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Mix & match

india Updated: Sep 19, 2006 01:52 IST
Arjun Sen
Arjun Sen
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The moment Tomas Rosicky bent in a 25-yard piledriver to put Arsenal two goals to the good against Hamburger — I swear that is the name of the club! — I could not wait for day to break. Why? So that I could be off to Gurgaon to cover the Santosh Trophy and witness a few piledrivers from the stands, silly!

Hosts Haryana were to lock horns with Pondicherry. I was going to cover the match. At least that is what I had hoped to do.

After staying up late watching the Arsenal game, I was on my way to the Choudhary Devi Lal stadium — I swear that is the name of the stadium! — eager to soak in all the entertainment and fun  in the air. But sometimes too much excitement ends up tempting capricious Fate. And that is exactly what happened.

The Haryana vs Pondicherry match had to be the most boring football match ever played in the history of the game. Forget piledrivers. One team barely had a shot at the goal through the entire match. The other took shots — potshots, really — at the goal for the lack of anything else to do in the 90 minutes.

There I was, rookie reporter with pen and paper lest I missed an all-important detail, waiting for the game to explode into a proper old slugfest. I kept waiting. And waiting. And waiting….

I contemplated shutting my eyes for a while and dozing off. But then I figured that it was best not to miss even one detail — just to be on the safe side. So I decided to think laterally and shook myself awake again. Gurgaon was not so bad.

For every Cesc Fabregas nutmeg, there was Mouroungane — I swear that’s the name of a Pondicherry player! — losing his boot each time he was one-on-one with the keeper. The Hamburg goalkeeper, Sacsha Kirschstein, who was in tears after being sent off, would have been a happy man if only he had seen his Pondicherry counterpart Mouttouramne in action. The man just did not like to hold the ball.

At the end of the day, the two scorecards separated by space and time read: HAM 1 ARS 2 and HAR 3 PON 0. You take your pick. I took mine.