Tuesday, 24 May 2011
Euro Revision #2: Deportivo la Coruna v AC Milan
Please give a very warm welcome to Surreal Football’s Ethan Dean-Richards, who makes one beautiful clusterfuck of a debut for Magic Spongers in the second part of our Champions League mini-series. He can also be found here @SurrealFootball.
Milan 4-1 Deportivo & Deportivo 4-0 Milan, Quarter Finals, April 2004
It’s traditional, I’m told, to do some research on the game that you’re writing about, before you write about it. I’ve also heard that looking for a second time at the context in which your piece will be placed – the series, if you will – is advisable, because who wants to spend an hour – alright, fifteen minutes – tapping out exactly the wrong sort of thing? On both of these counts, as in all other things, I'm an innovator – a maverick.
In what I imagine will be my greatest work to date, I’m here to talk about my shaky memory of a two-legged European tie: Milan 5-6 Deportivo La Coruna.
I’d imagine the first leg was played on a Tuesday, because ITV used to show the Tuesday, rather than the Wednesday games. It was probably spring or summer, because I know the tie was in the latter rounds of the Champions League. I’m hazy about which year it was, but 2002 or 2003 seem good guesses. I sat, alone, or maybe with my brother, watching the coverage – quite possibly with a can of Tango.
The teams lined up like so:
Milan: Dida, Cafu, Nesta, Costacuorta (sp?) Maldini, Gattuso, Pirlo, Ambrosini, Seedorf, Kaka, Shevchenko, JD Tommason (sp?)
Deportivo: GK, RB, CB, CB, Capdevilla - maybe, Valeron, Luque, Tristan
It wouldn’t surprise me to hear that these are not entirely accurate.
The game began and I think Milan scored early. I remember it as an onslaught from kickoff onwards, with Kaka playing in one of his first games for Milan. I won’t pretend to remember any of the goals, except one: Kaka, sometime in the second half, controlled the ball on his left thigh, and then volleyed the ball into the net with his right foot – all from somewhere near the edge of the area. I was stunned and attempted to reproduce it for weeks, managing only poor impressions.
I will not apologise if that goal never actually happened. If it didn’t, then it’s odd that I’ve had it stuck in my memory for years, and that’ll be the end of it. Milan may have won the first leg 4-1, and I’d guess that Deportivo scored last (maybe Valeron), because I seem to remember a late spell of pressure for them.
In between the two legs, there was a quote from a Deportivo player saying they’d have to attack like gods or titans or something else if they were going to go through. I can’t remember if I heard that quote before or after the second game, but it’s always seemed a pretty cool thing to have said, considering what happened next.
I don’t think I watched the second leg, though I might’ve listened to it on the radio - possibly with a Tango. Regardless of what I was doing whilst the match went on, Deportivo managed to pull the tie back – Tristan might’ve scored (a hatrick? Some of this stuff is just coming to me whilst I type, because I’m such a fucking maverick). I found out somehow that they’d won four-or-five-one-or-two, and thought it was really cool that they’d gone through.
That’s my favourite European tie ever. Was it supposed to be favourite European game? What happened to Deportivo in the next round? Was it a mistake not to look anything up? When did most people stop reading? What did happen to the guy from the Manic Street Preachers? Is David Cameron joking? Will my genius ever be recognised? What’s a narwhal? Does Anelka shave his head or is he just bald? Cadbury’s or Galaxy? When did I stop drinking Tango and switch to Lucozade? Answers on le postcard**
*Addressed to Magic Spongers, not me.