Friday 20th December 2013 ko 20.30
Segunda B Grupo 4
CÁDIZ CF 3 (Josete 19 Villar 47 Fall 63) Luque sent off 69 (denying clear goalscoring opportunity)
CP CACEREÑO 4 (Valverde 24 Carrizosa 48 Elias 69p Gaspar 80)
Entry €18 (around £15.10)
After our successful tour of Budapest a few weeks ago Andy and I decided to repeat the formula, albeit with a different destination! We flew to Seville, and booked into a hotel in the city’s historic Old Town, the idea being to watch Real Betis on the Saturday and Huelva on Sunday.
For the groundhopper a bugbear of football in Spain is that kick-off times are often not fixed until a few days before the game, so you have to be flexible. I discovered on Wednesday that Cádiz were now playing on Friday night and so checked times with Renfe the Spanish train operator. Despite the Estadio Ramón de Carranza having its own station, the last train departed for Seville 15 minutes after kick-off!
We hired a car, and I spent the 10 miles from the airport to the hotel learning how to drive a left-hand car on the right-hand side of the road. That wasn’t difficult in the Old Town with its one-way system, and narrow streets!
It took around 90 minutes to negotiate the toll motorway south at a cost of around €7, but actually getting to the correct part of Cádiz was a challenge. The city is on a narrow spur of land and reclaimed land is much to the fore, linked by a series of bridges, so if you make an error a U-turn is not straightforward.
That’s not to say Cádiz isn’t old, far from it, its reckoned to be the oldest settlement on the Iberian peninsula. It’s a port city, and the home of the Spanish navy, and the huge cranes are a huge landmark.
The Estadio Ramón de Carranza is in the south-east of the city, and the club have played here since 1955. The ground was completely rebuilt from 2003-12 and there are some real quirks. Firstly from the outside the stadium looks like an office and retail development, with just the floodlights atop the Preferencia side giving away its true purpose. The rebuild was financed entirely from public money and the gaps behind and under the stands were filled in with offices, a supermarket and in the case of the Main Stand a hotel. The idea I suppose was to help recoup the massive cost of the rebuild. Underneath the pitch there’s space for 900 cars. In short its the kind of ground you don’t see in the UK, exactly the reason for a foreign jaunt or two!!
However, once you’re in the ground there is so much to enjoy and admire. The stand’s rake is like nothing I’d seen before, but when its this steep the view is excellent. Opposite me, the floodlights in the Main Stand set into the roof reminded me of a series of angle-poise lamps.
As good as the ground is, on this evening it played second fiddle to a quite magnificent game of football. Football watchers have become used to the slick pass-and move Tiki-taka style of play favoured by the Spanish national side and the likes of Barcelona and Real Madrid. What neither Andy or I expected was that we’d see it in a third division game.
The goals came in steady succession, each at the end of a lengthy passing move, with each team seemingly trying to outdo the previous effort. Arguably the best of the bunch was the one that didn’t count, with what felt like every Cádiz player touching the ball starting from the keeper. It culminated with a mis-move from the left finding Villar in the back of the box to stroke home, only for him to be correctly, if rather churlishly ruled offside.
If that decision was correct, then the one to dismiss Cádiz captain Luque was controversial to put it mildly. A ball was hammered into the Cádiz box, and it hit Luque. He was sent off and Elias converted the penalty. For me at worst it was ball to hand, and it could not have been deliberate. His departure was enough to tilt a game on a knife-edge towards the visitors. Yet another slick passing move saw Gaspar score the winner for Cacereño, which was rough on the hosts, who deserved at least the draw. If only both sides could have won, it really was that good a spectacle.
Research for this article with the help of the excellent http://estadiosdeespana.blogspot.co.uk/