OK, so this is slightly later than planned, but Saturday afternoon witnessed a clash of styles as Liga NOS new boys, CD Tondela, travelled to England to take on Millwall at the New Den.
A crowd of around a couple of thousand was present and, right from the off, it was clear that Tondela would be attempting to play neat possession football while Millwall were happier to play in a more physical style. That is not a criticism of Millwall. As a League One side (third tier of English football), this is the kind of style that wins games. It’s not a league for the feint hearted and the sides in that division are not without their own technical brilliance. But Tondela were always going to be the prettier side to watch and this was evident right from the off.
Although there were no bookings in this game, there certainly would have been if it had been a league match. Be under no illusions, the Tondela players grew into the physical nature of the contest as time passed and would not have gone unpunished themselves. But ultimately, two poor goalkeeping errors by Millwall’s David Forde meant that the Portuguese ran out deserved 3-2 winners and played some good football into the bargain.
For this writer, personally, the Man of the Match has to be Tondela’s number 7, Luís Machado. The 22-year-old is about to play his second season with the club, following his move from Freamunde last summer. He managed 25 league appearances for Vítor Paneira’s men. It was perhaps fitting that Machado was the score the winner on 67 minutes.
Perhaps the finest goal of the afternoon was that of Millwall’s right-winger, Fred Onyedinma, whose persistence and guile saw him chip over an on-rushing and diving Matt Jones in the Tondela goal, to make it 1-1 on 14 minutes. The youngster looks capable of moving onto playing at a higher level.
A handful of Portuguese fans were present in the Barry Kitchener Stand and there was plenty of light-hearted banter between them and the home faithful.
The scorers for both sides were: Luís Tinoco (7), Fred Onyedinma (14), Wagner (16), Shaun Williams (45) and Luís Machado (67).
Below are some photos from the game as take by myself: