Monday, Sep 24, 2018 | Last Update : 04:00 AM IST
True to their tradition, Girona operated in intricate triangles, inviting pressure and then casually scheming ahead.
Kochi: La Liga’s latest darlings Girona FC gave a perfect account of their quality with a 6-0 thrashing of Melbourne City FC in the Toyota Yaris La Liga World pre-season football tournament at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium here on Friday.
The Catalan side that only arrived in Kochi the previous day after a successful tour of Manchester, showed no signs of lethargy as they brushed aside Melbourne that had only a few days back crushed Kerala Blasters, the third team in the tournament, by the same margin.
The Blasters fans had been pleading on Girona’s social media pages, requesting them to go easy when the two sides meet for the final game of the tournament on Saturday, and they have every reason to be scared.
With just a handful of Girona first-team regulars, namely goalkeeper Yassine Bounou, defenders Bernardo Zuniga and Marc Muniesa besides Borja Garcia, Girona stuck to the blueprint that was so effective during their debut season in the La Liga.
True to their tradition, Girona operated in intricate triangles, inviting pressure and then casually scheming ahead. They seemed more like a team in the advanced stages of preparation for an upcoming season even though it was just their third meaningful game of the pre-season.
Luke Brattan and Riley McGree, who gracefully choreographed their triumph over Kerala, were strangled by Girona’s quality pressing, and that stemmed Melbourne’s creative impulse.
Even with four significant changes done at half-time the Spanish system continued to assert its influence on the team from down-under and never wavered.
Melbourne were made to chase shadows for the most part and it was in stark contrast to their flamboyant attacking game that demolished Kerala Blasters on Tuesday. The through balls that bisected Kerala at ease were snatched up with Girona’s smart interceptions.
The Catalans’ superior positional awareness and some diligent man-marking from Timor, Borja and the likes left Melbourne increasingly vulnerable.
Melbourne’s opportunities were limited, mostly to cheap giveaways from the generous Girona. But the Blues were constantly found short, either for want of the proper positioning or simply due to tame efforts.
Wales flashing wide from a miss-pass and O’Halloran arriving late to a Fornaroli cut back made the Melbourne dugout cave in.