Watching football live in the stadium and watching from your home or viewing center have different feelings. If you ask me, I'd say that live viewing at the stadium is more fun and more enjoyable when compared to viewing on the television. Over here in my state, we have one big (30,000 capacity) stadium called the Nest of Champions and other mini stadiums. Over the years, I have been chanced to watch many football matches live at the stadium and I enjoyed each moment especially when my supported side wins.
Sometime ago in May 25th, 2018, FIFA fixed Nigeria to play against Atletico Madrid during the club friendlies' period. And the game was to be played in my hometown, Uyo in Akwa Ibom State in Nigeria. As at then, Fernando Torres was still at Atletico Madrid. In my recent post, I did mention that Fernando Torres was among my favourite football players so, it was an opportunity to watch him play live on the pitch.
As such, I couldn't afford to miss the game so, I went quite early to the stadium and secured myself a very nice seat and view. The game was played at the God'swill Akpabio International Stadium also known as the Nest of Champions.
The stadium is one of the finest stadium in Africa. In that 2018/2019 season, Diego Simeone's men were the Europa League winners and in ending that season, they played the Team B of the Nigeria football team. Note that the Nigeria team is also called the Super Eagles as I would be using it more often in this post.
The friendly game was sponsored by GOTV and the game was the maiden edition of the GoTV Max Cup. Meaning that, there was a trophy attached to the game and Atletico Madrid won eventually despite an impressive performance by the Super Eagles Team B with 2-3 scoreline. The lineup for Nigeria was;
- Femi Thomas
- Musa Muhammed,
- Ebube Duru
- Chinedu Ajanah
- Olamilekan Adeleye
- Ibrahim Alhassan ‘Muazzam’,
- Kelechi Nwakali,
- Chidiebre Nwakali,
- Dayo Ojo
- Emem Eduok,
- Samad Kadiri
Coach: Salisu Yusuf.
While the lineup for Atletico Madrid was;
- Javi Montero
- Thomas Partey
- Rafael Monoz
- Roberto Olabe
- Sergi Gonzalez
- Mikel Carro
- Toni Moya
Fernando Torres came in as substitutes in the 63rd minute of the game replacing Andre Correa. Diego Simeone was still the manager then. It was great having to see them in Nigeria. This clash with Nigeria Team B was the last competitive football Fernando Torres played before hanging his boots.
The first goal of the match was scored by the Nigerian midfielder by name Kelechi Nwakali in the first half of the game. it was a superb and high class finish from the Nigerian star. Oblak had no chance of saving the goal. Sadly, while we were still celebrating the goal from Nigeria and jubilating, the Atletico guys got hold of the ball and because one could say Jack Robinson, they were already in the goal area and the next thing was a goal. Angel Martin Correa scored the equalizer and all of a sudden, our shouting ceased. Lol, it was a very fast equalizer and that's how the first half ended.
Nigeria scored at 31 minute into the game while Atletico netted in the 34th minutes. These were the only two goals in the first-half and it was really interesting. Super Eagles Team B were quite impressive not minding that they were playing against a more experienced side. But Atletico possessed the ball more in the first-half.
The second-half began and Fernando Torres replaced Correa. Everyone in the stadium stood up, cheered and applauded him and he did reciprocate the love by waving back to the fans. Torres is a great personality and this explains why many people admire him. Minutes later into the second half of the game precisely in the 63rd minutes, a second goal came from Atletico Madrid courtesy of Fernando Torres. Atletico won a corner kicj, the ball was crossed into the box and it landed right on Torres' head and he delivered a fine finish. The scores was now 2-1 in favour of the away team. I still celebrating because the goal came from Torres.
The game got more interesting as the Eagles Team B showed a fighting spirit and forged ahead to score. They took possession of the ball, delivered some successful passes and then there was a through pass that landed in Iblak's box. Usman Mohammed of Nigeria ran to ball, got hold of it, dribbled the defenders as well as the keeper and then slowly kicked the ball into the bottom of the net. The goal was the highpoint of the match as every man got on his feet to clap and cheer the boys. You needed to experience the uproar after the equalizer from Nigeria. The goal came at 71 minutes and it was now 2-2!
However, it didn't end really well for the Nigeria Team B boys as Atletico Madrid scored at 85 to make it 3-2. Be it as it may, the youngsters of Nigeria were exceptional but Diego Simeone's showed they had more experience. It was then time to award the trophy and Atletico were crowned champions of the maiden edition of the GOTV MAX CUP. Fernando Torres was also given a special award!
If you ask me, I'd say Atletico Madrid deserved the win as they showed more hunger and gave in more efforts to win. On the other hand, Eagle's Team B deserve accolades for such a wonderful and interesting performance on May 25th, 2018. Here's the view I captured as people departed the stadium;