Game One – Hibernian vs. Elfsborg

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Hibernian 0 vs. 2 IF Elfsborg

Intertoto Cup Second Round, First Leg
Sunday 6th July 2008, Kick-off 3pm
Easter Road, Edinburgh

If ever there was an argument against summer football in Britain it was this game. Despite a 3 o’clock kick-off the floodlights were on from the start as the rain battered down on an early July day that felt more like mid-October.

It’s a few years since I’ve been to Easter Road and little has changed. I used to live not too far from the ground and walking down Easter Road I was reminded of the various shops I used to frequent. Surprised that Movie Xpress is still on the go. It still had the same straight-to-Video (now Straight-to-DVD) titles in the window. I also noticed a wine shop called Cornelius. ‘I wonder if that’s named after the guy from Planet of the Apes,’ I thought, then noticed the logo featuring a wine glass that formed the centre of that very ape’s face.

The 6th of July is without doubt too early to be playing your first competitive match of the season, but the Inter Toto competition demands it as it puts numerous middle-of-the-road European sides through their paces, before they can join up with the UEFA Cup proper.

Hibs looked sluggish against an Elfsborg side in the midst of their domestic season. An easy excuse to make, but the Swedes were just a lot sharper.

They were there for the taking however and Hibs had a good few chances, which they just couldn’t take. Their defence was unfortunately several yards off the pace and repeatedly left gaps at the back.

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So it was no surprise when Emir Bajrami got in behind the defence and slotted the ball past Ma-Kalambay in the Hibs’ goal. Ma-Kalambay incidentally seemed to take an age whenever he was releasing the ball, unsure whether to throw short to Van Zanten or launch a long ball forward.

A second goal was always on the cards and it was no surprise when Elfsborg got it thanks to 31 year-old defender Andreas Augustsson. That was the cue for many Hibs fans to make for the exit. To be fair they didn’t miss much.

The Elfsborg side contained a few Swedish internationals such as the keeper Johan Wiland and the 93 times capped Anders Svensson. Coming on as a substitute was Stefan Ishizaki, who I remember as being shit-hot in Championship Manager a few years ago.

The best entertainment, it has to be said, was at half-time, when Graeme Lightbody, the Unofficial World Keepie-Uppie champion came on and showed off some dazzling skills with the ball. This including walking across the pitch while balancing it on his head. He was on the same train home as me so I could have asked him how he goes about claiming the official title. But chose to save him from such follow-up questions as, “Could you balance a ball on your head on this train, all the way back to Glasgow?”

I think Hibs can safely kiss goodbye to Europe for this season. They really needed to take a win to Sweden if they were going to get through to the next round.

This is the match report from the Hibs website.

My complete set of photographs can be found here on my Flickr page.

Hibernian: Ma-Kalambay, Van Zanten, Hanlon, Hogg, Jones, Murray, Kerr, Rankin, Fletcher, Shiels, Morais. Subs: McNeil, Canning, Stevenson, Chisholm, O’Brien, Campbell, Nish.

IF Elfsborg: Wiland, Floren, Karlsson, Andersson, Danielsson, Svensson, Avdic, Mobaeck, Lucic, Bajrami, Augustsson. Subs: Hassan, Sjoberg, Sjohage, Nordmark, Ishizaki, Kurbegovic.

Attendance: 7,809

Referee: Albert Toussaint (Luxembourg)

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3 Responses to “Game One – Hibernian vs. Elfsborg”

  1. corriganreid Says:

    That’s the third Intertoto game at Easter Road and the third time its been dire weather. Yesterday was quite mild by comparison. Good luck with the blog and the games!
    http://thescottishfootballblog.blogspot.com/

  2. downthewing Says:

    Cheers Corriganreid!

    Yeah, I read that in the match programme that the previous 2 Intertotos were played in howling wind and rain.

  3. Game Twenty - Celtic vs. Villareal « Down the Wing Says:

    […] this season. Tonight’s game bookends the Scottish season in Europe for me, as I attended the first game for a Scottish club in Europe this season, while tonight marks the last. If Celtic don’t […]

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