Gibraltar

International Call Ups

Basic RGB

Julio Ribas called his first ever Gibraltar squad yesterday for the forthcoming UEFA Nations League games against FYR Macedonia at home and Liechtenstein away.

The UEFA Nations League is a new international tournament that sees all 55 of UEFA’s members associations’ national teams divided into a series of groups based upon a ranking formulated using their recent results, where they would be promoted and relegated to other groups according to their results within the group. All 55 nations are divided into leagues depending on their standing in UEFA’s rankings. 12 teams will be in League A, 12 teams in League B, 15 teams in League C, and 16 teams in League D. In each division, four groups are formed (three or four teams in each group) and play each other both home and away. Teams can also be promoted and relegated to a higher or lower division. Each group winner (there are four groups in each division) is automatically promoted to the next higher division for the next tournament. Each team placing last in its group is automatically relegated to the next lower division.

Furthermore, the UEFA Nations League will be linked with the UEFA European Championship qualifying, providing teams another chance to qualify for the UEFA European Championship.

In addition to the Nations League Finals of League A, there will be four play-offs with a similar format. Each group winner takes a spot in the semi-finals. If the group winner is already one of 20 qualified teams, rankings will be used to give the play-off spot to another team of the league. If fewer than four teams in the entire League remain unqualified, play-off spots for that league are given to teams of the next-lower league. This determines the four remaining qualifying spots for the European Championship (out of 24 total).

220px-UEFA_Nations_League.svg

Gibraltar Squad

Gib_FA_Logo_FINAL_Spot

The squad itself is a mixture of young players and established internationals. This is the intial squad that will be trimmed down for the games themselves. Gibraltar United’s contingent is comprised of Chino, Erin and Jamie. There are a number of new faces, most notably Matt Cafer who now qualifies following the change in the eiligibility rules introduced last year and Reece Styche who was last called up by Allen Bula. The increase of HGP players in the league has also given other younger players the opportunity to showcase their talents on the pitch

DZKveIGW4AEUnhr

Credit Neil Wilson

Chino kept goal in Gibraltar’s win over Latvia in March as well as keeping a clean sheet, all this in his International debut. He was justly rewarded after years of dedication and keeping goal for United. Indeed for a long time he was the only local keeper getting regular playing time in the Premier Division and his Cap was a long time coming. We wish Chino well and hope he continues his International development.

22555098_1870078673307252_2822136271166969626_n

Erin is a regular for Gibraltar and already has 11 senior caps as well as a plethora of appearances for the Under 21 and Under 19 sides. He has been a regular in United’s defensive line for the past two seasons and took a more leading role last season in particular. He turned out for the Under 21s in March’s games seeing as they were of a competitive nature but has been recalled by Rivas into the Senior side. Erin is a clear of case of how hard work and dedication reap their own rewards.

2018-08-14_22-49-38

Credit Neil Wilson

Jamie has been a stalwart of the International squad for a number of years now. He has 12 caps to his name and has played against Germany and Belgium in the past. His combatitive nature of play as well as his graft and dedication make his selection a given and he will no doubt fight to get into the XI against Macedonia. Jamie has added a further element to his play as he enjoyed his best goal scoring season in 17/18 and has already opened his account this year.

Whatever the case we urge all the football loving public to turn up at Victoria Stadium on the 6th September to give Gibraltar your support and be that 12th man on the stands. We will all be Gibraltar on that day!!

GFA 1 Vs Latvia 0

Premier League Review: Round 3

Gib_FA_Logo_FINAL_RGB.jpg

The top four sides all won their games with St Joseph’s and Gibraltar United scraping through their games against Lynx and Boca respectively. Lincoln left it late but secured a 3-0 win over Lions. Europa were able te beat Gibraltar Phoenix in the Saturday afternoon heat while Glacis United saw off heavily fancied Mons Calpe 1-0 in the last tie of the round.

