The biggest domestic rivalry in Gibraltarain football is renewed this weekend in what is essentially a ‘winner takes all’ battle as Lincoln Red Imps FC & Europa FC face off on Saturday evening, at 6:15pm, at the Victoria Stadium.
Lincoln Red imps FC are top of Gibraltar’s First division by two points. A win means they retain their league title and once again secure Gibraltar’s spot in the qualifiers for next season’s UEFA Champions League.
Should Europa win on Saturday, they would move one point ahead of Lincoln and would be much fancied to win their final game of the season against FC Boca Juniors, (no disrespect the FC Boca), on the 18th of May and secure their second title in 3 years.
A draw on Saturday would take the title race into the final match week of the season. A potential ‘banana skin’ for Lincoln Red Imps as they face Mons Calpe with Europa, as mentioned taking on FC Boca Juniors.
The sides have met on four occasions already this season. Europa won the traditional domestic season curtain raiser, the Pepe Reyes Cup, 4-2 on penalties after a 1-1 draw in the 90 minutes. In February they also knocked Lincoln out of the Gibtelecom Cup in the second round, winning 2-1 with all three goals coming in the second half.
In their two league meetings thus far this season, Lincoln won the first encounter 3-2 in November. Their second league fixture was a much tighter affair, a 1-1 draw in which Lincoln conceded an 85th minute own goal to level the match.
So essentially it all comes down to Saturday evening. Both teams’ form over the season (and in fact recent seasons) suggests so. Anything is possible in football, but one thing is for sure – this is the biggest game of the domestic season to date, and the prize on the line – the league title and that all important place in the UEFA Champions League.