Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Mallorca February 2010

Mallorca 1 Sevilla 3

Mallorca suffered their first home defeat of the season. Sevilla out-passed them and capitalised on some quality wide play especially from Jesus Navas.

The Islanders did go ahead early after a Borja cross was turned in by Mario but after that Sevilla controlled possession even though they had Negredo sent off.

The numbers were evened up when Ramis received what seemed a very harsh red card following much prompting by the Sevilla players.

The excellent Jesus Navas had slipped in the equaliser after a defensive mix up and he also supplied the cross for the third.

Overall a comfortable away win despite a further sending off - Zokora near the end.

Somewhat surprisingly, considering the previously perfect Mallorca home record, the stadium was only about half full. I guess the smaller winter population on the Island was a factor or maybe the fans suspected the home run was in danger.

Then three games in the Tercera Division (4th level)

Atletico Baleares 4 Mercadal 1

Atletico are a club in financial trouble with a great stadium next to the Palma ring road.

The ground, partly crumbling, can hold 20,000 and it comprises a covered main stand area with three open sides of good size terrace/seating.

Their team is not bad either especially the striker Edu who completed a hattrick in the first 30 minutes. Midfielder Lawal also stood out as the home side looked a class above the team from Menorca (who arrived just before kick-off causing a 15 minute delay to the start)

Mercadal managed a consolation goal in the second half after a defensive mistake but it was an easy win for Atletico watched by around 300 fans.

Binissalem 1 Ferriolense 3

A short drive from Palma towards Inca and you arrive at the pleasant village of Binissalem.

Like all three games I saw in this league the game was played on an all weather pitch. The benefit being they can have numerous games at different levels without any damage to the surface.

The ground was small with a few rows of open seats and a standing area opposite but plenty of room for the 100 or so that attended.

Binissalem did take the lead through a penalty but after that Ferrio responded with two from striker Espadas including another penalty.

It did get a bit feisty with a number of bookings but the away team held on OK for the win.

Arenal 0 Santa Eulalia 2

Just south of Palma, beyond the airport and the slightly depressing out-of-season bar/restaurant area, is S'Arenal.

The ground has a small covered standing/seating area with a convenient cafe in the corner.

Amongst those in the 'crowd' (of about 80) was the star Atletico Baleares striker Edu relaxing after his earlier game.

The visitors, the league leaders, scored in the first minute and then contained Arenal before adding another from the penalty spot in the second half.


Earlier on the Sunday morning I took the opportunity to visit the old Mallorca stadium, the Estadio Lluis Sitjar.

And an evocative sight it is.
Via a gap in the fencing from the main entrance you can go through to the top tier of the stand and look out over the overgrown pitch, views of the surroundings and crumbling terraces.

For fans of such derelict grounds it is breathtaking.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Portugal February 2010

Aliados de Lordelo 2 Vizela 0

A Saturday afternoon fixture in the Divisao 2 Norte. Lordelo was a 40 minute drive from my base in Braga and it is a small place with a ground up above the town with views across the valley.

The ground itself comprises just one side for spectators with an old, unused, stand at the rear.

The home side completed the win with a header and a volley though Vizela should have got at least one goal back.

Leixoes 0 Porto 0

Not too far away is Matosinhos to the north of Porto.

The babies, Leixoes, had a very good time last season eventually finishing sixth but this year has been harder for them. Hence it was possible to get odds of around 8 to 1 for them to win this 'derbi'.

Though Porto, without Hulk, had most of the play they failed to create many chances. The speedy Varela had the best opportunity but the Leixoes goalie made the save.

Some 7,000 watched including a reasonable number from Porto.

Trofense 0 Feirense 2

This was the early Sunday morning match in the Liga Vitalis (2nd level)

Trofa is an easy drive from Braga - I took the slower, N14, route.

Their ground is neat enough with smallish side stands and larger ends. There didn't seem to be any away fans amongst the 700 or so present.

Feirense deserved the win secured by two similar headers from free kicks both nodded home by Roberto.

Sporting Braga 2 Maritimo 1

Lastly to the Municipal or AXA stadium in Braga.

Built for the 2004 Euros it is well known for its construction being carved out of rocks from an old quarry. Impressive as it is it was maybe not the cosiest stadium to visit on a bitterly cold February evening.

But a full house of over 30,000 came to see their heroes overcome a spirited effort from Maritimo who included the memorably named Pitbull in their team.

The home side kept close to Benfica at the top of the Portuguese league with a late goal swept in by Luis Aguilar prompting plenty of celebrations.

Earlier Meyong had converted a cross for Braga to take the lead before the Angolan Djalma had stunned the home fans with a great equaliser.

It took a brisk walk back to my hotel and some wine (and steak) before I warmed up.

An observation about the football in general - too many players screaming when they are fouled
and about travelling around - lots of bad driving - because there are so few police/speed traps.