On a warm spring day on March 9, 2013 Round 19 of the Shanghai International Football League took place with league games. A total of 46 goals were scored in 10 fixtures. The Shanghai Puxi Lions fought an epic battle with Shanghai Japan. Controversy continues to haunt the Shooters. Shanghai 3United finally broke their losing streak and recorded the highest score of the day. Shentong Metro FC are the new sheriffs in First Division (above). Best debut ever as 3United’s fresh of the boat sign-up Henri Ripatti scores 4! It was a day of keepers with spectacular saves as well as blunders.
Fourth-ranked Shanghai Krauts FC squared off with 6th ranked Shanghai ReUnited. (above) It proved to be a good game from the start. The Germans led by their Spanish captain Joel Terrades defended brilliantly and kept the ReU offense far from their goal. The Krauts seemed to play counter football while ReU played a more controlling game and had most ball possession. No goals were scored in the first 45mins and both teams went to tea with a spectacle score 0-0.
After the break the Krauts counter yielded as in the 55th minute Joel Terrades broke the ban dribbling around the ReU defense then fired a shot that beat the ReU keeper for a 0-1 Krauts lead. ReUnited responded with furious attacks but the German defensive line stood well with goalie Julian Reinard making several saves with cat-like reflexes. ReU’s pressure finally yielded in the 61st minute when Robert Eitel Mbappe Nsile (below) scored the equalizer 1-1. A fast counter finished by Philipp Theiler (above left) restored the Krauts lead 1-2. Joel Terrades (above right) topped his good performance with his 2nd goal of the day and a 1:3 Kraut lead. ReUnited were awarded a penalty in the dying minutes of the game. Ishemezwe (below) stepped up to take it and proved to be human after all when he missed it and 1-3 it stayed. Kraut Terrades received man of the match honors.
FC Oranje were up in arms to try and stop the DIB FC train. With their first match versus DIB still fresh in mind the young Orange duke jam-packed the midfield with power and thrust to play a 4-5-1 formation. From the get go DIB pressed the Oranje defense and halfway through the 1st half they scored from a counter over the right. Bin Xu (above) received the ball in the 16 and slotted home scoring the opening goal. A few moments later Oranje build up through the midfield and delivered the ball to the striker on fire Benoit Doche (below-middle). He dribbled from right to left and struck the ball beautifully as it curled passed the DIB goalie for the equalizer 1-1. Despite more DIB pressure the Orange defense held out for a 1-1 halftime score. In the 2nd half DIB continued to put pressure on the Orange defense and when they were awarded a free kick just outside the box Bin Xu got behind the ball and drilled it home taking a 1-2 DIB lead. Soon after that man of the match Bin Xi completed his hattrick when he scored DIB’s 3rd. That pretty much did the trick and DIB held on to a deserved 1-3 victory and 3 points in the bag in their pursuit of the run-away-Lions. The young duke extended his cap record to 357.
Beaver United were slotted against Azzurri FC. Fledie’s blother A. Kluger got back on the score sheet finding the net with ease of a moose in wetlands. However, despite dominating the opening, Azzurri conceded the first goal of the match when Beaver Christian Ohlin (above)scored a tap in off of a rebound. In what has become something of a trend this season, the Light Blue were made to pay for missed chances early on. However, Azzurri were level minutes later as goalkeeper David Mori punted down field to combine with Adam Kluger for a one-touch finish over the Beaver keeper. Kluger was at it again minutes later as he lifted another over the Beaver goalie, whose heroics between the sticks kept his side in the match. With a halftime score of 2-1, everything was still up for grabs, but a quick tap in from Azzurri poacher Kwame (below right) and a dribble finish from hattrick boy Kluger sealed the deal for an Azzurri 4-1 final score line. Kluger (left below) received man of the match honors. No cards in this game as the ref didn’t bring any.