Football now takes a back seat until the second week of October as Internationals of the UEFA Nations League and the music concer take over the Stadium, the last event before it becomes the National Stadium. Upon its return the league will see United face Lynx F.C. and Lions take on Europa. Phoenix and Mons is already starting to look like a 6 pointer between them while Glacis will seek to continue their streak against Boca. The tie of the round however will be the 1st versus 2nd matchup between St Joseph’s and Lincoln.

 

Round Three Results

Gibraltar United (Castillea, Cortes Narvaez)     2   1 F.C. Boca Juniors (Valdivia)
Lynx F.C. (Clinton, Bessa)     2   3 St Joseph’s F.C. (Boro, OG, OG)
Lincoln Red Imps F.C. (J,Chipolina 3)     3   0 Lions Gibraltar F.C.
Europa F.C. (Walker, Yome)     2   0 Gibraltar Phoenix F.C.
Mons Calpe S.C.     0   1 Glacis United F.C (Serra)

Round Four Fixtures

St Joseph’s F.C.     Vs Lincoln Red Imps F.C.
F.C. Boca Juniors     Vs Glacis United F.C.
Gibraltar Phoenix F.C.     Vs Mons Calpe S.C.
Gibraltar United     Vs Lynx F.C.
Lions Gibraltar F.C.     Vs Europa F.C.

League table as of 26-8-1017

2018-08-26_09-31-06

Gibraltar United vs F.C. Boca Juniors

Match corresponding to the 3rd Round of the Gibraltarian Premier Division and played on Wednesday 22nd August 2018 at 20:30. Match report brought to you courtesy of Quantocoin.

quantocoin logo

Gibraltar United 2 – 1 F.C. Boca Juniors (Gib)

Castiella
Cortes Narvaez

Gibraltar United

1   Kyle ‘Chino’ Goldwin (C)
2   Xavier Carmona
5   Erin Barnett
4   David Gomez Prieto
3   Gonzalo Guijaro
24 Jamie Bosio
6   Carlos Carrasco
10 Daniel Ponce de Leon
7   Achraf Nait
16 Fran Alvarez Benito
19 German Cortes Narvaez

SUBSTITUTES

Alvaro Castiella on for Achraf Nait
Shaun De Los Santos on for Jamie Bosio
Moises Suarez on for Fran Alvarez Benito

 

2018-08-22_10-03-13

Erin Barnett comes back straight into the team following a two match ban carried over from last season. He replaces Aymen Mouehli who is suspended for seeing two yellows in the match against St Joseph’s. First starts for Achraf Nait, who has achieved full fitness and German, fresh from his equaliser last Friday. United gunning for all three points to finish on high before the extended break coming up due to Internationals and the music festival.

f2dfcdcb-9cfd-4fe5-8e76-be8cc60c7c84

Tough, tough game that proves that Boca are finding their feet in the division and the adage of ‘no easy games’ rings true. The first half was a tight affair characterised by United’s long spells of possession but little goal mouth action. Gib Utd wanted the ball from the off and sought to control the tempo of the match by playing it from the back. Boca started an intense press from the half way line that saw both Jamie and Carlos, the latter would go on to have an outstanding match, in a pitched battle.

It was the keepers however that made the two most telling interventions of the half. First it was Chino 5 minutes in that saved a point blank range shot following a mishap between Barnett and Xavi. Then it was Perez Pichardo,not once but twice, in the Boca goal that first saved a Barnett header and then a Ponce shot down low. Achraf showed glimpses of talent with several cuts inside but could not deliver the final article. Indeed United’s players at times seemed to lack any sense of emergency going forward and play was largely slow and lethargic, playing into Boca’s hands that sought to contain and look for the out ball to the dangerous Valdivia.

2018-08-22_23-04-18

The second half however was to be far more exciting. The ball flowed quicker and movements were crisp and sharp. German had the first chance, a header that he glanced wide while corner after corner bombarded the Boca goal. However it was far from one way traffic as Boca relied on their toughness and steel to try to look for the back of the United defence and Chino was once again called into action as well as taking a painful challenge with former United player Cantelmi.

