Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Scottish & Portuguese Cup finals May 2012

Visiting two Cup finals firstly in Glasgow and then in Lisbon.

Hearts 5 Hibernian 1 Scottish Cup final at Hampden Park 51,041

On this form Hibs could be waiting quite a while longer before they win another Scottish Cup.

It didn’t help that they conceded a penalty early in the second half and also went down to ten men.
Just before the break they had, briefly, come into the game with the score at 2-1.

But the last half an hour or so was a stroll for Hearts with Ian Black running midfield.

By then many of the Hibs fans had started to leave and by the end their sections were mostly empty.

I’d taken the morning train from London getting into Glasgow at 1pm, in good time to get to Mount Florida.
There was certainly plenty of atmosphere as you would expect for this Edinburgh derby - the first time they had met at this stage since 1896.

Though I couldn’t help reflecting that Hampden had held nearly three times the present capacity and I’d personally been in a crowd of 134,000 for an Scotland v England game.
But at least the surrounding roads were nowhere near as packed as they were back in those days.

So Hibs long wait for a Scottish Cup win (the last being in 1902) continues.

I took the train back to Glasgow Central and got the 5.30pm to Prestwick where I watched the Champions League final in the company of a Dublin based Celtic fan.

Most locals were supporting Bayern.

Academica 1 Sporting Lisbon 0. Portuguese Cup Final at the National stadium in Lisbon.

And taking of Celtic you could imagine yourself back in 1967 with all the green and white shirts in the same stadium where the ‘Lisbon Lions’ won the European Cup.

This time, unlike at Hampden, a team who had waited a very long time for a repeat Cup victory did manage to win.

Academica, with many fans wearing student gowns and boaters, had only one previous win and that was back in 1939.

The national stadium is three-sided in a wooded setting with large open seating and the only cover being for the VIPs and media.
So it didn’t help that we had a sharp shower just before the start - the day had been cool and showery.

Fortunately my flight from Prestwick to Faro was slightly early and the drive from the Algarve quick and trouble-free.
Although anyone going to this final should allow plenty of time as the traffic near the stadium was horrendous and the parking chaotic.
But in the end I was inside the ground an hour before the 5pm kick-off.

The fans were split about 70:30 with, as you would expect, many more supporting Sporting.

The winner came early, after three minutes, as Academica caught Sporting a bit cold.
A cross from the left was headed in by Marinho.

The team in black then defended well, frustrating most of the Sporting attacks.

Into the second period the game opened up with striker Edinho having two great chances - both spurned.
Later Ricky van Wolfswinkel had his opportunities, a one-on-one and a header.
Again he also failed to convert.

With time running down Academica resorted to typical time wasting tactics and so we had six minutes of added time.

Each time Sporting did get close the opposing goalie blocked the shots.
They did have an earlier decent claim for a penalty but it was not to be.

So it ended with the ‘Academics’ triumphant and as the morning paper said it was not a quiet night in Coimbra.

I walked up and the down the hills, making a brisk getaway and was back in Faro by 10pm.

more pictures from Hampden at http://www.photobox.co.uk/album/1279556410
and from Lisbon at http://www.photobox.co.uk/album/1279607852

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