Sunday, August 01, 2010

The season starts before the season starts

Cardiff City 0 – Deportivo La Caruna 1 (31 July 2010)
Cardiff City’s pre-season friendly matches were mainly away, but this was their showcase home friendly, against the one time La Liga winners who have faded a bit in the last few years. It also gave me an opportunity to visit the new Cardiff City Stadium; Ninian Park now being a motley collection of nearly-built houses.

Friendlies always lack ‘edge’, and for a moment I thought this was going to end up like the fairly dire game against Ajax I went to a couple of years ago. (The entertaining bloke behind me thought so too.) But after 80 minutes of possession football, the Spanish side obviously decided they had mucked about enough, strung together a series of clinical short passes and scored when the ball was stroked home from about four yards out.

The collective response from the crowd was ‘Oh.’ Personally I wondered why they didn’t do that earlier. Maybe they didn’t want to embarrass their hosts.

But what it showed was a different mindset between Spain and Wales. There were several times when a Spanish attacking midfielder on the edge of the area would look up, see no options and pass backwards, with the ball ending up eventually back with the keeper, who would pass the ball out to a defender on the other side of the pitch, who would try and develop something on that side of the field. It was strangely fascinating considering it was so dull.

Cardiff on the other hand would occasionally loft a ball over the top of the defence and their frontmen would try and run onto it. This was usually the end of their short spell in possession and we would be back to Spanish non-urgent passing.

Not the most interesting start to a new season, but educational nonetheless.

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