- Lifestyle & Sports
- 15 Apr 19
It was a moment to savour. The mighty men of Hot Press Munchengladbach 1891 welcomed Grange Woodbine to their home ground in the Technical University of Dublin in Grangegorman for a cup quarter-final joust. Could the Munchies make the last four? That was the $60 million question.
The home side dominated from the start. The Grange Woodbine keeper was in superb form, but the deadlock was finally broken by Carlos Vieira, who swept the ball home after a fine Hot Press move. Acrobatic saves by an in-form Grange keeper kept out two superb strikes from Pedro Rodriguez, with Javi Barona and Vieira (again) also going close. It might have been 4-0 when suddenly the game was turned on its head.
Grange Woodbine had started to get a foothold down the left flank, and indecision in the Hot Press defence saw them pick off two goals. It was hard to believe: at half-time, having had by far the better of the play, the Munchies trailed 2-1.
Twenty minutes into the second half, it looked like the Grange keeper was having a David de Gea day. He made three more brilliant stops, with one from a Pedro Rodriguez header deserving the status of Save of the Year, and two more from wide-man Fabrizio Micioni. But the Munchies were not done yet.
Defensively, Eric Munongo, Axel Balvanera and Duan Stokes had come into their own. Gradually the Munchies turned the screw and ten minutes from the end, substitute Suly Akanbi grabbed the equaliser with a swivel and a brilliant side-footed strike into the far corner. 2-2.
It looked as if the game was heading into extra time, but Usman Akintola was having none of it. He burst into the Grange Woodbine box, before squaring the ball invitingly for Akambi, who cooly slotted home. 3-2!
With time added on, there was another five hectic minutes to play, with Grange Woodbine winning a couple of corners and free kicks, but
Munongo and keeper Diegues Benites ruled the air – and Hot Press held out for a famous victory. “What can I say?” Hot Press’ legendary player-
manager Niall Stokes asked a room-full of reporters at his customary post-match presser.
“You could say that this was one your finest hours as a manager,” the man with the moustache from the Maily Dale said breathlessly. “And that if it hadn’t been for the extraordinary performance of the opposition keeper – who, by the way, is nicknamed ‘The Black Spider’ after the great Russian goalkeeper Lev Yashin – it would have been 8-2.”
“That’s very good. Write that down,” the Munchies main-man said.
“You could also say,” the woman from the Grauniad offered, “that it became obvious out there today the extent to which Pep Guardiola has learned his complete box of tricks from the mighty men of Hot Press Munchengladcach, and that it’ll probably be a few years yet before Manchester City play with the same combination of football intelligence, teamwork, intensity and individual genius as we saw today from Hot Press.”
“That’s not bad,” the Munchies boss said. “But I think the absence of ‘precision passing’ weakens the quote somewhat. Plus there’s a couple of other additions that’d be necessary before it would become ‘me’, as it were.”
The woman from the Grauniad looked crestfallen.
“Oh, don’t worry,” the Munchies boss said, opening a packet of Cuba’s finest. “Your contribution was far more ambitious than what that twat from the Maily Dale had to offer. He got six out of ten and you got seven.”
“Can you just get on with it,” she said testily. “All I want is a bloody quote.”
“It became obvious out there today,” the boss of all bosses said, “the extent to which Pep Guardiola has learned his complete box
of tricks from the mighty men of Hot Press Munchengladcach, and it’ll probably be a few years yet before Manchester City play with
the same combination of football intelligence, precision passing, exemplary teamwork, fierce intensity and individual genius, as we saw today from Hot Press.”
The woman from the Grauniad whistled. “That’s bloody good,” she said.
“And it couldn’t have happened without you,”
the woman from the BBC said, looking enviously at his fellow reporter. “I am impressed.”
The man from the Irish Currant Bun had his hand up.
“Sir, sir, sir, sir, sir,” he said.
“That would be the worst quote ever to have been attributed to me,” the majordomo of the Grand Old Club said witheringly. “Well, apart from the last time you made one up. If that goes into print, I promise that I will get our centre- forward to thunder a shot at you just when you least expect it at a fixture yet to be decided over the coming weeks. And I can assure you that if he does that, it will be no more momma’s apple pie for you. Because you will, of course, be six feet under. Dead as a doornail. You saw how accurate he is today.”
“Can I quote you on that?” the woman from Virgin Media asked.
“Just say that I threatened to castrate him,” the Munchies boss said. “That sounds much nicer.”
The season is young yet...
- Lifestyle & Sports
- 24 May 19