It wasn’t meant to be and SD Formentera can hold their heads high this morning but if you are to achieve a cup giant killing then conceding a penalty after only 12 seconds isn’t the best way to go about it.
As you would expect from a top class team Sevilla, playing in white, came out with a steely professional commitment wanting to avoid any potential banana skin.
Formentera on the other hand looked edgy in front of a large local support packing out the impressive temporary stands that stood all the way round this tiny ground. Several home players couldn’t get going, overwhelmed by the occasion, the biggest game of their lives in front of the national TV cameras.
There was an audible groan when the early penalty was converted by Sevilla’s Wissam Ben Yedder and when Joaquin Correa doubled the lead in the 15th minute you feared for the red and blacks of Formentera. After a big build up nobody wanted to see a bloodbath, well apart from the 200 noisy Sevilla fans behind the far goal.
Then in the 25th minute came a minor miracle. A smart passing move involving no less than 6 Formentera players resulted in Gomez’s right foot shot getting a slight deflection and ending up in the corner of Sevilla’s net. The home fans celebrated like it was a last minute winner, nobody really expected that to be honest. The magic of the cup encapsulated in that one moment.
But football can be a cruel game and 3 minutes later, as the home fans were still dreaming of an upset, Sevilla put together a clinical training ground move that saw Correa notching his 2nd and dampening the euphoria.
Formentera carried on chipping away but the deflation was complete when Correa completed his hat trick just before half time with a sharp shot from outside the area making it 4-1.
As Formentera trudged off at the break the crowd descended on the several pop-up bars for refreshments which in time honoured fashion ran out of food almost immediately. The 4 portaloos in our section also had a long waiting time. “Be prepared” obviously not the grounds motto for the evening but hey who was worried (apart from my 2 kids). This was an ‘I was there’ night, not a culinary experience.
As the second half started you couldn’t help but think that Sevilla had taken their collective feet off the gas as they dropped deep and invited Formentera to come at them. The home team enjoyed plenty of possession but not much penetration up top.
All thoughts of it being a game of 2 halves was put to bed on 74 mins as Formentera conceded another needless penalty for Ben Yedder to bag his brace with a low drive into the left hand side of the onion bag. The racehorses of Sevilla were too quick and too clever for the workhorses of SDF.
The final whistle came and the crowd applauded both teams who stayed on the pitch taking in this once in a lifetime experience. Sevilla’s goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu threw his shirt to the away fans which was a nice touch and star striker Luciano Vietto signed a couple of autographs and posed with fans for photos.
At the port we waited for the last ferry back to Ibiza and mulled over our evening. Was it worth the 40 minute boat journey, the 10 minute bus ride and the 15 minute walk to the ground?
The answer was a resounding YES because we can say that we were there when a quality Champions League side came to town to do some business and the little club that is SD Formentera: players, management, ground staff and organisers put on a great show and can be very proud of their performance and achievements.