A tiring Nait was replaced by Castiella who joined Narvaez up front. It was a telling change by Lucas as he introduced a lot of mobility and directness in the attacking area. Indeed, Alvaro’s first touches were electric and he connected well with Fran on the wing. He was on the pitch a matter of minutes when he was put through followin a touch and go with Fran. A quick shimmy and he put the pall past Pichardo to give United the lead, that on the strength of the second half they deserved. Credit to Boca they fought back hard and as De los Santos came on for his debut, replacing a spent Bosio, they surged forward but with little danger and at times rather precipitated.

Ponce then had a shot from outside the box that clipped the top of the crossbar as United’s expanisve wing play was beginning to tell on the Boca line. Mr Barcelo was forced to resort to his book a large number of times as tackles and unsavoury elements of play began to permeate into the game. Nerves were taut on both sides and despite United’s forward momentum both Erin and Prieto were required to clean up at the back.

German went a long way to settle those nerves with a well taken finish on 80 minutes, his second goal in as many games. It was Castiella who gained the assist as the striker tundered the ball past Pichardo. It seemed as if United had sealed the points and indeed, had the linesman been a bit less precipitous with his flag they could have gone further ahead as two promising counters were thwarted by the flag. De los Santos tried his luck from distance and Fran also squandered a chance late on.

Valdivia, last year’s capocanioneri in Second Division, gave Boca a goal they frankly deserved. It was a lovely move that flumoxed both Prieto and Erin to rifle a shot past Chino who had no chance against the quality of the shot. It meant a tense 4 minutes of injury time but that was to be the last meaningful action of the game as Mr Barcelo duely called time on 94 minutes to leave a grateful United with 3 points.

2018-08-22_23-16-18

Premier League Review: Round 2

Gib_FA_Logo_FINAL_RGB.jpg

Gibraltar United and St Joseph’s served up a football treat on Friday evening. A 2-2 draw that had two men sent off, both teams hitting the woodwork and end to end entertainment. Lincoln capitalised on the dropped points by going 2 points clear after defeating Phoenix 2-0 though they had to sweat for their result. Boca were unlucky to lose 3-0 to Mons Calpe, the last two Calpean goals came late on as Boca energy levels dropped. Lynx put three past Lions while Europa and Glacis closed round 2 with a 0-0 draw that saw Glacis hit the crossbar very late on.

Round 3 kicks off on Wednesday evening with Gibraltar United seeking to go back to winning ways against a dogged Boca Juniors. Lions have a third stern test in the guise of Lincoln while Lynx will test their new side against St Joseph’s. Mons meet Glacis while Europa versus Phoenix will see the last Premier Division action for a while as they will now come an International break followed by an enforced hiatus due to the music concert.

 

Round Two Results

St Joseph’s F.C. (Delgado, Peña)     2   2 Gibraltar United (Ponce de Leon, Cortes Narvaez)
Lions Gibraltar F.C.     0   3 Lynx F.C. (Seatory, OG, Januszkiewicz)
F.C. Boca Juniors     0   3 Mons Calpe S.C. (OG, Pibe, Kesinovic)
Gibraltar Phoenix F.C.     0   2 Lincoln Red Imps F.C. (J.Chipolina, Cabrera)
Europa F.C.     0   0 Glacis United F.C

Round Three Fixtures

Gibraltar United     Vs F.C. Boca Juniors
Lynx F.C.     Vs St Joseph’s F.C.
Lincoln Red Imps F.C.     Vs Lions F.C.
Europa F.C.     Vs Gibraltar Phoenix F.C.
Mons Calpe S.C.     Vs Glacis United F.C.

League table as of 21-8-1017

2018-08-21_09-16-07

St Joseph’s F.C. vs Gibraltar United

Match corresponding to the 2nd Round of the Gibraltarian Premier Division and played on Friday 17th August 2018 at 20:30. Match report brought to you courtesy of Quantocoin.

quantocoin logo

Gibraltar United 2 – 2 St Joseph’s F.C.

