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Sunday football - Barcelona style (Part 3)

Total Football is following the fortunes of a Sunday League side in Barcelona. Here, we see Jasmit Jabbal's Darwins side enjoying an upturn in fortunes...

We played our third game of the season against Real Balmes.

Darwins had only managed two wins all of last season, but we went into this game hoping to match that record. After four training sessions and two games in, the signs of improvement have been immense, although there is still a lot of work to do.

Real Balmes’ went into the game with the worst disciplinary record in the league thus far; in three games they had managed six yellow cards and two reds. In the UK, if you played a team with a the worst disciplinary record in the league, you swapped your shin pads for some crickets pads, whereas in Barcelona I was to learn that it was not your legs breaking point that was tested, but your temperament.

A nice perk of playing here is that your games take place in little stadiums around the city, and when you play you are the centre of attention.

You don’t share a huge field with 50 other teams, and some people actually watch you play. You have your own changing room and play under the floodlights, depending on kick off times, little things that make you feel more professional.

Team talk

We arrived early and managed a thorough warm up and good team talk before the game. Sometimes the pitch is not free to conduct a proper warm up, so this was an opportunity to get a feel of the ball before the game. We started the game very well, and in the initial stages the work from training was being deployed on the pitch.

Simple effective passes, defence keeping their shape, midfielders providing options and the front three running the opposition centre backs all over the place. After some neat and tidy passages of play we scored a goal to be proud of, a goal all the work in training had created.

Ross played a pass into me from midfield, I returned the pass and ran in behind the defender, he then played a perfectly weight ball through, which I directed across goal for Matt to smash home.

We dominated the first half and should have added more, I inexplicably missed a one on one (I will insist on running a finishing drill in training this week) and we lacked some quality with the final pass.

Then Balmes decided it was time to resort to the dark arts. As I said, this is not Hackney Marshes, and the dark arts here have a Latin flair. Balmes players where diving, waving imaginary cards, pushing players in the chest to get a reaction, and even resorting to racist remarks.

Distracted

Incredible really, especially when in England a two footed lunge is greeted with a shrug, whereas “cheating” really gets the blood boiling. We became distracted and the game became bitty and scrappy.

Balmes leveled with a long punt up the pitch that their striker lofted over our goalkeeper, Ben, who had been excellent throughout the game. This defensive error was caused by us becoming involved with Balmes’ players.

Last season we would have lost, indeed this very same side beat us 5-1 last term by resorting to similar tactics.

But weeks of working together and training has created a team spirit, demonstrated when James smashed home a volley within a minute of us going behind and Ciaran won us the game thanks to some buttery fingers from their goalkeeper.

All in all a great result and two wins on the bounce already! We still have a lot to work on, but points on the board is what counts, and equaling our number of wins from last season already is satisfying. We are the Levante of the amateur football in Barcelona!

By Jasmit Jabbal


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