It was another Saturday in Madrid, however winter was setting in as the weather was bitter. To the Gaffers surprise everybody was out of bed and ready to go. 17 players showed for another greatly anticipated game. The news had spread about Britanicos unbeaten run and we had spectators for this game!! Steve and an FCB legend Stuart came to cheer the boys on from the touchline. (This totalled ourScottish community up to 7, which is more than the Scottish National team get at home 😉 )
The opponents were AAPLA a good team who like to keep the ball moving and have some experience players on the pitch. The boys knew that this was not the same game as last week.
17 players caused a headache for Rami and the selection was tough. The line up was as follows: Hutch, Rich, Evo, Omar, Al, Nick, Mick, Karim, Bini, Ish, and George. The bench was, Dave Pugh, Terry, Charles, Ernest, Ojo and Tom.
The game kicked off and it was FCB who took control of the game. Passing the ball crisply and spreading the play well using both wings. The 3 central midfielder’s enjoyed plenty of the ball and started to really open up. The first of the chances came from Bini, who used quick feet to get away from the full back and shooting narrowly wide. Two minutes later Bini again shot from outside the area for it to be stopped by the keeper.
20 mins into the game Ish received the ball from Richard up the line. Ish played into George who held up well and passed round the corner back to Ish. Ish darted into the area and came inside. As he passed one player then another, a trailing leg of the number 4 brought down Ish. Penalty!!! The ref had given it, much to the dismay of the AAPLA players on and off the field. The ref’s decision was final and the penalty was confirmed. Bini was the man to step up….. GOAL!! 1 nil!! But there was a long way to go and FCB knew this.
AAPLA begun to attack and seemed to have a solution to the midfield trio. Closing down and putting them under pressure in numbers seemed to be the trick. FCB were giving possession away and found it difficult to get the momentum from the early part of the game. This was also not helped by the Referee, giving unwarranted free kicks.
With FCB on the back foot counter attacking football was the only option. FCB back 4 did well to deal with the long ball, Evo and Omar commanding the defence. The ref finally gave a free kick to FCB. It was in a dangerous area and Bini took the opportunity to have a shot which came off the bar!
AAPLA applied the pressure going long again. The defence failed to deal with it this time. The ball bounced across the box and Hutch came to collect. Their was a small tangle with the players and the referee blew for a free kick on the keeper….. WHAT!! Penalty again!! For AAPLA! Was this redemption?! The FCB players were as shock as the bench and spectators! After the protest AAPLA number 6 stepped up. Goal. Disappointing refereeing. 1-1.
FCB started again, playing good combination football like the first 20. Ish picked up the ball on the left giving to George who held the ball well, taking on the full back and hitting the ball across the goal. Across the face it went and missed by defenders and attackers but Nick came in at the back post to slot away!!! Fantastic! FCB deserved the lead again!
The referee blew for half time. And FCB felt good, but were disappointed by some of the decisions by the ref. Calm was asked of the players as frustration was expressed. Keep possession and do the right things was the words from Rami.
The second half began, and it was AAPLA who were the better team spreading the ball well. However great defending from Omar saw that the team did not suffer another goal conceded. AAPLA hit the bar and also the post on the attacks and the game became frantic. Lack of chances were the problem for FCB but they slowly came back into the game. Dave Pugh coming off the bench added a different dimension to the team and creating some good opportunities. FCB also started to mix play, primarily playing to the full backs Al and Rich at the start, now started to play long and confuse AAPLA. Using George and his strength to hold up the ball.
As the end of the game drew near FCB started to defend deep allowing AAPLA to play very direct. Again Omar dealt with it brilliantly as he defended with his life. Ojo besides him added strength as Evo spent some of the game in the centre of the park. Tom now on the left replacing Rich was fantastic bringing out the play with his one right foot!!! The last major chance of the game came to George who shot narrowly wide. (The FCB bench had thought it had gone in). As the direct play continued it never threatened Hutch as he dealt with it superbly and the captain slew down the play by making AAPLA force him to pick up the ball. Great work by ‘el capitan’!
The Referee blew for time and that was it! 10 points from 12! The fantastic start to the season continues! Everybody was happy, not just for the win but for the sake of Rami’s health who nearly had a heart attack 6 times!
Well done boys! AAPLA are one of the better teams of the league and we showed that we can out play them!