By Georgios Tontos
Europa FC and Lincoln Red Imps out of the UEFA Europa League
The European adventure is over for Lincoln and Europa. The two teams said goodbye to the Europa League campaign with their heads held high, after their defeats against Rangers FC and Djurgarden FC in Gibraltar and Sweden respectively. Early exclusion from the European campaigns for both teams, against strong opponents. Both teams managed to meet expectations, with Europa standing unlucky in Sweden as they lost 2-1, in a match that deserved much more than a defeat. Gibraltar is left without any team for the continuation of the European campaigns. St. Joseph’s was knocked out of Europe after 2-1 defeat from B36 Torshavn in August. Two wins and four defeats for the three local teams in their European adventure.
Europa were knocked out of Europa League after a narrow 2-1 away loss to Djurgarden of Sweden, in a match where Europa missed the opportunity to take the lead in the score, after Walker missed a penalty kick. A few minutes after the failed penalty kick, the Swedes took the lead in the score with 1-0. The performance of the guests was not affected by the goal, and they got their reward in the 57th minute. Adrián Gallardo took advantage of a big mistake in the Swedish defense and persistently managed to score for Europa at 1-1. A few minutes later Europa continued the match with ten players after the red card in a penalty by Alex Quillo. The Swedes took the lead again with a penalty kick, a score that remained, with Europa trying to get a result until the end.
Lincoln had a difficult afternoon against Rangers. The Scots got an easy qualification for the Europa League playoffs, beating the Gibraltar Reds 0-5. Lincoln were competitive in the first minutes of the match. The Reds threatened the defense of Rangers but after the first goal, the Scots took control of the match. James Tavernier scored a free-kick to open the scoring for Rangers and doubled their lead just before half time Connor Goldson’s header. Alfredo Morelo and Jermain Defoe came off the bench to get onto the scoresheet with the former bagging a brace.
The teams will now focus on the start of the local league, which seems to be very competitive this year.
Great Qualifying Victory for Gibraltar
Our national team escaped with a valuable victory against Liechtenstein with a score of 1-0, making them the leader of the group stage. It was a historic result, as it is the second consecutive official victory in a European campaign. Gibraltar entered the match dynamically and found the net with Tjay De Barr’s goal in the 10th minute, after an excellent pass by Casciaro. A fantastic performance from the whole team, showing passion for the victory from the first minute of the match. It was the best 90 minutes of Julio Ribas’ team. The management throughout the match shows that we have grown as a team and dreams for promotion to a higher level seem realistic. Liechtenstein pressured, but Goldwin and his teammates handled it to secure a massive victory. The important matches in November against San Marino and Liechtenstein will determine Gibraltar’s promotion.
The national under-21 team lost 0-3 to Portugal at the Victoria Stadium, in a match where Gibraltar was competitive but the Portuguese were superior and in the 17th minute they scored the first goal. Portugal found a way to score two more times, clinching an easy victory. A good effort from our national youth team, who were competitive against a better opponent. The player of the match for Gibraltar was goalkeeper Bradley Banda, who made 17 saves.