Sevilla 1 Real Mallorca 2 (25/11/2007)
There’s nothing nothing fancy about Sevilla’s Estadio Sanchez Pizjuan, but it’s one of those grounds that just works. Sure, the seats are dirty, there’s only cover on one side and the concourse areas make the average bus station look palatial, but it’s everything a football ground should be. It’s close to the pitch. There’s a good view from anywhere. You really feel surrounded by stands an people. You really feel ‘in’ the stadium. and best of all it’s full of passionate fans who want to be part of the spectacle, not just watching it. If only the Sevilla team had been as up for it as everyone else was.
They looked to have their minds on the following Wednesday’s visit of Arsenal, letting Real Mallorca stroll to a 2-0 half time lead, with a Frédéric Kanouté goal in the second half not enough to stir the home to to a draw. An insistence on a very defensive 4-3-3 didn’t seem to help, but English impatience may have been misplaced. They beat Arsenal 3-1 a few days later, so maybe the manager did know what he was doing, even if I didn’t.
Before the match I had the unusual option of watching an English match live in a pub, with Spanish commentary, which was followed by a Spanish match with English commentary. No commentary at the game in either language, obviously, but one English fan (not me I hasten to add) kept up an occasional performance of English club songs to the amusement of many, and probably to the annoyance of a few. Then again the section I was in seemed to be mixed with home and away fans. They must be more relaxed about that kind of thing here.