New Year’s Eve passed splendidly with a good meal among friends, a firework show on the beach then far too much to drink. Suffering now because of that, also a six monthly check-up at the dentist that left me financially and orally challenged!
In among the showers I took a trip last Tuesday to the far end of the Algarve and the town of Vila Real de Santo António, to take a look at real footballers in one of the training matches they play during the ‘winterbreak’ in Germany, Belgium, Netherlands etc.
FC Sparta Rotterdam 3 Lierse SK 0
The team that’s top of the Dutch second division showed why. Defensive errors by the Belgians (who are 10th in their second division) were ruthlessly punished.
A fairly entertaining game in proper football weather. A squally and icy shower hit the stadium in Vila Real just as they kicked off. The wind blew hard for most of the match, warm it was not.
Here’s the cloud drawing near a few minutes earlier.
The sports complex at Vila Real de Santo António would put to shame any British town of similar size. A multi-use stadium, an indoor 80 metres track etc, two more grass pitches with floodlights (one has rugby posts for some reason!) several tennis courts, the large municipal swimming pool and two 3G pitches. And the town mortuary! I’d love to know where they get the money from.
Sparta (in red and white, apparently they decided to model themselves on Sunderland when it came to choosing a colour) take the lead just before half time. Three defenders and none of them committed.
One of the most prominent features of Vila Real is the lighthouse. Here it is, seen from inside the stadium.
Lierse will be in action in my local stadium a little later, rain is coming so I am off shortly!!