Sunday, November 8, 2009

Alto riesgo - the Murcia derby

Having failed to persuade the oh so patient girlfriend a Sunday trip to IKEA would be a good idea, I still went anyway, not the Swedish superstore though but to one of the best stadiums in Spain, the adjacent Nueva Condomina, home of Real Murcia C.F. In one of their biggest games in years, struggling Murcia took on near neighbours and sworn enemies, high flying Cartagena.

Ninety minutes before kick-off the place was jumping, courtesy of the more than seven thousand visiting fans who made the short journey from home in one of Spain's most important naval cities. Ten games into 2009/10 Cartagena, recently promoted from Segunda B football, still await their first defeat and are this seasons surprise package. The way they disposed of Murcia, languishing near the foot of the table, was clinical, two goals inside the first five minutes and the home side were on the back foot almost immediately.
A third Cartagena goal on the half hour killed the game as a contest and thereafter Murcia were playing for pride.

It's probably because I've been weaned on a diet of semi-professional football played out in front of crowds of about five hundred or so, but there's something quite exciting about a magnificent stadium rammed to the rafters with a huge visiting contingent separated from the locals by a column of hard looking cops that stretches all the way to the top of the stand. The local law enforcement needn't have worried, after a rampant first half the away lot were in the mood to party, which they did, and how!

In his first game in charge of Real Murcia, Jose Gonzalez must have read the riot act during the break, his charges came out for the second half and performed like men possessed, Cartagena never got a look in and for the first time in the game the home fans sensed something special might be about to happen. They deservedly pulled a goal back and set about battering the Cartagena back four for whom Arsenal and Villarreal reject Pascal Cygan was immense. Urged on by their own fans who took a while to find their voices, Murcia tried everything but couldn't find a way past the outstanding Cartagena goalkeeper Ruben, who defied the marauding red hordes singlehandedly.

A debateable Cartagena penalty on eighty two minutes maintained the three goal cushion and saw Murcia down to ten men as former Hercules defender Sergio Fernandez saw red and took an age to depart. Despondent locals streamed away five minutes before Cantabrian referee Sr.Teixeira blew for time. Final score Murcia 1 - 4 Cartagena. 

Top - Cartagena's twelfth player
Middle - An assured performance by Pascal Cygan  
Bottom - Sergio Fernandez is asked to leave

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