La Manga Day 3: Friendly against Real Murcia ends goalless

1899 Hoffenheim's first friendly during their winter training camp in Spain ended goalless, as they were unable to separate themselves from Spanish third division side Real Murcia. It was Marco Pezzaiuoli's first match in charge and despite good opportunities neither side could break the deadlock inside the “La Manga Club Football Centre” in front of 150 spectators.

Positives for Pezzaiuoli despite the result

It was a picture perfect day on Wednesday as 1899 got ready to play their first match in 2011 and their first under new manager Marco Pezzaiuoli who couldn't have had to many complaints early on. The passing was direct and the interchange quick as 1899 strung some wonderful moves together. Vedad Ibisevic was presented with the first opportunity, but shot wide from Andreas Beck's cross. The Bosnian had a chance to redeem himself minutes later when Peniel Mlapa squared the ball across the box, but his first time effort was woeful.

The host then began to play their way into the match and Hoffenheim became sloppy in possession giving the ball away far to easily and far to often. It provided them with their first opportunity on goal when Enrique Garcia crafted a chance all by himself only to see his effort clatter of the upright to safety. The woodwork was rattling again moments later from a Martinez effort after he popped up unmarked at the back post. "In the first half there were moments where we played very well, but we need to stop giving the ball away do easily because it gave Murcia chances", was the analysis of the new manager.

Pezzaiuoli experiments in second half

The 42-year old manager made 8 changes to the Hoffenheim side during the break, which meant that Roberto Firmino and David Alaba were both given the first opportunity in a Hoffenheim shirt and the performances impressed Pezzaiuoli: "David had a solid match and has already demonstrated that he can play a part in this team. Roberto showed off his intelligence, but were need to work on his physical attributes. That will of course take time, but we're willing to be patient." Tom Starke also returned from injury having been out since November and kept a clean sheet just like Daniel Haas had done. Prince Tagoe had the best chance of the second half, but the Ghanaian could only hit the cross bar with his effort as the woodwork again kept the teams at bay. "After bringing on Prince we only had one attacking minded player on the pitch which meant that we lost all sense of penetration. At the back, though, we were strong throughout and gave very little away. Overall it was a good test for us as we try to get back into our rhythm", said Pezzaiuoli after the match. 

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