Lincoln out to make history tonight

Lincoln Red Imps look to make even more history tonight as they host Danish champions FC Midtjylland, looking to overturn a 1-0 deficit from the first leg in Denmark, and become the first ever Gibraltarian team to make the Third Qualifying Round of the UEFA Champions League.

Should they go through tonight, Lincoln would guarantee at least four more games, as the losers in the Third Round are given a reprieve in the form of the Europa League Playoff round, where they would be two games away from the Group Stages.

Raul Procopio has the luxury of choosing from his preferred first eleven tonight, with Roy Chipolina set to return in defence, but he will be wary of opening up too much in the chase for that elusive goal, as one Midtjylland goal would effectively kill off the tie.

Can Lincoln go even further in their European adventure? The best way to find out tonight is to go down to the Victoria and support your local champions. If not, then the game tonight is being streamed by Jyske Bank, who sponsor Midtjylland

 and have had a long term presence on the Rock. The game can be streamed by clicking on the following link.

Midtjylland vs Lincoln – Preview

Tonight sees Lincoln square up against Danish champions FC Midtjylland knowing that any result away in Denmark would be seen as a major upset for the Red Imps.

Fresh off the 2-1 away victory in Andorra that allowed Lincoln to progress to tonight, Raul Procopio’s side have had little time to prepare for their more illustrious opponents, and will be without defensive leader Roy Chipolina as they look to give themselves even a fighting chance coming into the home leg next Tuesday night.

The Danes have a new manager in the helm for tonight’s game, with former Denmark Under 21 coach Jess Thorup appointed in the past few days to take charge at the team who were only formed in 1999. Despite this, they have European pedigree, most notably when they took Manchester City to penalties in the 2008-09 UEFA Cup qualifying rounds.

For the ‘Wolves’, this is their first ever taste of Champions League football, but despite their team not containing many players with experience in Europe’s top continental competition, they are still massive favourites to overpower a Lincoln side who have perhaps exceeded expectations by getting to the Second Qualifying Round.

There is perhaps little value then in the main betting markets, with Midtjylland being massively odds on to win at home as expected, and even a draw let alone a Lincoln win being priced highly. There are other avenues to look at though if you wish to try and make money off tonight’s game.

Football Gibraltar tips:

Under 3.5 goals – 2.68

Midtjylland -3 – 1.73

Lincoln make history: social media reaction

Last night will go down in the history books of Gibraltarian football, as Lincoln won 2-1 away in Andorra against Santa Coloma to progress to the Champions League 2nd qualifying round, and in turn become the first team from Gibraltar to win a qualifying stage of either the Champions or Europa League, in only the second season of teams entering the tournaments.

As expected, social media exploded with both of Lincoln’s goals, after they came back from 1-0 down, and the final whistle saw an outpouring of congratulations for the Red Imps on their fantastic achievement.  Below are the best of the tweets (All content belongs to those who originally posted it)

Congratulations came in from a number of teams across the league:

As you would expect, Lincoln were also very excited after the game:

As were their players:

Finally, there was congratulations from Lincoln’s next opponents:

Lincoln’s European adventure continues next week with the first leg of their tie against Danish champions FC Midtjylland taking place away in Herning on Tuesday, with the return leg being held at the Victoria Stadium on 21st July.  Regardless of the result, Lincoln have made history, and are pushing Gibraltarian football to levels no one would have imagined possible before 2013.

Santa Coloma vs Lincoln – Preview

Lincoln go into tonight’s pivotal UEFA Champions League First Qualifying Round Second Leg tie against FC Santa Coloma of Andorra knowing that a score draw would be enough to see the Red Imps through to the Second Qualifying Round for the first time after only two years of being in UEFA’s premier club competition, and face the Danish champions Midtjylland.

However, if last week’s stubborn performance from the Andorran champions was anything to go by, scoring will be hard for Raul Procopio and his side, and after failing to secure victory in the home leg at the Victoria Stadium, the team made the 1200km trip to Andorra aiming to avoid a repeat of last year’s away leg in the Faroe Islands, where they found themselves 3-0 down to HB Torshavn in no time at all.

Both sides left the game last week without any injury concerns, but in truth little can be gleaned from the first leg in the Victoria, with the Andorrans less likely to show Lincoln quite as much respect in their tactical approach as they did when employing a 5-4-1 formation when defending attacks from the Red Imps. With only three shots on target registered all game, a high scoring affair like the 5-2 in Torshavn does not seem likely, although an early goal for either side would do the game wonders in terms of its entertainment.

Looking at the bookies though, it is clear in their minds at least that Santa Coloma are clear favourites to win the match, with Bet365 offering odds of 1.5 for the home side to win and progress to the next round. The draw, which as long as it isn’t 0-0 would see Lincoln go through, is priced at 4.33, while an away win is as high as 6.00.

Lincoln have confirmed that the game tonight will be streamed live on the Andorran FA website.

Football Gibraltar tips: (Odds correct as of time of posting)

Under 2.5 Goals – 2.00

Lincoln or Draw – 2.50

New season grows closer as opening fixtures unveiled

With the new Gibraltar football season starting in August this year, to move in line with most of Europa, the fixtures for the opening weekend in both divisions were made public this week.

