Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Real Union's Victory

Spaniards must be quite upset right about now, but why?

Well, a humble Basque football team just expelled the mighty Real Madrid from a football tournament that honors Franco's appointed ruler Juan Carlos Borbon (whom some people call king for some obscure reason).

Back in October when Irun based Real Union defeated Real Madrid in their home field this was the reaction:

Madrid loses 3-2 to third-division Real Union in Copa del Rey

Oct 30, 2008

IRUN, Spain — Third-division Real Union upset Real Madrid 3-2 in the Copa del Rey on Thursday, continuing the Spanish league champion's poor record in the knockout competition it hasn't won since 1993.

Juan Dominguez scored twice and Inaki Goikoetxea netted the winner for Real Union, while Gonzalo Higuain and Javier Saviola replied in the fourth round first-leg match for Madrid, which will need a victory to progress from the return leg at Santiago Bernabeu Stadium on Nov. 12.

Madrid was the fourth top-flight team to suffer an upset in this week's Copa del Rey games. On Wednesday, Villarreal was humiliated 5-0 at third-division Polideportivo Ejido, Racing Santander went down 2-1 at second-division Murcia, while Sevilla lost 1-0 at third-division Ponferradina.

There was a scare in the 14th minute when Madrid's Spain midfielder Ruben De La Red fell as he walked away from the Real Union penalty area. De La Red was carried off on a stretcher after being treated for two minutes. Reports said De La Red fainted but quickly recovered consciousness at Real Union's Gal Stadium. The 23-year-old player was taken to hospital as a precaution but would reportedly be allowed to travel back to Madrid with his teammates.

Madrid coach Bernd Schuster fielded an understrength team, with goalkeeper Iker Casillas, captain Raul Gonzalez, striker Ruud van Nistelrooy among those rested. Real Union, which won the competition in 1924, stunned the league champions in the second minute when Dominguez forced his way past Madrid right back Michel Salgado and sidefooted his shot past goalkeeper Jerzy Dudek.

Madrid took eight minutes to tie the score, Higuain capitalizing on a defence-splitting pass from captain Jose Maria "Guti" Gutierrez to sidefoot home. The minnows regained the lead in the 21st after Madrid defender Christoph Metzelder lost possession. Joseba Aguirre crossed from the right and Dominguez ran in to power a header past Dudek.

Saviola, who had wasted a clear chance moments earlier, made amends by equalizing in the 53rd minute with a curling, rising shot after Real Union failed to deal with a corner. However, Real Union again responded and Goikoetxea turned home Felix Quero's cross from the right in the 63rd for his team's winning goal.

Noticed? Not a single mention that Real Union is a Basque team, which really matters since Real Madrid represents the Spanish most backwards ultra-nationalism.

Here you have a bit of history about Real Union provided by

Early Pioneers

Real Unión de Irún were one of the founding members of the inaugural Primera Liga competition back in 1928. They only spent four seasons in the top flight before being relegated and subsequently disappearing off the map of Spanish football, but they enjoyed some glory years while it lasted.

They won the Copa del Rey three times in the early days, two of which came by beating their very opponent on Thursday, Real Madrid, first in 1918 and then again in 1924. That was some 90 years ago. Nowadays, the club’s main focus is to slowly crawl back up the divisions and they appear to be on the right track at this stage of the campaign.

Currently leading the Group I Segunda B (third tier) standings after ten rounds, the Basque outfit coached by Iñaki Alonso have only lost once in all competitions so far this season and they have won their last four games in a row. Unión might not have the same kind of rivalry and animosity as an Athletic Bilbao or a Real Sociedad would have towards Los Blancos, but Bernd Schuster’s men can still expect a frosty reception.

So, you can imagine the general mood when Real Union went to Madrid to oust Spain's most representative team:

Madrid humbled by battling Union

A Raul hat-trick was not enough to save Real Madrid from an embarrassing Copa del Rey exit on their own turf against Segunda B side Real Union. Madrid lost the opening leg 3-2 in Irun on October 30, and although they again struggled against a team who plays in the same league as their reserve side, they looked to be going through when Raul completed his treble with five minutes left to give them a 6-5 aggregate lead.

However, there was still time for one last twist in a entertaining tie as Arangoa Eneko Romo scored in injury time to pull the score back to 4-3 and send Real Union through to the last 16 on away goals. Bernd Schuster's players had spoken about the importance of the competition in the lead up to the game and the coach included some of his key men with Fabio Cannavaro, Wesley Sneijder, Rafael Van der Vaart and Raul all handed starting roles.

Despite that it was the home side who went behind after 14 minutes when Paul Abasolo was on target. Raul made sure Madrid went into the break on level terms with his first goal after 35 minutes but the hosts were again behind four minutes after the break thanks to an Asier Salcedo strike.

Raul was again the man to find an equaliser, a minute later, and when Alberto Bueno netted after 69 minutes the Primera Liga champions finally looked to be getting a grip on their rivals. Madrid's comeback looked to have been completed when Raul added his third of the night with just five minutes left but Eneko Romo would ensure a famous night for Real Union when he netted in injury time.

In Latin America all of the sports channels haven been keeping this result from the public, as if all Latin Americans were fans of Real Madrid. My bet is because they would have to report that Real Union is a Basque team, and the media is being paid by the Spanish political class to creat a smoke curtain around anything and everything Basque. This is why I leave you with this picture of Real Union's captain celebrating their victory at the Bernabeu Stadium (home to some of the must racist and violent fans in Europe) with his armband showing the Ikurriña (Basque flag):

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