September 13th was a very important day for football on Ibiza. It was the first time that two island teams had contested a game in Second Division B of the Spanish League. Football on Ibiza really is coming home in leaps and bounds, corners and goal scoring opportunities.
Almost as if by arrangement the game was preceded by a titanic struggle in English Premier League football – Liverpool v. Man Utd – in front of a capacity Anfield crowd of some 45,000 people. More like a Europen cup tie than an early season local derby, Liverpool triumphed in front of their home crowd, despite going a goal behind, and went to the top of the Premier League.
Was this to be prophetic? Could Santa Eulalia’s Peña Deportiva beat their rivals from ten kilometers down the road and leap above them in only their first season in the dizzy heights of Division 2 B. Starting the game on equal points, a win would leave them just 31 places shy of Barcelona and Real Madrid in the Spanish football hierarchy.
Parking was difficult, as it should be for a local derby of this stature, so on the long walk to the stadium the roar of the crowd made it clear that we’d missed kick off, but also served to quicken the pulse in expectation of this gladiatorial contest.
The attendance was a little lower than that at Anfield, for the simple reason that there is but a single stand, the main stand, at the Peña Deportiva stadium. This had been radically extended for today’s fixture and was equally divided between the Peña and Eivissa fans, as became clear when the ball finally found the back of the net.
However, the up-side of a single stand is that when there’s a stoppage in play you can enjoy a view of the sea on the horizon. This was particularly true when half time arrived and we still hadn’t found the scoreboard. Having arrived late this was a problem, but with the attendance apparently touching 1,500 we didn’t want to trouble any of the heavily outnumbered policemen, as you might if you were lost or didn’t know the time – instead we decided to assume that it was scoreless at that point and contented ourselves with admiring the thoughtfully arranged full moon rising out of the distant sea, whilst we waited for the second half to start.
The first half had gone the way of the home team, but without a breakthrough. This arrived after ten minutes of the second half when a carelessly conceded free kick resulted in an off the ball incident in the box for which the referee awarded a fairly generous penalty. Tino confidently put Santa Eulalia ahead when he sent the goally the wrong way with his spot kick. Half of the crowd went ballistic as the pitch succumbed to shade before the setting sun.
It remained a fairly evenly balanced contest for the next twenty minutes until a sweet move split the Eivissa defence allowing Heredia through to score a fine second goal for the home team. Ten minutes to go and the home team were both looking good and growing in confidence.
Meanwhile the ten local policemen, clearly worried by their largest challenge yet, turned their attention from the match and towards crowd control. Half of the ecstatic crowd had got the result they wanted and for the accountants at Peña Deportiva it was probably the biggest take on the gate they’d ever seen.
Nearly time to bring on Inter Milan and the rest…
In the meantime local bragging rights remain with the smaller town till the re-match in January.
Click on images for larger versions
|Half time and its burger and beer time|
|Tino takes the penalty||The score… 1-0 to Santa Eulalia|
|Heredia blasts down the wing and shoots – score:. 2-0 to Santa Eulalia|
|Santa Eulalia continue to attack||