Ponce de Leon
Cortes Narvaez

Gibraltar United

1   Kyle ‘Chino’ Goldwin (C)
2   Xavier Carmona
15 Aymen Mouehli
4   David Gomez Prieto
3   Gonzalo Guijaro
24 Jamie Boiso
6   Carlos Carrasco
20 Michael Negrette
16 Fran Alvarez Benitez
10 Daniel Ponce de Leon
9   Alvaro Castiella

SUBSTITUTES

Chico Rubio on for Michael Negrette
German Cortes Narvaez on for Xavier Carmona
Tito de Torres on for Fran Alvarez Benitez

2018-08-17_13-09-06

One change from the team that played on Tuesday evening with Chico Rubio being replaced by Fran Benitez, the latter making his debut. Tito de Torres wins a spot on the bench as United face St Joseph’s in the first heavy weight clash of the season.

It was as everyone expected a tough, physical and entertaining affair that belied the needle that exists between the sides. Any chance of a cagey game went out of the window early doors as St Jospeh’s took an early lead when last year’s Saints’ top scorer Delgado gave them a 6th minute lead.

United responded relatively quickly with Bosio shooting over the bar after some crafty footwork by Castiella. Our equaliser came via the boots of Ponce de Leon following an assist by Negrette, the latter has had an outstanding start to the season. St Joseph’s lead had lasted 7 minutes and it was game on. Indeed Michael almost gave us the lead minutes later only for his shot to cannon off the upright!

Double disaster struck soon after however. First it was St Jospeh’s taking the lead from the head of Peña shortly followed by the loss of Negrette through injury; the youngster being subbed off for Rubio 42 minutes into the first half. 5 bookings, three goals and some good football on offer. United with all to do in the second half.

2018-08-18_10-26-04

The game’s intensity continued though with less goal mouth action and more of a protracted battle. Mr Barcelo continued to brandish yellow cards and United went down to 10 men as Mouehli got his marching orders for two yellow cards; he was later joined by fromer United player Panzavechia who got booked twice in 10 minutes. Tito de Torres and German Cortes came on as Cazorla looked for an equaliser. It finally game in the dying embers of the game as Cortes bagged his first goal for the club on 86 minutes to finally beat Robba and bring back parity to the scoreline. Indeed he had a further chance seconds from the end of the game to shoot but opted instead to square the ball and the chance went begging.

The first big clash of the season did not disappoint. A fierce rivalry born last season continued and the public, a rather large one at that, enjoyed an enteratining match of football which perhaps augurs well for the local game. Spoils shared and attention now on FC Boca Juniors next weekend.

Match Review: St Joseph’s F.C.

Match Preview brought to you courtesy of Quantocoin

quantocoin logo.jpg

10569001_619676978145053_4538856783371140069_n

 

Record versus St Joseph’s F.C.

Played: 9
Won: 2
Drawn: 2
Lost: 5

Last Result: 1 – 1 (29-04-18)

Manager: Raul Procopio
Captain: Ivan Lobato
Top Scorer 17/18: Salvador Delgado (9)

Friday sees Gibraltar United’s first tough test of the season against last year’s running mate for 3rd place, St Joseph’s. The Saints come into the game following a comprehensive 5-0 drubbing of recently promoted F.C. Boca Juniors and reinforced their side over the summer. Former United players Brad Power and Evan Green were joined by Guerrero from Glacis, Al Greene from Lions and Ryan Casciaro from Lincoln. St Joseph’s will prove a tough nut to crack and the game promises to be tense and exciting.

Erin will serve the last game of his suspension but otherwise Lucas has his full squad to choose from. Some impressive performances against Lions should fill the squad with confidence for the match kicking off Friday at 20:30

Vi et Animo, Ad Victoriam

Gibraltar United F.C. vs Lions Gibraltar F.C.

Match corresponding to the 1st Round of the 2018/19 Gibraltarian Premier Division and played on Tuesday 14th August 2018 at 20:30. Match report brought to you courtesy of Quantocoin.

quantocoin logo

Gibraltar United 4 – 0 Lions Gibraltar F.C.

