Often Partisan

CD Nacional 0 v Blues 0 – match report

Here are my reflections on the CD Nacional v Blues Europa League Playoff round, 1st leg match tonight. Please note, I wasn’t lucky enough to go out to Madeira, I watched it on a decent internet stream (thanks Daz and LOF).

1) A Performance To Be Proud Of

After seeing highlights of the Nacional game against Feirense, I thought that this game would have no more than maybe one goal in it. When I saw the team sheet, and heard of the injuries to Dann, Fahey and Gomis (to add to Mutch’s ankle woes) I really feared for us. A central midfield of debutant Jonathan Spector (who is more of a defender), Jean Beausejour and Liam Ridgewell is frankly quite scary but they all stepped up to the task and looked quite assured. The only thing Blues fans can really ask of the players is that they put in 100% effort, and tonight they did that.

2) Curtis Davies

When Curtis Davies slid in on Mateus in the eighth minute, I feared the worst. The Portuguese commentators were saying penalty, but on the replay they agreed – Davies had cleanly won the ball with an inch-perfect, precisely timed challenge. It set the tone for the evening; Davies was just immense at centre back and is showing why he went to our brethren across the expressway for over eight million quid. Indeed, he even decided to break forwards and I thought with a bit more composure the keeper would have struggled more with his shot.

3) Steven Caldwell

I have to admit, I wasn’t so impressed with our new centre back the first couple of times I saw him, but tonight he too was composure personified. Unlucky not to score – striking the post in the 24th minute (although I thought Spector was also unlucky not to turn it in past Elisson), and heading narrowly over at the death. He tried to distribute it on the deck, and whilst a couple of passes went astray the fact he and Davies didn’t aimlessly hoof it gave us a lot better build up play. A promising performance.

4) Chris Wood

I have to admit, I’m quite proud because I tipped Wood as a good loan signing back in July. He’s not the finished article, and he probably should have scored when he hit the woodwork (both times), but he led the line in a way that was reminiscent of Horsfield or Kevin Davies. He used his strength to batter defenders, clatter the keeper and generally rip the defence into tatters – yet he won his fair share of free kicks by drawing the fouls. I think he needs Rooney alongside him, but I hope we sign him for the rest of the season.

5) Nathan Redmond

It was a big game for Nathan to get his first start for the club, and he did himself fairly proud. He used his pace and skill a few times to get in behind the Nacional back four, although I would have to say that he needs to work on his strength as he got bullied off the ball a couple of times. He’s got the right attitude though – despite being a seventeen year old rookie he wasn’t scared to try and deceive a player with a flick or a feint – and that’s important. This season has to be about getting appearances and consistently performing for Nathan – if he can do that by the end of the season he’ll be a real asset to the club.

6) Jean Beausejour

I’ve always liked our Chilean winger. He’s a stocky guy, and he’s the kind of player who’ll give it a go wherever you put him in the Blues team now. In the middle he made some good runs, tried to play some good balls in and generally attacked – which was vital as Ridgewell and Spector were both playing holding roles. Yes, he did get a bit snarky at one point and when he got yellow carded I feared that he might have the red mist descend as he got targeted by various Nacional players. Credit to Jean though, he held it together and gave a very good account of himself.

7) Stephen Carr

My only single down point was Carr. On this, his 100th appearance for the club I think he made a poor performance (bearing in mind he’s set his personal bar so high). He got caught in possession a couple of times, wasn’t really as effective going forwards and didn’t contribute as much as he normally would. I suspect it was because he was tasked with a much more defensive role than he normally is, and it curtailed one of the more exciting parts of his game – bombing on past the winger.

I do think Blues will progress now. Nacional aren’t that good away from home; with a full St Andrews I think we’ll be able to do enough to win the game – although an early away goal will make it very hard to do so. As such, we can’t be complacent but take nothing away from it – tonight was a good result and bodes well for the future.

CD Nacional 0 v 0 Birmingham City

Blues: Myhill, Carr, Davies, Caldwell, Murphy, Ridgewell, Burke, Spector, Beausejour, Redmond, Wood.

Subs not used: Doyle, Hubbins, Valles, Fahey, Jervis, Rooney, Asante

att 4,332

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7 Responses to “CD Nacional 0 v Blues 0 – match report”

  • mez says:

    Was one of the minority who thought Wood & Caldwell played well Saturday too..nice to see it continue

  • alexjhurley says:

    I agree – great performance, should’ve won. That said I’m beggining to understand why our previous manager and hughton have be reticent to throw redmond in – he’s not clever enough yet, he’s got a lot to learn in terms of decision making and his defensive play. Beating 3 player in your own half is great to watch but won’t win us any games…..

    I’m knit picking though. Tonight was a performance we can all be proud of. We’ve got to progress now, surelly…… !

  • Papaulski says:

    Redmond will come good and in all fairness to him he hadn’t played in the first 2 games this season. They were against easier opponents. Play him in some Championship games and he’ll get better and better. KRO!!!!

  • Papaulski says:

    Redmond will come good and in all fairness to him he hadn’t played in the first 2 games this season. They were against easier opponents. Play him in some Championship games and he’ll get better and better. KRO!!!!

  • leigh says:

    Nothing changes, in the second leg we will need to score, the thing we find hardest. Lets hope we do not find ourselves saying ‘we are the best team, robbed again, we hit the woodwork three times, and they scored once………..and there are five minutes to go, do we go for the equalizer anddo we lose two nil?’ I hope not
    Not light still at the end of the tunnel, nor a false dawn, just tangible progress please.

  • Mark says:

    I believe we can win in the 2nd leg we came back with 0-0 when really it should have been 3-0 to blues. I want to say the blues fans at the match were great singing from start to finish…. proud to be a bluenose. On a further note these players will get better and they want to play for the club!

  • […] criticised him for his performance in the away leg, so it’s only right now I praise him for what was a […]

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