A comfortable victory that would’ve been even more comprehensive if our finishing had matched the energy of our pressing and madcap, sometimes frantic, hunting down of any Limassol player who dared take more than one touch.
It was a triumph of the system or ‘our philosophy’ as Poch calls it. We had the better and fitter players and we made sure we proved it. Countless times Paulinho, Lennon or Townsend caught a defender or midfielder dallying in possession in their own half with the result that we were bearing down on goal. We opened the scoring after forty odd minutes when Paulinho forced a mistake from a defender and swiftly released Kane who scored adroitly from 18 yards thus making up for his penalty miss earlier in the game.
Ironically perhaps, Limassol’s only spell of pressure came at the end of the first half during the 7 minutes added on because of the penalty incident. Their goalie’s Kamikaze attempt to get to Paulinho’s through ball before Naughton led to a long period of treatment, a yellow card and a substitution for the Cypriot custodian…and then Kane’s miss. All action stuff.
One became two shortly after the interval (which included Chirpy’s ice bucket challenge – half time ain’t what used to be) when Chiriches tackled a defender in their box after continuing a run forward and Paulinho buried the resultant loose ball past the diving keeper whose evening was fast turning from heroic (penalty save with first touch of ball) to humdrum (whoa, I never saw that one, sorry lads). Townsend scored number three from the spot after a handball.
The game then went all ‘do i look bovvered?’. The tempo dropped, we made a few subs and it all petered out.
So, into the group stages we go once again for another set of games against another set of teams and fans who appear to take this competition far more seriously than we do. It was a very good all round display, Kane linked play and led the line well, Davies looked confident on his home debut, Chiriches as ever silky on the floor and lacking in the air and elsewhere the more familiar players were lively and skilful but most importantly, played to plan.
The draw is at midday our time. COYS.
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