Mouehli (2)
Negrette
Bosio

Gibraltar United

1   Kyle ‘Chino’ Goldwin
4   David Gomez Prieto
15 Aymen Mouelhi
3   Gonzalo Gujiaro
2   Xavier Carmona
24 Jamie Bosio
6   Carlos Carrasco
20 Michael Negrette
17 Chico Rubio
10 Daniel Ponce de Leon
9   Alvaro Castiella

SUBSTITUTES

Achraf Nait on for Chico Rubio
Steffan Cardona on for Xavier Carmona
Gernan Cortes on for Michael Negrette

2018-08-14_22-57-34

Lucas Cazorla sets out his first team as Gibraltar United manager. Debuts for Prieto, Guijaro, Carmona, Rubio and Castiella. Elsewhere we have the familiar stalwart faces of last season as Erin misses out due to a suspension carried over from last season. Chino retains ownership of the armband as we face Lions looking for the first three points of the season.

Photo Credit to Neil Wilson

2018-08-14_22-47-19

Back Row (l to r): Chino (C), Prieto, Gonzalo, Castiella, Mouehli, Carrasco Front Row (l to r): Carmona, Rubio, Negrette, Bosio, Ponce de Leon

The ball rolls again! United kicked the match off bang on 20:30 under the orders of Mr Borg as the 18/19 season began. It was a lightning start however and a bit of a rarity as well as Aymen Mouheli headed in the first cross of the day from the boots of David Prieto to give United the lead barely a minute into the game. Aymen scored our last goal last season and opened our account this year, some nice symmetry there.

Photo Credit Neil Wilson

2018-08-14_22-48-13

1-0, Aymen Mouehli

Lions looked shell shocked as they, as the game was to prove, had set out their stall to hold United off and were clearly not expecting such an early set back. Indeed they entrenched themselves deep and looked for the long ball towards Caravaca ploughing the lone furrow up front. Despite a cagey moment or two both Mouehli and Prieto had the matter well in hand. United had most of the ball while Lions relied on their tough defence to keep the Red and Whites at bay.

An unsavoury incident clouded the first 10 minutes. Lions kicked the ball out following an injury to Dani and the ball was not returned to them which incensed a number of Lions of players who perceived the unsportsmanlike behaviour of the action. There were handbags in the area and in several areas of the pitch to which Mr Borg responded to with a flurry of yellow cards. To his credit Lucas remonstrated with the players in question and reminded them about the spirit in which the game has to be played in.

United’s second goal was a moment of sheer brillance from the boots of Michael Negrette. He gained the byline following some fancy footwork with Carmona and cut inside the Lions full back. Looking up he lobbed the onrushing Mateo and from an almost impossible angle the ball went into the goal coming off the inside of the far post. A well desereved goal if the balance of play was to be taken into account. United were having both the possession of the ball and playing their football inside the Lions half. Indeed Chino had largely been a spectator for large swathes of the game.

2018-08-14_23-18-12

Lions kick off the second half

The second half was almost a carbon copy of the first. United with the ball and Lions fighting tooth and nail for every tackle and ball. There was a certain needle in the game as frustration sometimes got the better of the Lions player and Mr Borg’s whistle seemed to be going off quite regularly.

Photo Credit to Neil Wilson

2018-08-14_22-49-38

Bosio and Breakspear go in for the ball

Mateo was the busier of the keepers with shots coming in from Dani, Castiella and Carrasco. Indeed he pulled off two great saves, one at almost from point blank range from Carlos. Cazorla moved his bench 60 minutes in giving Nait his debut and sending on Cardona for a tiring Carmona. The nature of the game did not change however and Gonzalo was able to assist Bosio for our third goal on 83 minutes. A tidy finish from the Gibraltar International that has obviously kept his shooting boots from last season. Speaking to us after the game Jamie was happy with the points and the professional performance but keen to stress that minds should now turn to the St Joseph’s game.

Supporters were eager to see Achraf Nait in action and the young Dutchman showed glimpses of his talent playing from the left side of midfield. His fancy footwork almost ended in an acrobatic attempt from fellow sub Gernan Cortes, the latter also guilty of a glaring miss sending a close range shot wide of the post following some great ball work from Castiella.

