were hard to break down. Had it not been for individual mistakes which lead to the goals, it would have been difficult for Gibraltar to break them down.

The teams come together at Full Time in a fair 2-2 draw

The teams come together at Full Time in a fair 2-2 draw

All in all, a great result for Gibraltar as the future looks extremely bright.

 

 

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