Photographs are copyrighted to Club Official Photographer Christopher Milan.
Match corresponding to the 1st Round of the Gibraltarian Premier Division and played on Thursday 22nd September 2016 at 20:30
Gibraltar United Football Club 2 – 2 Manchester 62 Football Club
Montovio (2, 1 P)
Gibraltar United Football Club
1 Kyle ‘Chino’ Goldwin
19 Brad Power
5 Jason Pusey
21 Erin Barnett
22 Jamie Currer
24 Jamie Bosio
8 Andrew Hernandez
26 Ashley Rodriguez
2 Carl Thomas
4 Anthony Hernandez
7 Robert Montovio (C)
Dexter Panzavechia on for Andrew Hernandez
Aymen Mouehli on for Brad Power
Max Bothen on for Jason Pusey
Gibraltar United’s Premier Division kicked off versus Manchester 62 today. Football is back after the long summer hiatus and it pitted United against a team we took 4 points off last season. 6 debutants made their first starts for the club with Jason Pusey and the Hernandez brothers lining up against their former team. Jamie Bosio and Ashley Rodriguez anchor a new look midfield while Erin Barnett makes his first start in a Gib Utd shirt after his deadline day move from Lions FC. The club has made a big effort to recruit quality local players and face the season with optimism and with that never say die spirit that characterised our fight last season. Manolo opted for a 3-5-2 formation and is looking to the new partnership of Montovio and Hernandez upfront to deliver the first 3 points of the season.
United also debuted our new all white away kit that added a retro touch to the line-up. Former Captain Andrew Lopez lined up against United, in a more advanced position that he had been accustomed to off late at United, joining fellow former United player Medina. Man 62 started the game the brighter of the tow possession wise but did not create anything of real danger for our 3 center backs to deal with. Erin Barnett showed from early on why United signed him and Jason was proving to be strong and commanding in the air. Chino had no shots to save as Man 62’s possessions created no real penetration, their only chance in these early stages came from a Currer back-pass that was pounced on by Toncheff but Chino deal with it easily.
United gradually clawed themselves back into the game. Bosio was excelling in his role as Marshall of the midfield and conducted his lieutenants in Pishu and Rodriguez around him. Anthony began to show his class as we began to dominate the ball but like Man 62 found little in terms of that final killer pass. Both defences had little to worry about it was not until Man 62’s Fran Mejias frankly buried a peach of a free kick that left Chino with no chance. The awarding of the foul leading up to the goal is another matter altogether and it was the first of many questionable decisions by Mr Canepa during the game.
The adversity faced by the goal, as usual, spurred United on that finally began to take the game to Man 62. The latter began to withdraw its lines closer to their goal and the pressure finally told. Man 62 debutant keeper Keita flapped at a cross deep into the first half injury time. The ball fell to the excellent Barnett who drilled in a shot into the crowd that was tapped in by none other than poacher extraordinaire John Wayne, ie Montovio. It was just rewards for the team’s efforts and the nature of the goal conceded.
The goal spurred United on at the start of the second half that was the mirror of the first with Man 62 unable to keep the ball and United pressing. Though no real danger to Keita’s goal was forthcoming it was the player’s in Red chasing the ball. That was until the 70th minute. In a rare forray forward the ever dangerous Toncheff, who had minutes before caused Brad to receive a yellow card, rifled in a shot after clearing the defence. Chino was the equal of the shot, parried it and it fell into the path of Ayman Mouheli (who had just come on as a sub for the injured Power). The distance between the keeper and the defender was less than a meter and the ball came off Chino at speed. As he got up to continue the game, the ball safely ensconced in his hands, Mr Canepa blows for a deliberate pass back to the keeper! Despite protestations Toncheff was able to ultimately reap the benefits of the referee’s interpretation of events by thundering a blistering shot past all 10 United men rushing to smother the ball.
But this team does not know when to quit. With Man 62 seeking to kill the game off Max Bothen came on for his debut for Jason Pusey indicating a belated indication from the manager to actually attack the opposition. Perseverance pays off as with time almost up the 62 keeper inexplicably came off his line and barrelled Montovio off his feet near the edge of the area. Mr Canepa did not hesitate to point to the spot despite the vociferous Man 62 protests. To be honest the goalkeeper had no business being where he was and made the ref’s decision easy to make. Robert, as usual, was bang on target.