Big Bamboo Shanghai Shooters AFC were up against the Shanghai Vikings FC. The controversy in this match was that there was no controversy. There was apparently not an ounce of controversy according to Peter Rosselli (below): “The absence of controversy made us all cry, we were holding hands in the showers and sang hymns”.
The Shooters had most ball possession in the 1st half yet it was the Vikings who came closest to scoring with goalie Christian Banyard pulling off a couple of important saves and 0-0 it stayed at halftime. The Shooters broke the deadlock in the 2nd half following good build up play down the right. Fedja Selimovic provided the finish as he drilled his shot into the near corner for a 1-0 Shooters lead. The Shooters pressed for a second but a combination of great defending, poor finishing and good goalkeeping kept the Vikings in the game. A second goal arrived with little over 10mins to go as Gui Leclerq had time to set himself up and drill a long-range effort into the roof of the net for a 2-0 lead. The Vikings didn’t stop playing and pressed for a goal. Having been caught offside on a few occasions they were able to break the trap next time around and send Max Twisselmann through on goal who made no mistake of scoring the 2-1. Despite a nervy last few minutes it was too little too late for the Vikings as a well fought match with no controversy as controversy was brought to an end. The Shooters held on to a 2-1 victory against Shanghai Vikings despite a nervy last few minutes. Shooter Alejandro Meana was voted man of the match.
On the hottest day in March since 1921 league leaders Shanghai Lions FC were negotiating Shanghai Japan FC. Their plan was to start strong and make sure not to do anything stupid. Very wishful thinking of the French as their goalie Dimitri Le Sant fell asleep on the subway and ended up taking the same stretch three times. No choice but to put Chris Saune in goal resulting in excellent play in the opening phase of the match. Then disaster struck for the Lions as they failed to clear a ball in the box and the Japanese got a toe to it putting it in the net for a 0-1 Japan lead. A moment later Japan headed home from their only corner of the game when their striker leapfrogged over the entire French defense for a 0-2 Japan lead. The upset was in the air and DIB punters were seen calling their bookies. Temperatures were rising and it was a blood-boiling affair for Lions coach Frank Boulain: “Dropping points at this stage is not possible”. Their fairytale season appeared to turn into a horror movie. But the French kept their composure, displayed great team spirit and got on with it. Romain Haution put one back just before the half was over for a 1-2 halftime score.
In the 2nd half the Lions started well as Azzeddine Takouloufa set himself up for a free kick and send the ball onto the ropes evening out the score 2-2. The Lions kept up the pressure but despite 158 corners and 127 free kicks it remained deadlocked with 5mins to go. Then out of nowhere Haution shot an easy ball towards the Japanese goalie who seemed to pick it up but completely missed it and the ball rolled over the line putting the French in front 3-2, which was also the final score. Benjamin Guerin received man of the match honors. Japan’s goals were scored by Hirai and Iljima. The Lions appeared to have the luck of champions and have now extended their winning streak to 15 games. Captain Jerome Le Carrou celebrated his 30th birthday. Congratulations on your youthful play mate!
