Southend United’s pre-season tour to Madrid – Part 1

Ciudad del Real Madrid, Saturday July 28th 2012. Kick off: 10.00am

Real Madrid C 3

(Ramirez 43, Mariano pen 53, Burgui 76)                                               

Southend United 1

(Harris 3)

If there ever was an antithesis to their all powerful commercial juggernaut of their Santiago Bernabeu stadium (Real Madrid crisps anyone?) it has to be their quiet, secluded, and heavily guarded training camp, Ciudad del Real Madrid sited at Valdedebas in Northern Madrid quite literally in the middle of nowhere. Here they plot world domination with ten pitches all with spectator seating and floodlights. The B team, Castilla, has its own stadium (Estadio Alfredo di Stefano) on the complex which has 6,000 seats and a capacity of 20,000 (Only 350 people watched their friendly with Getafe B later on in the day).

A five Euro match ticket purchased (Real C v Southern United!) at the gatehouse allowed us to walk to pitch 7 where our game would take place, surveyed at all times by uniformed guards. I counted 55 Southend fans from a crowd of 101 at the start of the game. Blues started very well, playing 4-3-3, and opened the scoring after just 3 minutes when Gavin Tomlin found space down the right and crossed perfectly for Neil Harris to head home, Harris having stolen in unnoticed by Dani Suarez. Trialist goalkeeper Phil Smith flapped alarmingly at a corner six minutes later and Suarez, unmarked, should have done better with his header. Brogan and Cresswell also had headers that were just wide of the mark. Tempers flared momentarily in the heat of morning when Harris reacted angrily to a heavy challenge from Alvaro Lopez. Mr Martin turned up half way through the first half airport bag in hand having missed his original flight. Two minutes before half time the home side levelled when the referee gave a soft free kick from a non-existent foul from Phillips. Ramirez rocketed the free kick into Smith’s left hand corner, either the wall was incorrectly placed or it parted allowing the effort to go in. H/T 1-1

Blues were unchanged at half-time while the hosts made eight changes which seemed to benefit them as they took control of the game in the searing heat. Just seven minutes into the half Mariano evaded a Blues challenge and rounded Smith very easily, about to score Smith hooked his leg away and conceded the penalty. Mariano dispatched the spot kick easily with Smith going the wrong way. The same player then saw a header saved superbly by Smith. 68 minutes into the game Sturrock made 7 changes while Real subbed their remaining three players (two first half players returned to the fray). Blues went 3-1 down though when Burgui was put through and easily rounded Smith to score. Southend then looked like getting back into the game, Leonard took a quick free kick and Eastwood netted only for the referee to pull the game back as he wasn’t happy with the free kick. Moments later Llorente blatantly fouled Prosser in the penalty area but the ref waved away appeals for a spot kick. The final chance of the game fell to Ryan Hall who blazed narrowly wide on 88 minutes. There was a small report on the game in the national daily sports paper AS.

Real:

1.Ruben (sub:13.Jacob 46) 2. Carmona (sub:12.Joel 46) 3.Angel  (sub: 16.Nobeljas 46) 4.Marc Vales (sub: Burgui 46) 5.Dani Suarez (sub:15.  Llorente 46) 6. Alvaro Lopez © (sub:14. Molero 46) 7.Bruno (sub:6. Alvaro Lopez 68) 8.Muguel Herranz (sub:17.Kamal 46) 9.Aguza (sub: 10.Ramirez 68) 10.Ramirez (sub: 20.Mariano 46) 11.Belima (sub 19 Barril 68)

Blues:

1.Smith 2.Clohessy (sub:17.Martin 68) 3.Straker (sub:15.Prosser 68)  4.Ferdinand 5.Cresswell (sub:12.Coughlan 68) 6.Phillips (sub:14.Barker 68) 7.Hurst (sub:19. Benyon 68) 8.Leonard 9.Harris © 10.Tomlin (sub: 18.Eastwood 68) 11.Brogan (sub:16.Hall 68)

Sub not used:13.Bentley 

Some of the Blues contingent took up the option to see Atletico Madrid take on Alianza Lima at the superb riverside Vicente Calderon stadium with a 9pm kick off. A crowd of 15,000 watched the home side win 3-0 and greatly admired the passionate support of the 3,000 Peruvians, crazy people!

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