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:
Stadium: Gundadalur Stadium (5,000 capacity)
Manager: Heðin Askham (FAR)
Number of League titles: 22
Number of Cups: 26
Player stats in 2014:
National Team Players:
Benjaminsen, Vatnsdal, Harldsen and Gestsson all featured against Gibraltar in March 2014.
Team Statistics in 2014: