As the players were lead out to the pitch by their manager, the Cancun fans hadn’t all made it inside the stadium at that point. Jock surveyed the scene and noticed a lot of empty seats. ‘Quiet, it’s going to be too quiet’ he kept saying to himself.
Noise is one thing in a home stadium that can turn the tide of a game, and Jock knew it. Tannadice, the home of the mighty Dundee United, might not be known for it’s world class action on the pitch, but the small nature of the ground makes it sound a lot louder then it actually is, and has on occasion provided the home players that little extra boost a lot of footballers rely upon.
It took only 45 seconds, that’s right, forty-five seconds for the first incident of note to happen in the opening stage final. Cancun started the game off and got the ball to on loan left full back Sanchez who bombed down the left hand side. Seeing Almeida cutting inside Sanchez played the ball into his right foot. Almeida took a touch, and passed the ball toward Delgadillo who was pushed before he even got the ball. Stone wall penalty, no Atlante players protested it.
Then the most surreal thing happened. Delgadillo hit the ball with laces out and it thundered to the keepers left. The keeper dived the right way but the ball clipped the post and for everyone in the stadium it looked like the ball crossed the line
The Cancun players and bench were up cheering, but the Atlante players and the ref carried on. Cerecedo in the Atlante goal had smothered the ball up and released it during the commotion. The ref waved no goal, and play continued on.
Jock was screaming at the fourth official but all the official could reply was ‘yo no hablo Ingles’ and ‘te dire que te callas hombre, no te puedo entender!’ Jock summoned Nico, his assistant over
‘What does he mean entender? He knows we should be winning this fucking game!’
‘Leave it now, it’s done’ Nicolas Burtovoy replied in English ‘Let’s not let that distract us’
The goal that wasn’t given didn’t seem to bother the Cancun players, if anything it seem to have spurred them on. They had tested Cerecedo a number of times and didn’t seem phased at all.
Half time finally arrived with the score still at 0-0
Before anyone said anything, Jock paced the room in front of his players.
‘This team talk should be easy, you know what I should be saying, that penalty was in, we know it, that ref knows, the fans in the stand behind the goal know it, hell even that shit house keeper knows it was in. But I’ve calmed down now, and you’ve played really well boys, we’re still in this game, so go out there and carry on taking it to these fraudsters, these cheats, these fucking punks and….’
Before he really went off, Nico stepped in ‘Jock was going to say get a drink, stay focused and lets get back to work’
The second half was much like the first in that both teams were going for the win, and it was Atlante that struck first.
6 minutes in and a cross from deep was headed home, much to the dismay of the Cancun bench who appealed for offside.
On further viewing, Cancun might have had a case for offside on another day but it wasn’t meant to be.
That goal infuriated Jock even more as from that moment on Cancun were second best, and struggled to get anything from the game. Atlante were happy to keep the ball and frustrate the home team. No more shots or anything of note happened, and Atlante took a slender lead into the second leg
Jock’s nature meant he wouldn’t let the game end in peace and continued to berate the referee and linesman over their performances, whilst also screaming in the face of the Atlante manager that ‘This isn’t over you prick’ to which he got no response, much to his dismay.
Much like the first leg an early incident set the tone for the game in the second leg. This time the home side managed to score as Atlante took the lead through a long range free kick that managed to sneak in at the near post to give Atlante a 2-0 aggregate lead
That early goal knocked the wind out of Cancun, and Jock told them as much in the half time team talk
It surprised Jock that the final nail in the coffin, the second goal and third overall in the tie came so late in the game in the 81st minute, but he knew it was over well before that point.
Jock refused to shake the Atlante managers or the referees hands and stormed out of the stadium once he spoke to the players at full time.
‘Not a lot I can or will say to you tonight. You’ve got a week off now, and when you’re back we’re going to go all out in the closing stage. No messing around, we will be better than we were today. Dismissed’.
Next chapter – HOPE IS THE PHYSICIAN OF EACH MISERY
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First chapter – BACK TO THE JOURNEY, MAN – PROLOGUE PART I