2021/22 in Pictures: Games 6, 7 and 8

In this instalment, I head into the lower reaches of Madrid’s football pyramid, revisiting one of my favourite grounds from last season, taking a trip to see a local club on a landmark occasion and making a long overdue return to one of Madrid’s most iconic backdrops.

Game 6️⃣

⚽️ CD Independiente de Vallecas 3-2 Vallecas CF B

🏟 Instalaciónes Deportivas La Unión, Madrid

🏆 Madrid Tercera Regional, Group 17

📅 19.9.2021

💶 Free Entry!

I first visited Independiente de Vallecas last Spring and had a great afternoon watching both the men’s and women’s teams enjoy big victories. There was only one game to watch on this occasion, but it was well worth the trip.

The visitors got off to the best possible start with a wonder goal, a long range strike curled into the top corner leaving the Independiente goalkeeper grasping at thin air. The hosts went on the attack and levelled ten minutes later with a close-range finish before adding a second with practically the last kick of the first half and then making it 3-1 early in the second half after a good team move.

Despite having a goal ruled out, they looked to be coasting until a goalkeeping error gifted Vallecas a second goal out of nothing and a window back into the game. The remainder of the contest was pretty nervy for Independiente, who had another goal ruled out, but with the extremely vocal support of their fans behind them, they managed to hold on and start off their season with three points.

Amenities Watch: The bar at La Unión was open and extremely busy throughout the afternoon. I managed to get in early at half time to get my bocata de chorizo frito. Independiente’s impressive range of merchandise was also on display by the gate. I’d already bought a scarf on my previous visit, picking up a shirt is on my list for a future visit – of which there’ll probably be many!

Match Rating: 8.5/10 – One of the most enjoyable games of the season so far! A couple of great goals and the home fans made plenty of noise.

Game 7️⃣

⚽️ CU Zona Norte 1-2 CD Canillas

🏟 Polideportivo La Cabrera, Madrid

🏆 Madrid Preferente, Group 1

📅 26.9.2021

💶 €3

At the end of last season, Club Unión Zona Norte, a small club located in the neighbourhood where I work, reached the sixth tier of Spanish football for the first time since their foundation in 1996.

This was the second round of the Preferente season and their first home game at this level, so I decided to go along and check out the occasion at their ground, the Polideportivo La Cabrera.

There was a decent crowd, including plenty from visitors CD Canillas, and a small group of the home fans gathered in one of the corners had brought a drum and took charge of creating an atmosphere. And initially they had plenty of cheer about, Zona Norte started well and went in front with one of their first attacks.

But midway through the first half the game was stopped after a serious injury to one of the Zona Norte defenders. Serious medical attention was required so the game was held up for close to 45 minutes while an ambulance arrived and took the stricken player away to hospital. Once the game resumed, it was Canillas who responded better and equalised before half time.

Canillas’ greater experience at this level began to show in the second half and they took the lead from the penalty spot and Zona Norte were reduced to ten men soon after as their frustrations started to boil over. However, despite their disadvantage, they came on strong right at the end to produce a grandstand finish in search of an equaliser. After one goal was ruled out for a marginal offside, they hit the post with practically the last kick of the game. But despite the defeat, they had shown they belong at this level and are capable of competing.

Amenities Watch: The bar was open on the far side but with it being quite crowded, I didn’t want to lose my prime spot pitchside. There’s always next time…

Match Rating: 8/10 – Obviously the lengthy stoppage affected this one, but the second half was very tense, especially as Zona Norte pushed for a late equaliser.

Game 8️⃣

⚽️ Inter del Pilar 1-0 Fomento Alumni C

🏟 Polideportivo Vicente del Bosque

🏆 Madrid Tercera Regional, Group 11

📅 3.10.2021

💶 Free Entry!

I kicked off October in the shadow of the five towers which dominate the skyline of northern Madrid, at the ground bearing the name of Spain’s World Cup-winning manager, watching a ninth tier match.

It had been a long time since my last match at the Polideportivo Vicente del Bosque, it had remained closed to supporters throughout last season and with entry free, I was happy to go along and support one of my local clubs.

Unfortunately, this particular Sunday morning was an aberration in an otherwise lovely period of weather in Madrid. It was cold and wet, which obviously put people off attending (including myself, the crowd was probably only about 20 people, some of whom left early) but did make for some wonderfully atmospheric photos of clouds enveloping the skyscrapers.

Inter del Pilar scored the only goal of the game in the first half and were generally on top throughout but their failure to add to their lone goal left the result in the balance right up to the end. In the closing stages with a man advantage in a counter-attack they should have had a second, but rather than square the ball to his unmarked team mate, the forward opted to shoot from an extremely narrow angle and was denied by the goalkeeper. The fact Fomento Alumni C went straight up the other end and almost scored an equaliser underlined how big a mistake that could have been.

Amenities Watch: I decided to walk down to the bar and have a coffee. No one else had the same idea. The people working there were extremely surprised to see me. Needless to say there was no merchandise on sale anywhere at the ground.

Match Rating: 5/10 – The weather made it a tough watch and there wasn’t a huge amount of action on the pitch to take my mind off the rain.

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