Ladies and gentleman, boys and girls, by not so popular demand, we’re back! Gibraltar’s forgotten local team…
Firstly, considering its been such a while I would like to give a warm welcome to our new summer recruits, Ilias Rahmouni, Jamie Napoli, Matthew ‘Cheese’ Grech, Tzach Bitton, Yitzi Marrache, and last but not least, Paul Podesta (Get well soon!). Welcome to you all, and advanced apologies now for the inevitable time when our shotgun gets aimed at you. Fear not however, as no matter how bad it gets you’ll never be Trevor Bellend’Dor Garcia! >> 😀
Welcome back to the rest of you, strap yourselves in while we take you on a journey of our season so far.
It began way back on Augest 19th, yes, that long ago. (We’ve slacked just a little). Boca began the season against Gib Scorpions and the chosen first 11 read as follows. Pippo (Gk), Xemi, Bear, Crawfo (Cbs), Cheese (Rwb), Nyall (Lwb), Sean, Sene, Rick (Cms), Seb, Podi (CFs). Boca began the season with the back 3 formation that had been flirted with at times last season and gave debuts to both Cheese and Podi. The first big chance of the game fell to Scorpions after a great effort from outside the box struck both posts before falling safely into Pippos hands. Boca had to wait till just before the half time whistle for their first real chance. Debutant Podi beautifully turned his defender before playing a great pass into Seb who’s shot smashed off the crossbar. The whistle blew, 0-0 at HT. Scorpions began the second half the better side, firstly forcing Pippo into an outstanding save before themselves having a shot smash onto the crossbar. After a few changes, seeing Vatvani replace Cheese, Napoli make his debut replacing Rick, and Sols coming on for Nyall, Boca finally had their break. Seb was brought down inside the box and the ref pointed to the spot. Penalty Boca! Podi had the chance for a debut goal, stepped up and struck the ball low to the bottom right. GOAL. With only a few minutes to go Boca had the lead. Problem being a few minutes is more than long enough for a goal and Scorpions grabbed an equaliser after a deep free kick was touched in at the back post. The full time whistle blew. An opening day draw, something that would soon sound familiar.
The next game came along on September 21st vs Europa Point FC (Can they point to Europa on a map though?) Boca once again began with the 3 at the back formation. Starting 11 – Pippo (Gk), Xemi, Bear, Ilias (Cbs), Vatvani (Rwb), Crawfo (Lwb), Tzach, Rick (Cms), Cheese (Rw) Sene (Lw), Podi (CF). This game is one Boca will want to forget so we won’t dwell on it for long. Boca never really got going and found themselves a goal down at half time. The second didn’t get much better and game ended 3-0. The 3rd goal being one of real quality after a run from inside his own half and a neat finish past Pippo.
Games then began to come thick and fast as on October 6th we took on another set of new comers Angels FC. This time around Boca began in a more familiar 4-2-3-1 formation. Pippo (Gk), Vatvani (Rb), Eily, Crawford (Cbs), Nyall (Lb), Bear, Napoli (Cms), Sene (Rw), Tzach (Atm), Mont (Lw), Podi (CF). This game will be remembered mostly for the final 10 minutes. After a close and tight match with little in the way of chances one of the more extraordinary thing’s I have witnessed on a football pitch took place. Boca won a free kick on the right wing which upset a number of the Angels players. Many of the Angels players had become increasingly frustrated throughout the match as they struggled to communicate properly with the referee. (#keepitlocal). Frustrations finally reached boiling point after the award of the free kick and one Angles player found himself given his marching orders for complaining. This further incensed the Angels team and a second player found himself sent off seconds later, again for something he said. The fun was not over however, as Boca still waited to take the free kick a third, yes a third Angel’s player was sent off arguing with the official. Angels found themselves down to 8 within a couple of minutes as players completely lost their heads. Unfortunately Boca did not have long enough to take advantage of this capitulation as the final whistle blew soon after, another solid point. This game also brought about some very bad news for the club. Podi picked up a cruciate ligament injury and as such will miss the remainder of the season. We wish him well!
Our next fixture game the following week, October 13th vs Leo FC. This fixture also presents me with the opportunity to bring out the double barrelled for the first time. Prior to kick off Nyall decided to share a prediction with players and fans alike, “Today I will score a penalty”. Not happy to just score any sort of goal, Nyall predicted exactly the kind of goal he was gonna get, bold claim. Luckily for him the first hurdle was overcome, he was in the starting 11. Pippo (Gk), Ilias (Rb), Bear, Crawford (Cbs), Nyall (Lb), Sols, (Dm), Cheese (Rw), Tzach, Rick (Atms), Karlo (Lw), Seb (CF). Boca began brightly and were soon controlling the game and creating some opportunities. Then came the first bit of drama, as if someone was smiling down on him from the heavens, Boca had a penalty! Nyall had his chance, the hard part was over, his bold claim surely about to come true. This is where the fairy-tale ends though folks as the muppet smashed the penalty onto the bar. Admitting later after the match that the nerves got the better of Mr Robba after such an outrageous claim, and Boca missed the chance to take the lead. Nyall was left like feeling quite the clown. Boca continued to boss the half but failed to make the breakthrough, 0-0 at half time. The second half continued much like the first and Boca soon had the lead. Karlo might not be the tallest but he crept into the box unmarked from a corner and powered the header home. Boca continued to press for the second and Hamza who had come off the bench was guilty of missing two great chances to put the game to bed. Soon Boca were punished, Leo with a rare attack managed to squeeze a shot in past Pippo at his near post. In truth this game could have, and should have ended 6 or 7-1. However unlike Oliver Twist Boca look like they constantly fail to finish their supper. Boca would have to look at the positives however after such a great display, except you Nyall, not you. (Sorry mate :D)
November the 4th then soon came along, Boca still looking for the first win of the season. 5th game in & Cannons were the opponents. The starting 11 read Pippo (Gk), Vatvani (Rb), Eily, Ilias (Cbs), Crawford (Lb), Bear, Rick, Napoli (Cms), Karlo (Rw), Hamza (Lw), Seb (CF). Boca began where they had left off from the previous fixture and took early control of the game. Boca twice had the ball in the net in the first half however both were ruled out for offside. The first a delightful finish from Seb after a chipped ball over the defence. Half time came and Cheese was on to replace a very unhappy Karlo. The second half continued in much the same vain with Boca pushing for the opener. As the time ticked by however the sense of desperation began to creep into the play as the thought of yet another draw grew. Soon the tension showed as half time sub Cheese was given his marching orders and shown a straight red after some verbal’s with the defender. With the gloom setting in and barely minutes to spare Boca finally found their breakthrough. Vatvani who’d been a constant threat down the right floated a cross into substitute Tzach. He took a touch and just as the chance looked gone, swivelled to place the ball past the keeper. Boca finally had the goal, & finally had a win!