The last act of the match was to fall to Mouheli once again. Coming up for a corner he whipped in a Ponce cross to leave the forlorn Mateo helpless to stop Aymen claiming his brace and United our 4th. It was literally the last kick of the game as the referee brought proceedings to a close to leave United with the first three points of the season in the bag.

Photo Credit to Neil Wilson

2018-08-14_23-31-49

We spoke to Chino and Aymen after the game. The skipper was very happy with the ‘great start to the season’ highlighting the perfomance and the clean sheet. Aymen likewise lauded the clean sheet and the goals but had his mind already set ‘on a very important and touch match against St Joseph’s’.

 

The Manager’s thoughts.

Lucas Cazorla, native of Malaga is on the eve of his first match in Gibraltarian football as manager of the Club. He took the reins in early July following the departure of Manolo Sanchez Nuñez following a 3 year stint in charge. He faces the task of gelling a new squad together and putting across his football philosophy. We had a chat with him as he watched the Pepe Reyes Cup match between Lincoln and Europa yesterday evening.

lucascazorla

We first asked him about his career as manager and the clubs had been at. He started his career at UD San Pedro followed by a stints at Velez and Zenit Torremolinos. He then took the plunge abroad and signed on at Llanelli in the Welsh Premier League, he was justly proud of having taken the club to second place and into a first ever Europa League campaign in 2006. Returning to Spain for the 2007-08 season he took the job at Polideportivo Ejido and then at Ecija Balompie following their relegation from Spain’s second tier. Returning to his roots he once again managed Velez before joining Gibraltar United.

When asked about the squad he is about to lead into the season he had the following to say; ‘A very committed and professional group of players. There is an excellent cohesion as a group and as individuals. The spirit is great and morale is high with players eager for the challenges to come’. One gets the impression that Lucas values a good team ethic and good intrapersonal relationships.

13da836d-16d6-4ea5-a780-38247112418c.jpg

We talked at length about his football philosophy and it is clear that the man is passionate about the game. He has a reputation for playing a certain brand of football and he described it thus, ‘treating the ball well to occupy, create and exploit spaces in the attacking areas of the pitch.’ He talked about creating a style and philosophy on the pitch that should see exciting matches ahead.

682dda8d-3d8e-43a2-ab77-5680bd473b7c

We finally asked him about his goals and objectives for the season and he told us that’ we aspire to everything but we work with our feet firmly planted in the ground, with great humility and with great respect to the opponent and officials always.’ He added he was very excited about the start of the new season and could not wait for kick off on Tuesday evening.

We thank Lucas for his time and also wish him and the lads all the best for the coming season.

Vi et Animo, Ad Victoriam

Match Preview: Lions F.C.

Match Preview brought to you courtesy of Quantocoin

quantocoin logo.jpg

 

7353fca98c550011893ad24908025306

Record versus Lions F.C.

Played: 10
Won: 4
Drawn: 4
Lost: 2

Last Result: 2 – 0 (05-05-18)

Manager: Alberto Ferri
Captain: Kailan Perez
Top Scorer 17/18: Juan Llaves Sanchez (6)

The start of the 18/19 Season is upon us and much has happened since United’s last official match left them at the gates of Europe. Manolo left the club and Lucas Cazorla takes the helm for his first game as manager. Several players are in line for debuts as the squad has also seen somewhat of an overhaul. Yet the core of the team is there as Chino, Erin, Bosio, Aymen, Dani, Carrasco and Negrette are ready to lead the squad into the new challenge.

Lions for their part have lost last season’s top scorer Llaves to Gibraltar Phoenix and veteran Al Greene to St Joseph’s. In come former United players Jamie Bosio and Kaylan Rumbo, both from FC Olympique in the Second Division, and David Gallardo from Phoenix. Yet United know that games against Lions are tough encounters with the redoubtable Perez and Breakspear at the back. Kick off is Tuesday at 20:30 and boy are we glad that football is back!!!

