Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Melbourne Victory v David Beckham

Last night I met Mary in town, and we made our way to Etihad Stadium for the friendly between Melbourne Victory and touring LA Galaxy. Having followed the pandemonium since Becks arrived in Melbourne I, like so many of the crowd, was just there to see him play live.

Of course, this match was originally billed as Harry Kewell verses Becks, which would have been a treat for the eyes. But alas, Harry was interviewed on the sidelines during the match, clearly not taking part.

We arrived just as the teams were lining up, for no actual fanfare, before they separated and dispersed to start the match. As the sun was still in our eyes up on Level 3, in the balmy Melbourne night, we could really only tell when Becks was near the ball by the squeals around the dome, puncturing the otherwise silent crowd. Kind of eerie really, with completely no atmosphere, no home cheersquad.

Melbourne Victory missed some shots early, and then managed to grab a few goals. A penalty involving Becks saw LA score towards the end of the first half, with the Irish Keane slotting it through.

Another penalty to LA, and Keane, after half time, and the scores were even, and that's how it stayed for the remainder of the match. Despite all the substitutions that went on for the second half, Becks stayed on til the last minute of normal time.

A fairly lacklustre game, ending in a penalty shoot out that was not explained to the crowd. A missed opportunity to bring soccer to Melbourne public, surely. The visitors the eventual victors.

It was pretty amazing to see one of the most famous people of the world run around and do what he does, arcing the ball as he does on a couple of occasions. Becks showed a real leadership presence on the field, constantly directing his teammates to where he thought they should be.

After the match he was interviewed on field, although the sound didn't carry through the dome. He then acknowledged the crowd, and after not swapping his jumper with any other player, took his shirt off and picked someone in the crowd to give it to. A full showman act!

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