Friday, 30 July 2010

Reds Silence Racists

New manager Roy Hodgson couldn't have wished for a better start to his time as Liverpool boss as we comfortably crushed the Macedonian side FK Rabotnicki, emerging victorious thanks to a brace from the impressive David Ngog.

Hodgson was forced to pick an unusual starting eleven as he was unwilling to risk most of his world cup stars after advice from club doctors suggested that playing them could effect the team's performance later on in the campaign.

Youngsters Martin Kelly, Jay Spearing and David Amoo started the match, with Amoo particularly impressing in an attacking role. Lucas Leiva was given the role of captain in the absence of Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher.

It was a quiet opening period to the match, with neither side creating any clear chances until the 17th minute, when David Ngog took advantage of some terrible defending to give the away side a one-goal lead.

The promising forward latched onto an intelligent free kick from Lucas and dinked the ball over the keeper and into the back of the net after the pass had bounced over the head of a Rabotnicki defender.

It was embarrassing, pub side defending from the Eastern Europeans, however Hodgson's men couldn't care les as Ngog gave us a crucial away goal to take back to Merseyside.

Liverpool tried the same trick several times in the following minutes, with Aquilani twice releasing Ngog, however both the goalkeeper and the offside flag denied him the chance to grab a quick second.

Rabotnicki's first opportunity of any note came on the half hour mark. An ambitious effort from the Brazilian born Macedonian striker Wandeir was comfortably collected by Diego Cavalieri.

With half time approaching David Amoo displayed some wonderful skill to speed past several defenders on the left wing. The 19 year old then put a cross into the box, however it just evaded Milan Jovanovic in the penalty area. It was a tremendous bit of trickery from Amoo, who showed signs of promise throughout his competitive debut.

The second half began in a similar fashion to the first, with neither side claiming superiority over the other and chances at a premium. With 54 minutes gone Wandeir managed to outpace Kyrgiakos however his shot lacked power and didn't trouble the keeper.

A minute later Jovanovic's cross found Aquilani but the Italian midfielder couldn't guide his header goalwards. The game was starting to open up by this point, and Liverpool took full advantaged to score a second and put the outcome beyond doubt.

Just before the hour mark Ngog converted Martin Kelly's fine cross with a clinical close range volley past the stunned goalkeeper. It was a brilliant finish from 6 yards out, as well as a wonderful centre from Kelly, who looked comfortable going forward with the ball at his feet.

Liverpool were now in complete control of the match, and the home side lost heart as it became increasingly clear that there was no way back for them. This was evident to the fans as well, as many of them began to head for the exits with plenty of time left to play.

Hodgson used the rest of the match as a training exercise, with Stephen Darby, Nathan Eccleston and Lauri Dalla Valle all getting run-outs. I was particularly pleased to see the Finnish striker Dalla Valle getting some game time as he was on fire for the under 18's and reserves last season, scoring tons of goals and dominating matches with his powerful performances.

Liverpool ended the match in control, and they must be delighted with what must be the perfect start to Roy's reign. A clean sheet, two away goals and a chance to throw in some of the youngsters all contributed to what was a fantastic evening for Liverpool.

However, the night was tempered with some racist chants from sections of the home support directed at Liverpool's black players, David Amoo and David Ngog. That will disappoint them, however they got their own back in the best way possible.

Ngog scored both goals, silencing both the racists and his critics, whilst Amoo was one of the star performers, and shouldn't allow some stupid, senseless chanting ruin what was a marvellous debut from the young lad.


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