Date:Sunday July 25 2010
Finally, the day had come. The day when Sas could finally lay his eyes out on his beloved Rovers....Whilst kick-off was not until 3pm, it was edgy times, would Sas be the only Rovers supporter there, Would he find compatriot Oziroversfan (Adam), was this just a dream, where Rovers really going to play today, at the Sydney Football Stadium!!!!
A dream it wasn't, as Sas arrived at the Sydney Football Stadium, hours before kick off. After purchasing the new scarf, it was beer time, a lonely Sas sat in the Rover's bay, awaiting some company, whilst in the near by bay, the Greek AEK fans were in full voice.
5 minutes, 10 minutes, 20 minutes, it felt like an eternity, but finally, some company. A lovely couple, born in Blackburn, now living in Melbourne found their way over, as did a couple from Accrington, now living across the ditch in New Zealand. After recieving a history lesson, it was kick off-time in the Sydney FC v AEK game. An entertaining clash it was, 5-3 to the Greek team, leaving them in prime position to take out the inaugural Sydney Festival of Football....
A text message....Adam (Vital Blackburn)! Sas had some company, after finally finding Oziroversfan, we enjoyed a beer and AEK slaughtering the Sydney outfit. Adam ducked out for a smoke, and a minute later, I recieved a phone call....Get your arse out here now!!!
Sas dashed down out the stadium, and watched in awe as his beloved Rovers were meters away, warming up. With 10 players on the pitch, it was evident what the starting team looked like, and regardless of Emerton not being there, it was something myself (Tony) and Adam will never forget.
We headed back to the stands, and noticed big Sam Allardyce emerge from the tunnels. After the dash, we took our jerseys off and handed it to Sam who signed it for us, amid the wolf whistling from the local ladies :D....
Big Chris Samba, who was rested for this game, also signed our jerseys, and for anyone who has facebook, took a photo with both of us!
It was kick off time, and the reality had just kicked in. Sas and Adam were finally watching their team, in front of them...
Salgado, Givet, Jones, Chimbonda
Diouf, Nzonzi, Dunn,Gamst
It was a slow start for Rovers, with Rangers dominating in midfield with a superb passing game. And it didnt take long for possesion to give the Scottish outfit the lead. A soft free kick given away by Nzonzi provided Rangers a free kick on the edge of the box. Sloppy marking provided a free header, drifting into the far corner...1-0 Rangers...
Not what we had come for, but, there was still 80 minutes to go...
Blackburn started to look lively. Diouf found plenty of space, alternating between the left and right flanks, whilst Hoillet looked lively up front. Jason Roberts was the pest he always was, and Phil Jones marshalled the defence. With all their pressure, Blackburn just couldnt make a clear cut chance, with Dunny trying his luck from distance as close as we got.
Blackburn pressed for a good 25 minutes, but Rangers struck on the counter to further dent Rover's first trip Down Under. Pascal Chimbonda was caught out on the left flank, leaving Phil Jones out numbered in defence. The ball was cut back across goals, and struck into the back of the net. 2-0 Rangers...
Half time came upon us, and it was time for a beer....
Rovers came out in the second half, running towards us, and again, upped the tempo. Vince Grella and co started warming up, taking a photo with Sas and Adam, whilst Ryan Nelsen entertained the kids and Rovers fans alike. Blackman looked huge, whilst Righters looked like he had eaten one too many pies in the offseason....
Rangers could have made it 3-0, after substitute Hanley brought down his man in the box, but it was embarresingly skied over.
Out of the blue, Brett Emerton emerged, coming on in a central midfield role, and the small crowd of 15000 rose as the local boy returned home.
The second half provided little initial chances for Rovers, until a darting run by Jason Roberts found Hoillet free in the box. The Canadian was brought down, and a penalty awarded. David Dunn stepped up and made no mistake....2-1
Rovers fought and fought away, but just couldnt get that final touch. Roberts came close twice, whilst Dunn rued a poor first touch when released by Roberts. Grella came on with 10 to go, but it just wasn't enough as Chimbonda skied a late effort, Rovers losing 2-1....
Whilst the result didnt go our way, we enjoyed every single moment, and will be back for more on Wednesday Night against AEK
Date:Sunday July 25 2010
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