Two penalties put paid to best laid Británico plans.
The cold had finally arrived in Madrid and with the changing of the clocks there was a general feeling that winter had arrived, except for last Sunday in a small Eden in north Madrid called La Elipa where the sun shone out creating a perfect day for football against one of the championship challenging teams for this season.
8th place FCB lined up against 2nd placed Dinamo Sport Madrid with a settled line up that had won one and drawn two of their last three games. Captain Hutchinson took his place between the post and a slight shuffle at the back saw defensive giant Pablo take a rest, Jack filling his place next to big Dave after missing the week before. Cool as a cucumber Christian moved out to right back while the man with dynamite in his boots Bruce settled in at left back. Handsome Irishman Andy moved forward to his more conventional left wing hoping to keep his scoring boots on with industrial tape. The feared partnership of Tomás and recent two time man of the match winner Josh took their familiar places in the centre of midfield while the sensational recent discovery Ben occupied the right flank. Goal machines Zac and Barry, numbers 10 and 9 respectively, made up what looked a very strong team backed up by Seba, Gabi, Fabi, Rob and Adam on the bench.
FC Británico started at a frightening pace which shook the Dinamo boys to their boots as first Barry beat three down the left flank before setting up Zac from 6 yards out and then the Scotsman himself had tough one on one chance, both in the first 10 minutes and both brilliantly saved by the impressive DSM ‘keeper. FCB did their best to keep the tempo high and play the passing game, moving the ball and playing in Dinamo territorial where possible, from the other side, knowing that the low sun was straight in the eyes of the Brits back five, and not able to find any way through Josh and Tomás in centre-mid, the Spaniards were playing a more long ball game without much success.
But the game was opened up on the half hour when a cross smacked into Tomás from the left by-line. Without pause the Referee had blown for a penalty, the men in white looked bemused while Tomás looked scandalised. With his arms by his side standing on the very edge of the box it was a very harsh call. With Tomás’ protests that the ball hit him in the ribs still buzzing in his ears, the arbi called for the DSM captain to take the pen, which was subsequently dispatched to Hutchinson’s right.
In the minutes to halftime both teams probed but with no cutting edge. Andy and Ben were working immensely hard on the flanks tracking back to help Bruce and Chris where possible before tearing forward on the attack.
The dressing room at halftime was a quiet place, but not due to the disappointment of going in 1-0, rather because of the grim determination etched on each player’s face that needed no words to back it up, each player new they could win this game, they were ready to take the game to the Spaniards in the second half.
It was not to be though, within 10 minutes it was 0-2, a good move down the Británico left flank resulted in a tantalising cross to the back post that saw the Spanish Captain rise high and power a header low to the ‘keeper’s right for his second goal.
This did not keep the White Knights down for long though as a wicked corner from the skilful Zac found Dave at the back post arriving like a Madrid Cercanias to power a bullet header straight back where it had come from, luckily Chris was on hand with a right footed hooked volley into the side netting to make it 1-2.
This was FCB’s moment to counterattack, put Dinamo under pressure, show them who the boss of Las Cocheras really is, but the plan fell to pieces on 70 minutes when another penalty for handball, smashed into the net by the Dinamo captain for his hat trick, and a low cross deflected in, both in the space of 5 minutes, put the game beyond Futbol club Británico.
A slightest glimmer of hope appeared when birthday boy Barry was sent away down the right channel of the 16 yard box, he steadied himself and stroked the ball into the far corner with his right foot. At 2-4 and 5 minutes to go the FCB boys were still fighting for every ball in midfield, clearing every ball in defence and running hard at goal up front. The introduction of Seba at right back had added extra steel to the back line, Gabi and Adam had come on for the now exhausted Andy and Ben and were using their pace well, while Fabi was introduced in Midfield to partner Zac, leaving Josh to protect the back four. The dozens of fans were in no doubt FCB were playing the better football , but it was to get worse as the Dinamo left winger cut inside skipping through some tired challenges and let loose a curling finish into the far corner beyond Hutchinson’s desperately grasping fingers.
2-5 it finished and although the score line does not suggest it, the game was very even, two handball decisions and good Spanish finishing did not FCB. It is a strong team which competed very well with one of the top teams in the league, netting a third of the goals that DSM has conceded all season.
The Británico boys will bounce back.