Thursday, August 4, 2005

Middlesbrough 1 Atletico Madrid 2

Middlesbrough 1 Atletico Madrid 2.
Poor finishing killed off the Boro this time in what was otherwise a decent performance. Thankfully much better than the poor first half display from much the same team I had the misfortune to witness a couple of weeks ago against Darlington, the boys played well , creating plenty of chances but failing to capitalise on them.
Viduka looked surprisingly good, troubling the defence right through the game until he was replaced in the second half - a good omen for the coming season if he can only keep injury at bay that long. But like Hasselbaink, Downing, Nemeth and Mendieta (Yakubu came on but not for long) , it all fell apart when it came to the crunch. Where Boro held onto the ball far too long, not taking the chances on goal as they came up, lacking the agrressiveness and spontaneity we need up front, Atletico were the exact opposite. They looked for chances and quickly acted upon every single one that came along, resulting in far more shots on or near the target than we had, and of course 2 goals. The first a sudden bolt from nowhere in the first half that didn't give Schwarzer a chance and the second a beautiful free kick given after a stupid challenge from Macy Gray, sorry, Ugo Ehiogu on the edge of the box. And there could've quite easily been a few more if it weren't for the long arm of Schwarzer and some great defending from Gareth Southgate.
Boro's consolation goal came from Nemeth in the last breaths of the second half, and he nearly popped in another when his shot pinged of the post soon after, but unfortunately too little too late. We were also given the joy of seeing Yakubu towering over the defence in a Boro shirt for the first time, but he wasn't really on long enough to make an impact.
A promising performance from Middlesbrough, with only finishing a concern, and the number of dodgy challenges in a friendly. Looking good, looking good...

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