Last season’s Rock Cup winners Europa took Lincoln by storm in a match where our arch-rivals had to be settle for being second best.
A confident Europa went on the charge from the beginning with Alex Quillo getting the first pop at goal. Lincoln keeper Lolo Soler was able to keep that one out but he could do little about Kique’s effort on the quarter of an hour mark. The Sevillano side-stepped his marker and fired past Soler who got a touch on the ball but could not prevent Europa taking the lead.
But the advantage was not to last too long as five minutes later Lincoln got the perfect chance to draw level when Ibrahim Ayew was adjudged to have brought down Ethan Britto in the box. The referee pointed to the spot and Anthony Hernandez made no mistake with the resulting spot-kick, although Javi Muñoz did get a touch on the ball as it flew in.
Parity might have felt like a reprieve though with the way Europa were playing and it didn’t last too long. Another five minutes past before Guille Roldan restored the lead for the Champions. The attacking midfielder received a pass from Toni Garcia and dispatched it past Soler for the Greens to go 2-1 up. Kique then went one better on the 38th minute, firing a through ball into the back of the net to give Europa a two goal cushion going into halftime.
To their credit, Lincoln came out of the tunnel looking to set the record straight but for all their bossing the centre of the park with Gibraltar internationals Anthony Bardon and Hernandez, the best they could manage was a Lee Casciaro header that went just wide. Europa soaked the pressure playing deeper in their half and hitting Lincoln on the break, from where they could have added to their tally.
Mustapha Yahaya was in great form, protecting his backline with a touch of class only to launch successive counter-attacks combining well with countryman Ibrahim Ayew down the right wing. Yahaya’s cross almost put Kique in for his hattrick and the Ghana midfielder headed just wide from a corner, two chances that would have further dented Lincoln pride.
The match was nearly over when a Lincoln corner almost earned the league leaders a consolation goal but it was cleared off the line. Almost on cue, the final whistle sounded immediately afterwards giving Europa a well-deserved place in the Rock Cup final in front of one of the biggest crowds of the season at the Victoria Stadium.