With the win and some much needed points finally on the board Boca had their sights set on October 12th, the ‘OV Classico’ vs Brunos Magpies. The starting 11 read Pippo (Gk), Vatvani (Rwb), Eily, Bear, Xemi (Cbs), Robba (Lwb), Rahmouni, S.Grech, Napoli (Cms), Tzach, Seb (CF). Notable absentee from the team was one Mr Stuart Crawford missing his first fixture of the season. Many were surprised by this decision, however we can reveal a very justified reason. Crawfo had been away for the weekend and missed vital training sessions, what was his excuse you ask? Well, Lady Gaga, that’s what. Crawford had been caught by the Paparazzi attending her concert, a shameful act we know. When questioned about this unacceptable behaviour Crawford simply had no Poker Face and could not deny his actions. His excuse was simply that the choice was out of his hands and to avoid a Bad Romance with the misses he simply had to attend. Despite us in no way condoning this behaviour we do slightly understand, after all, it wasn’t really his fault, he was just Born This Way.
Onto the match itself (this is where the humour ends). Shotguns loaded and set to auto. Barely two minutes in and Bear was in the book, judged to have fouled a Magpie up near the half way line. Magpie fans immediately called for a red for being last man, some Boca fans weren’t even sure it was a foul, none of it mattered, he was given a yellow. Barely 10 minutes later Bear gave away another free kick, this time he was judged to have handled the ball, the referee took a lenient view and no second card was shown. The Magpies soon had the lead. Boca allowed the ball to bounce and allowed the Magpie striker to pick up the ball & turn at the defense. He knocked the ball past Bear who was clearly reluctant to make a tackle due to the booking and his shot beat Pippo who will also be disappointed with the save. Boca after a shaky start were not behind for long. The ball broke to Nyall on the edge of the box and he curled a right footed screamer right into the top left corner. You’re now forgiven for the penalty miss Mr Robba, beauuuuty of a goal. Just before the half time whistle Bear gave away another foul this time shoving the Magpie striker to the floor. Somehow the referee let him off with yet another warning but Bear was now seriously walking a tight rope. Any sort of foul next he’d be off, a half time sub was needed. As the teams returned for the second half Boca indeed made a sub, however Bear was not coming off. His partner at the back Xemi was replaced by Karlo.
Why? Why? Why? It seemed everyone, and I mean everyone could see leaving Bear on was a disaster waiting to happen, except the man in charge. The answer lay with Xemi himself. Rumours soon began to spread that he himself had asked to be subbed off feeling fatigued (unconfirmed rumours). The self-claimed fittest member of the squad? The half marathon runner? Tired after a couple of jogs in 45mins? Even after a half marathon at the weekend it just doesn’t sound right, especially considering the circumstances. Xemi should have either been told to sweep up the sand beneath his feet falling from between his legs and continue, or two subs made at the break. Within minutes of the restart Bear chopped down the striker and was sent to the changing room, leaving the fans wondering quite how it was let to happen. Not the best of game for the trio, mares all around.
Weirdly as the half progressed despite being a man down Boca began to take control and probably looked the most likely to score. After some great work by Karlo down the left wing the ball was cut back to Seb who saw his shot saved by the keeper. Clearly frustrated with the miss Seb attempted a Chris Smalling (we have no idea why anyone would want to be Smalling either) as he tried to block the keepers kick. Despite not managing this either he found himself in the book, yellow card. Boca continued to push forward looking for the winner and substitute Rick looked most likely to create. Despite the control Boca failed to create a clear cut chance and soon Seb was made to pay the ultimate price for his Smalling impersonation. After giving away a foul on the half way line he was shown a second yellow and sent off. Boca down to 9! One more for the match’s muppet list. Going back to the beginning of last season our very rough (very rough) make that 10 red cards in about 30 matches. Fear not though folks, Karlo says we’re not a dirty team, promise. The final whistle blew, 1-1. Four draws out of 6 for Boca, we’re a sharing team, points for everyone.
So that’s that folks, the season so far. I’d like to end this blog with two reminders. Firstly about the newest member of our social media team this season, Boca Snapchat. (bocajrngib). ADD IT!!! Honestly, it’s fantastic! Credit to everyone’s favourite B15L for the idea and excellent running so far, unrivalled coverage! Secondly, many would have seen by now, but as yet none have found it in their hearts to donate. Several members of the Boca team are taking part in Movember, please, if you laughed even once during this blog (you bloody better have) then donate. However small, it all helps. www.mobro.co/bocagib
Thank you & Forza Boca!!