Chapter 3- The Grease-Man
When I was a little kid, I used to dream about this. To look up and see thousands and thousands of fans, all cheering. To look right and see the dugout and to look left and see the field. The beautiful green field. And the players, all ready to go. To watch the beautiful game from the sideline. Yes, that's right, I wasn't like most boys. I dreamed of being a manager. I dreamed of being a player too, but being a manager was my favorite thing to dream about. To be a legend. And here I was, making my debut in Spain. I felt happy, happier than I had been In a while. But I also felt nervous. Jokin was here watching me. He was judging me. My future rested on his hands. He relied on me, and more than anything else, I relied on this team to help me. And if that didn't work out, there would be a new manager, and Roberto Di Matteo would be no more that a speck of dust in this big wide world. The team that threatened my road to the top today was Celta Vigo, a team I always liked. Why? Their name sounds good. And I used Iago Aspas on FIFA 13. Legend. But I don't like Celta Vigo much now. Their team has spent hours and hours analyzing me. They think our team is weak. I saw the coaches relaxed, chatting, and laughing. They were laughing at me. So today I'm out here to prove a point, that Roberto Di Matteo and Real Sociedad are not pushovers, and that we are a force to be reckoned with.
Then, the team that I chose to lead us to glory, started the match. We've started well, holding the ball. But we soon turn it over. I clench my fists in anger, as Celta start passing it around us. It's something you don't see often in the Premier League, but even the worst teams do this to survive.
It's the 5th minute now. Michael Krohn-Deli is all over our team. He's already made a couple of threatening runs. Our team looks lost. Jose is shouting at Javi Ros to the right of me. He's telling him to start spreading the ball to the wings. It's true, the play right now is very narrow. We're trying to force the ball up the middle, instead of using the space we have. Krohn-Deli has the ball on the wing now. His original cross his blocked but it falls right back to him. Dani Estrada has given him far too much space this time, and he crosses it to the far post. NO! Terrible defending for Jose Angel has let Augusto Fernandez get to the back post alone. He scores an easy tap in. I can see Jokin in my head, sighing and frowning, muttering under his breath. I'm officially in the hot seat. And the first game of the season is 5 minutes in.
It's the 15th minute now. We've settled in a bit. The players looked a little shell shocked after the early goal, but they've started to recover. I'm sill extremely nervous and my palms are sweaty. Every time they come near our goal, my heart starts racing. I'm scared.
It's the 29th minute minute now, and half an hour has almost past. The most dangerous player on the pitch for us seems to be the talented Mexican, Carlos Vela. He's making another dangerous run into the box. He pulls his leg back for a shot. Could it be? NO! He falls over, and another chance is wasted. WAIT! IT'S A PENALTY! I punch the air in excitement. Could we be level soon? Vela will take the penalty. For a second, the 28,602 fans in the stands go dead quiet. Vela begins his run-up. AND IT'S IN. I finally breathe out as Vela sends the goalie the wrong way. We're back in the match. The game is ours for the taking.
The game has reached it's half way point now. The game is level and we're started to take hold of the game. Xabi Prieto looks to be our talisman. He's made tons of threatening runs. It's just a matter of time before one of those runs is rewarded with a goal. I walk down into the locker rooms to give the boys the half time talk.
Alright lads, I know we had a little bit of a scare earlier on. The had the majority of the ball at the start of the game, but you've fought back well. We're one goal away from getting out of here with 3 points. The fans expect it of you all. All of Anoeta is counting on you. Let's go get a goal!
The boys look fired up coming out of the locker room, especially The Grease-Man. He sprints out onto the field. Xabi Prieto may be the captain, but it's the Grease-Man who's the true leader of this team. He's proving to me that he deserves a place in this team.
It's the 66th minute now, and The Grease-Man is streaking forward. He's passed one defender all ready, and he dummies past a second. Finally, he's put in a cross. Prieto is there! He's directed the ball towards goal with his head. Then, the net ripples. He's DONE IT. The crowd roars. But Prieto shakes his head. And then, the goalie removes the ball. From the side netting. I nearly punch the ground in frustration. The crowd groans. The game is still tied. It's looking more and more like we'll get out of here with just 1 point.
We're all square in the 80th minute and the team is firing balls into the box, but we lack the finishing touch. We cannot put the ball into the back of the net. Dani Estrada's cross to Xabi Prieto is no exception. It's a good cross but Asier Del Horno has tipped the ball out of bounds for a corner. Granero, the loanee signing for Q.P.R., fires the ball into the box. Mikel Gonzalez jumps for the ball. And the Anoeta erupts. The roars are deafening. Mikel Gonzalez has fired a header past Yoel. I hug Jose, my somewhat faithful assistant in jubilation. This might just be the game winner.
It's the 90th minute now, and I'm waiting for the final whistle. We may have time for one last attack before the end of the game. Prieto wants another goal, and he's already dribbled past 1 man. His dazzling combination of pace and skill makes it nearly impossible for defenders to get the ball of him. OUCH! Cabral has hacked Prieto right in the shin. And the ref has awarded a Red Card to Cabral. That pretty much confirms the result we've been wanting all along. The Grease-Man is taking the Free Kick. It's about 25 yards out. AND HE's SCORED. Antoine sprints to the corner flag in celebration. He's scored an INSANE free kick. He's curled the ball right around the wall and into the top left handed corner. Yoel didn't have a chance.
The whistle has finally blown. Day 1 has ended in success