Result: Atletico Benamiel 3-1 Athletic Fuengirola (Pre-Season Friendly, Torneo Ricardo Campos)
Venue: El Tomillar (Saturday August 23rd 2014, 9pm)
Att: 50-ish (hc)
On the back of a family holiday, a game had to be found. Following the fall through of the Malaga game, I sought out a local fixture and found a pre-season cup game between local sides from the suburbs of Malaga city, Atletico Benamiel & Athletic Fuengirola.
Having been out for the day in the baking sun, a walk up a steep-ish hill wasn’t the most welcome surprise on the journey up to the ground, and my mum, who tagged along with the promise of a first Spanish football game (no joke) wasted no time in making this clear!
Having been expecting the 8pm kick-off to be in full flow by the time we arrived at the far corner of the ground, it was a pleasant surprise to find the players still warming up on the artificial pitch surrounded by hotels and apartments. The game had, apparently, been pushed back to 9pm at some point during the build up, and after a walk around the perimeter the car park and turnstiles of the ground became visible in the now dimming sunlight.
After paying the princely sum of 3 euros to get in, the ground was very characterful and featured one “stand”, a roof covering a part of terracing with plastic seats fastened onto the concrete that runs the length of the right touchline. Another terraced area featuring seating runs behind the far end goal, where an open bar was serving refreshments of drinks and snacks as well as showing the latter stages of the Malaga v Athletic Club Bilbao. The far touchline is shut off to spectators by fencing and is where the dugouts are based, and to both sides of the turnstiles are buildings featuring dressing rooms and other facilities. El Tomillar has a capacity of 268 spectators.
A relatively new club, formed in 1974, Atletico Benamiel CF are based in the small town of Arroyo de la Miel in Benalmadena, Malaga. Their name comes from the fusion of the two town’s names. They currently compete in the Andalucian Premier League Group 3, and are known as Los Amarillos (the Yellows). Their claim to fame is having discovered the talented youngster Isco, who has since progressed into the first team at Real Madrid, winning the Champions’ League last season, and has also featured for Valencia and Malaga. The attacking midfielder is also a fully fledged Spanish international, with 4 caps to his name so far. They have used El Tomillar since it was opened in 1988.
The game tonight was for the “Torneo Ricardo Campos” in honour of a man who was important in the area’s football. They got underway, and it was immediately obvious that Fuengirola were not exactly blessed in goalkeeping fortunes! The Benamiel #9 (who I later learned from the man himself was Javi Ramos), however, was different class, and I joked it was most likely to be Isco in disguise. This appeared to be vindicated as he netted a first half hat-trick. Firstly, he netted from close range at the near post, before pouncing at the back post for number two from a corner. They could have been 5 up by the time he completed his treble on 40 minutes, a 40-yard strike beating the goalkeeper at his near post. He seemed to be sleeping!
Not to be outdone, the Fuengirola #14 picked up the ball on half-way with the referee having the whistle poised on his lips. Appearing to see this, he struck an effort which caught out the goalkeeper, who parried the ball into the corner of his net, sending the player into a wild celebration. Half-Time, 3-1.
Still sitting at the outside plastic tables and chairs for the second half, the #9 had been subbed off , further lending to the Isco legend, as had the dodgy Fuengirola goalkeeper. His replacement was much better and seemed more accomplished, as he pulled off a couple of fine saves. Fuengirola had the better of the second period, but were unable to find another goal to threaten the hosts, who held on too take the trophy by 3-1.. The right back for Benamiel took the Man-of-the-Match award for his side, with the Fuengirola #8 picking up his side’s award.
A good evening, at a very welcoming club, and a welcome introduction to the world of Spanish non-league football. Arriba!!
Game:7- Entertaining game, with many well skilled players on show. Ramos superb!
Ground:7- Nice setting, good surface and good bar, though the toilets were missing paper!
Fans: 8- The hardcore bunch who turned out deserve a good rating.
Value For Money: 9- Decent fee for entry, cheap drinks and a good game. Not bad!
Referee:8- Had a really good game, with little dissent, and a shout for the assistant who battled on for 20 minutes with a hamstring injury!!