As fever pitches ever higher for the visit of Liverpool to play Adelaide United, reds v reds, at the Oval, this was last year’s glamour game – Malaga FC. Sadly I don’t have a ticket for the ‘Pool
Football (known here as soccer) came to the recently opened Adelaide Oval with a touch of Iberian glamour: Malaga FC, the sixth best team in Spain, here on pre-season tour to play local heroes Adelaide United. United’s home ground was deemed too small for the twenty three thousand crowd – that’s considerably more than they get for a competitive home game.
It was the day soccer took over the city. Sadly that didn’t happen for the World Cup – the matches were just too early, or late and the early exit of the Socceroos didn’t help. The ride in the tram was fun, nearly every one either in local shirts or a spectrum of English Premier League colours. Inside the Strathmore Hotel (pubs are usually called hotels here) it felt like football, not footy (Aussie Rules). I’ll be able to tell you about that next week as I’m coming back to see Port Power play Sydney Swans in the AFL.
Inside the oval, the rectangular pitch was a little too far from the crowd, and the advertising hoardings that surrounded it meant you couldn’t see the ball for much of the game. But the overall experience was good. The bars and food outlets operated efficiently, and being able to drink alcohol in view of the pitch was one major advantage over the British soccer experience.
As for the match, United put up a decent show in the first half, but no one begrudged Malaga’s five, and there was a consolation goal at the death to send the fans home happy. That’s not like football, to be happy after a 5-1 thrashing, but it felt good to be back in touch with the World game.