It proved to be the last action of the game. A turgid one at times but with several explosive flash points. First point on the board and perennial champions Lincoln up next.
The Gibraltar Football Association has today announced that Gibraltar will have three teams competing in European competitions as of next season. This is due to the progress made by Lincoln Red Imps FC and Europa FC in the past two seasons thus raising Gibraltar’s UEFA coefficient.
As a result the league winners will go to the UEFA Champions League qualifiers, the Rock Cup Wininers in to the UEFA Europa League qualifiers and be joined there by the 2nd placed team. In the event that the Rock Winner finishes in the 1st or 2nd position in the league the remaining UEFA Europa League place will go the team in 3rd.
Having achieved the target of staying in the top flight, Gibraltar United’s football department got its boots on sharpish and delved sharply into the transfer market to try and get ahead of the other teams amid rumours of new regulations that would introduce a set number of locals in the starting line up thus making the Gibraltarian football player a commodity.
The manager had given the Board and Committee the players he wanted signed and the positions he wanted reinforced and the club made a major effort to try and meet the targets set. Bruno’s Magpies forward Max Bothen was the first player to sign, Manolo having been impressed with his physique and powerful forward play in Division 2. He eagerly accepted the challenge to play in the Premier Division and quickly put pen to paper. Paul Podesta, a player of similar characteristics, also resigned for the club. Paul signed on last summer but an injury relapse meant that he had to drop out before a ball was kicked in anger. Having been given a clean bill of health he once again took up the challenge to don the red and white.
Manolo had also asked for more quality in midfield and the next four acquisitions saw to that. GFA internationals Jamie Bosio and Anthony Henrnadez were to join from Lincoln and Manchester 62 respectively. One adding grit and power to our midfield the other a touch of finesse and class. Anthony was joined by his brother Andrew while Lions FC’s midfield terrier Ashley Rodriguez would also bolster the middle of the park. His tenacious performances had certainly caught the eye last year and he was one of the top midfielders in the division.
The defence was another area that needed reinforcing. Jason Pusey joined from Man 62 bringing composure and a commanding presence at the back. Aymen Mouheli also joined from Lions. He had recently received his Gibraltarian Nationality meaning he qualified as a local as per the club’s philosophy. Another classy addition to the centre of the defence. Jesse Victory was prised away from Manchester 62 while Dion Hammond came in from Glacis United FC. The latter however would be finishing his studies in the UK and despite impressing in pre-season we will surely see the best of him next year. GFA International Erin Barnett was a deadline day signing from Lions FC, another marquee signing and once again stating the club’s intention to push on from last year. Dani Wink came in as cover for Chino and so did highly rated young keeper Tyron Oton from Lincoln’s U17s. Tyron has pedigree in the club’s history as his grandfather is the famous ‘Tiger’ of years past.
Ins unfortunately mean outs too. The Gilbert brothers both left to join Europa FC, no doubt benefiting from the local players rule. Andrew Lopez signed for Man 62 while Adrian Lopez dropped a division to sign for Olympique 13. Alan Parker joined a very ambitious Mons Calpe team while Jaydan Catania, Ayden Viñales and Dylan Borrell are all in UK pursuing their studies. A number of other players were also released as the manager expressed his desire to work with a squad of 25 players this season.
All in all some shrewd business dealings by the club.
The Gibraltar National Team is currently away in Portugal getting ready for a historical first ever FIFA World Cup Qualifier versus Greece on the 6th September 2016.
Mr Wood, national manager, selected four Gibraltar United players to represent Gibraltar in this match. These were Robert Montovio, Chino, Jamie Bosio and Anthony Hernandez. The former two repeat a call up after being involved with the national squad last March. The latter, two of our new Summer signings, get a first call up as Gibraltar United players.
Thrown into the mix was a friendly game versus recently crowned European Champions Portugal. Though Gibraltar was at the wrong end of a 5-0 scoreline the lads gave a very creditable first half performance limiting Portugal to a a very fortuitous one goal lead. Anthony came onto the field 20 minutes into the game substituting an injured Anthony Bardon while Jamie came on as a Half Time substitute. Playing in front of a partisan 22,000 strong crowd must have been an experience and the club is proud to have these four players representing Gibraltar.
Attention now turns to the aforementioned historical FIFA fixture versus former European Champions Greece next Tuesday. We wish the National Team the best of luck as the whole of Gibraltar gets behind them.