Vi et Animo, Ad Victoriam

Europa F.C. vs Gibraltar United

Match corresponding to the 27th Round of the Gibraltarian Premier Division and played on Saturday 2nd June 2018 at 20:00. Match report brought to you courtesy of Turicum Private Bank and Quantocoin.

Turicum Logo 2016, white on blue background, two lines - 2 June 2016

Gibraltar United 1 – 2 Europa F.C.

Mouelhi

Gibraltar United

1   Kyle ‘Chino’ Goldwin (C)
8   Filipe Aguiar
15 Aymen Mouelhi
5   Erin Barnett
23 Andre De Oliveira Farinha
39 Leo Pereyra
24 Jamie Bosio
40 Carlos Carrasco
16 Daniel Ponce de Leon
17 Marco Meireles
9   Ayman Elghobashy

SUBSTITUTES

Yalany Baio on for Leo Pereyra
Michael Negrette on for Jamie Bosio

The last game of the season and the ultimate prize of Europa League football is at stake. As expected Bosio and Carrasco are straight back into the XI following a two match ban for accumulation while Baio is fit enough only for a spot of the bench. Manolo comes out all guns blazing knowing that a win assures third spor irregardless of the result in the Lincoln St Joseph’s match that kicks off at 18:00

2018-06-02_12-47-06

Photo Credited to Neil Wilson

SYx6Pq4S

Back Row (l to r): Chino (C), Barnett, Elghobashy, Mouelhi, Carrasco Front Row (l to r); Pereyra, Meireles, Aguiar, Bosio, Farinha, Ponce de Leon

Alas it was not to be. St Joseph’s did what they had to do against a depleted and lethargic Lincoln and made sure that only a win would suffice. United kicked off knowing that and went immediately on the front foot against a full strength Europa. Chances were few in the inital exchanges but that was simpy the calm before the storm; the storm that broke 20 minutes in when Mouelhi came up for a corner from the back. The ball was floated in from the left and there rose Aymen to place the ball beyond the keeper and into the net; United in the promised land and it all looked rosy.

Photo credit to Neil Wilson

PrfViyED

The goal woke Europa up and fans were treated to a great game of football for the remaining 25 minutes of the half as both teams ebbed back and forth. Chino made one excellent intervention from Kike as he broke from deep but it was a defensive misjudgement that allowed Europa to equalise 5 minutes before half time as Garro tapped into an empty net. Mr Warwick brought the game to its midway point with everything still in play, but not before denying Elghobashy a clear penalty shout after he was clattered by Muñoz in the box.

The second half turned into a pitched battle during which the referee lost control at times. Tackles were flying in, players were sent off (one apiece), the officials heckled. Tensions were running high. Europa hit the crossbar, Ponce smashed one off the upright. Elghobashy came close; it was heart racing stuff. Chino made an excellent save down low, in summary a belter of a game!

Photo Credit to Neil Wilson

hDDO3tQm

Ayew treads a fine line

The crucial moment of the game was shrouded in controversy, something that seems to pursue this team of officials. With United seeking a goal and holding a high line Kike was put through with a ball launched over the top from deep. He looked offisde as there was clear daylight between the defence and the striker but the linesman’s flag remained down. Kike finished the move off with the class he has accustumed us too but it was the final nail in the coffin of our hopes of finishing third. Supporters in the stands certainly let their feelings know to the officials as they marched off at full time. However, one must remember that European qualification was always in our hands and we came up short at the last time of asking.

What cannot be allowed to happen is for the shine to be removed from a simply fantastic campaign that has seen a team jump from 7th to 4th and more than double its point tally. It has defeated every team in the league at least once and reached a cup semi final. All this while gelling a large number of new players. Though the Europa League would have been the icing on the cake United supporters know that a most solid and most professional and dedicated foundation has been laid. As we drift off for the Summer our minds are all ready on next season and its mid August kick off. Season review and stats will soon follow. Until next time!

Vi et Animo, Ad Victoriam

quantocoin logo