Reigning champions Lincoln face off against Lynx, who have impressed in their short history as a Premier Division team. Lincoln, who were Gibraltar’s Champions League representatives this season, look the most likely to retain the title once again, although this time it will be under new management, as former Balona manager Raul Procopio replaced the outgoing Mick McElwee.

The team who split Lincoln and Lynx in the league last season, Manchester 62, look to qualify for Europe this season as they kick off their domestic season against Lions. Lions are also under new management, as one time Brighton and Hove Albion manager, and former Gibraltar coach, Jeff Wood is tasked with challenging on both the league and cup front.

Newly promoted FC Britannia, under former College manager Juan Luis Perez Herrera, hope to ensure their stay at the top tier isn’t a temporary one, and they kick off against a St Joseph’s team who will be looking to bounce back from a poor season last year, where they ended up in the relegation play-off.

The other fixture sees Rock Cup runners up College Europa, fresh off their maiden Europa League experience, take on Glacis United. Both teams finished on 19 points last season, and will be looking to better that this term.

In the second division, while Sporting Glacis and Lions Pilots withdrew from the league, they were replaced by four teams, each with a different back story.

Gibraltar United, once one of Gibraltar’s leading teams, disbanded a couple of years ago, but have this season been reformed in a bid to return the club to its former status. They have a challenging opening day game against Gibraltar Phoenix, who are in seemingly more stable times after last season’s disastrous Premier campaign.

Gibraltar Scorpions may be more familiar as a futsal team; their indoor team won the national league and are off to Bosnia to compete in their UEFA Futsal Cup qualifying round. However, their new 11-a-side team go up against Boca Juniors, who will feel they could challenge for a top two spot this season.

Angels FC are a fairly unknown club, with little social media presence apart from a Facebook page, but they start their maiden campaign against last season’s basement boys, Cannons FC.

Europa Point FC are an interesting club to say the least. Formed about 18 months ago, with the intention to compete in Gibraltar, their motto is to give players released by clubs both on the Rock and abroad a ‘second chance’ to prove their abilities. They have come under criticism from some for their high percentage of non-domestic players, but will fancy themselves as a challenger for the title this season. They start their journey in Gibraltar with a match versus Brunos Magpies, looking to build upon a steady first season.

The other fixtures in the first game-week of the second division include runners up Mons Calpe going up against Leo FC, potential promotion contenders Olympique face Red Imps, and Hound Dogs going up against College Pegasus. With only one guaranteed promotion spot to next season’s Premier Division, the second division promises to be an exciting battle once again, and well worth following.

Lincoln and College Europa learn their European fates

Today’s UEFA Champions League and Europa League qualifying draws saw Lincoln Red Imps and College Europa draw HB Torshavn and FC Vaduz respectively.

 

Lincoln, who won last season’s league, host Faroese team HB on the 1st/2nd of July, with the return leg being a week later in Torshavn.  HB, who won the 2013 Effodeildin by five points, contain four players who were in the squad for the Faroes 4-1 friendly win versus Gibraltar back in March, including Frodi Benjaminsen who captains both club and country.  With the Faroese league running through the summer, HB will have the advantage of being fully match fit, as their season is currently 14 games old, with HB currently second in the league.

 

The reward for the winners of this game is a match against one time European Cup finalists FK Partizan (they lost 2-1 to Real Madrid in the 1966 final).

 

College Europa, as Gibraltar’s sole entrant in the Europa League after finishing runners up in the Rock Cup, travel to Liechtenstein to face Vaduz, who play in the Swiss league due to Liechtenstein’s lack of a league system.  Vaduz will play in the Swiss Super League this season after winning the second division, and have won the Liechtenstein Cup (which provides the country with its sole European representative) 18 times in the last 20 years.  The Liechtensteiner’s will be in the closing stages of their pre-season, with the Swiss Super League starting on the 19th July.  Recent Gibraltarian representation in Liechtenstein were the national under 16 team, who went there for a UEFA development tournament back in April.

 

Should College advance past Vaduz, they would face Ruch Chorzow of Poland in the next round.  The 14 time Polish champions came 3rd in last seasons Ekstraklasa behind Legia Warsaw and Lech Poznan.

 

The order of home and away fixtures can be reversed if both teams agree to it, and this will be announced at some point in the next day or so.

 

The Champions League games are on the 1st/2nd of July and 8th/9th July, with the Europa League games being on the 3rd and 10th of July.  Ticket details are scheduled to be announced tomorrow by the GFA.

Platini to attend Rock Cup final on Saturday

UEFA President Michel Platini will be one of the guests at the 2014 Rock Cup final, between Lincoln and College.

 

Platini, who is also being accompanied on the trip by Deputy Secretary General Theodore Theodoris, Head of Football Development Jean Francois Domergue, and Head of President’s Office Kevin Lamour, will hand over the trophy to the winner of the final, as well as meet notable footballing figures on the Rock.

 

Platini’s visit is only a short one, which will involve him flying in and out of Gib on the Saturday, and is customary for a UEFA President to do when a new member is recently, as GFA President Desmond Reoch explained to GBC earlier on.

 

The interview with Mr Reoch can be viewed here