Sunderland Vs Belenenses Match Review – 20th July 2019

SAFC Blog following Sunderland AFC

Sunderland vs Belenenses Match Report – 20th July 2019

All the promotional media and even the match tickets had suggested we were playing CF Belenenses last night, it turns out we weren’t. We actually played Belenenses SAD, which seems to be a new club that has splintered from the original. Think AFC Wimbledon vs Milton Keynes Ltd…. I’ve today read a bit about their plight online and they’ve obviously been through the mill? This might explain why their fans were so friendly and welcoming ~ the highlight of which was the arrival of the bulk of their fans, waving flags and singing Sunderland, Sunderland, Sunderland……

Quality flags, quality fans
Bit like Crystal Palace ~ but grown ups and less cringeworthy
This translates as Beach Boys! Bit weird???

It’s no secret that Portugal is a warm place, but yesterday was absolutely roasting! As hot as I’ve known it be pre August, perhaps today would be the day when Will Grigg finally catches fire?

The travelling fans rather sensibly worked tirelessly on keeping hydrated and getting plenty of liquids on board
Once again there was plenty of Red & White in town

The fantastically name Estadio Municipal Albufeira, sits at the top of a big hill……

Estádio Municipal Albufeira

As aforementioned it was a seriously hot day yesterday, SAFCBlog took the daft decision to walk. Having, (just), made it up the hill alive, it became apparent the wise choice was Tuk Tuk

Good to see Lee Camp keeping busy?

The numerous flags of the Portuguese brought a splash of colour to proceedings, on the subject of colour…. unfortunately both teams had turned up with a dark blue kit, genius?

Don’t know where to start with this…..
shorts ✅
long trousers ✅
not sure how to classify this example of Hybrid Legwear?❌

Match

Watmore nearly scores / we nearly score again / they hit the bar with a screamer of a free kick / they miss a sitter into the side netting / great save denies us / they score a well taken goal 0-1 on 57 minutes / they look pretty comfortable last 30 and it looks more likely to go 2-0, rather than 1-1

Come on you blues
Both teams playing in Dark Blue was pretty confusing. The decision of 11 subs, (in said blue kit), to warm up on the goal line mid match, made matters even more confusing!? If only the stands weren’t so close to the pitch and they had space to warm up?

Similar to Thursday against Benfica B, it was a decent match for pre season. There was a good tempo to the game and even a few feisty tackles going in ~ both games had a far greater intensity that I’ve seen in our previous games in warmer locations.

No one knows what’s going to happen with Duncan, for the 3rd pre season, he has the potential to be our main man. That said, if he plays too well, he’ll be sold, as his wages are decent and we’re skint? He was lively for 65 minutes, (especially as a ginger in such heat), Kimpioka offered a similar pace and threat when he replaced Watmore.

Any regular readers will know that I’ve been critical and supportive of Will Grigg in equal measure. To be fair he did ok the first 20 minutes or so, I think Watmore’s movement perhaps suited him and he was seen to run about a little bit. Would love to be proved wrong – and only Will can do this, but I’m yet to see anything other than someone who is probably not match fit, possibly doesn’t want to be here, I hate to keep banging the same drum; but…..”looking like you don’t give a shit, is as bad as not giving a shit?”.

My main worry with Grigg is that Ross doesn’t seem to fancy him? Strikers need a bit of love; Ross always backs his players to the hilt – but not once has he come out with, “he’s great in training”, “he just needs a break” etc. It felt to me from the off that Grigg was perhaps Donald’s signing, the pursuit of him was naive, (DS showed his hand, got his leg lifted and we paid top price?). As mentioned in a recent article, getting the best out of Grigg is a huge factor this season, often players just fit or don’t fit at a club.

Anyway ~ game of opinions as always, nothing would please, (or surprise), me more than Grigg getting 20 plus this year.

The sun sets on pre season tour……….
Goodnight from Albufeira ……..
…….well not quite

Verdict

Last year we came short in lots of areas……

DEFENCE – Additions look good, definite improvement has been made

PACE – Nowhere near enough last year. Duncan and Benji looked sharp, hopefully Bali Mumba can compliment this area too?

QUALITY- We probably had enough quality last year, so remain optimistic. A fit Dylan McGeouch could in my opinion be huge, unpopular opinion, but I think he has all the attributes to be our key/best player next season

GOALS – Not enough last year, no indication the situation has improved much. Charlie runs his arse off, in a team that creates he will score 14-18 goals. We need someone to trump that total. Kimpioka or Mumba could prove to be next seasons Maja, but probably too soon, and we certainly shouldn’t rely on this. If anyone wants Grigg I’d cash in, (on the proviso JR gets the funds to have a go at getting the 20+ goal man we so desperately need)

FTM

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