Long Tang AFC did battle with Shanghai 3United. It was a momentous day and plenty of sunshine for the 3U squad as they ended their losing streak in a big way. Long Tang was able to net a goal and go up 1-0 early in 1st half. 3U kept their heads up creating several chances of their own. Finally newly acquired Henri Ripatti was able to chip the keeper evening out the score to 1-1 to end the half. The 2nd half became an entirely new game as 3U’s passing and combination play and a great team effort yielded a flurry of goals out-scoring Long Tang 6:1 in the half for an aggregate 2-7 3U win. Goals fromHenri Ripatti (4), Etienne Bernhardt (1) Julien Walemme (1)and Hamse Ali (1) lead 3U to their first victory in months and promise they will not be letting up. Long Tang’s goals were scored by Terry Gao and Baston Zheng. Henri Ripatti received man of the match honors on his maiden day of play. The euphoria of 3United knew no boundaries as they have translated their winning ways into a financial consultancy advising on winning strategies. (above)
On a glorious afternoon at Weigaoqiao the Shanghai Sauerkrauts (above) kicked off againstKangbei United FC. Without two of it’s regular starters Bligin Guengoermues and Julien Puentes, who were both being ruled out due to excessive crime points (a matter seemingly incomprehensible to Bilgin (front seat above) who was well in line for this season’s fair play award). Staying with their regular 4-2-3-1 formation SSK soon found themselves 2 goals down as Kangbei exploited considerable space in the midfield to tap in 2 goals within 15mins. A typical Brazilian wonder strike from Kercio Murilo Maranho Chuangsaw SSK reduce the gap after 27mins. This was quickly nullified as Kangbei scored again to turn 3-1 at the half. Stirring half time words from captain Niclas Meyer awoke SSK as they scored quickly with goals from Kercio and midfielder Christoph Dilk to draw level 3-3. Continuous attacks from Kangbei somehow managed to be thwarted by some amazing saves from SSK keeper Lars Ertizinger and managed to keep the game set up for an amazing finish as striker Marin Delchev scored after 75mins putting team SSK ahead 4-3. A frantic 15mins followed with a youthful Kangbei side pressing hard against the tired and aging stars of SSK. However old heads prevailed and team SSK managed to pull off one of their best wins of the season having come from 3-1 down to win 4-3. Leaving Kangbei a little frazzled and their coach unable to make the post match interview. Kangbei’s Zheng Xie netted twice while his colleague Li Ke Ma got 1 goal. SSK’s Kercio Chuang was voted man of the match.
Voodoo Child were pitted against Shentong Metro FC. On a hot day VC’s cause was not helped by late withdrawals for work and alcohol reasons of most of their team. A small squad against a fit & fast Chinese team was not the best plan to have and things were further compounded by Walshy’s inability to tell the time and a late arrival rounded off a bad start to the Child’s day. The VC put that behind with a stirring start to the game, creating chances and enjoying good possession. This was rewarded with a fine goal by Chris Walshand deserved lead. As has been the case before, despite VC’s dominance, Metro scored the equalizer 1-1 with their first meaningful attack. They scored again at the stroke of halftime that saw the VC keeper nominate himself for ‘blunder of the season’ resulting in a 1-2 Metro lead at halftime. In the 2nd half the Child mourned the loss of talismanic Dicko to back injury which meant a beheaded VC took to the field and despite a good start to the half VC had to fish the ball out of the net on one more occasion for a 1-3 Metro score. VC never stopped trying but on the day Metro put their chances away and played some good neat football. Metro’s goals were scored by Benny Shou Bin, Steven Jie and Oscar Hao Feng. Man of the match honors went to Steven Jie. Captain Dicko after the match: “The Camel make us drink like idiots but we are looking forward returning to WGQ with their fine, honest and completely neutral set of refs”. With this win Shentong Metro are top dogs for the first time this season.
Shining HFC were slotted against First Division leaders Voodoo. Heavy traffic heading towards WGQ meant that both teams had little time for warm-ups as this was definitely reflected in the 1st half which produced some of the least entertaining football of the season so far. Shining happily sat back with 11 men behind the ball as Voodoo failed to break their defense down. Voodoo failed to produce the type of football that they have shown most of the season and looked more interested in basking in the eagerly anticipated summer. Their heads were at gulping down cold beers instead of trying to gain 3 points towards promotion. Voodoo had 2 long range efforts skim the top of the bar, while Shining had one attempt swept off the line via a last ditch tackle from Sean King and 0-0 it stayed at halftime. In the 2nd half Voodoo showed more promise but the Shining defense stayed strong allowing very little space for Voodoo to play in. Then from a lucky break after several deflections from a throw-in Shining player Jimmy Lu lobbed Voodoo Keeper Mike VanDerHoff who was on his goal line. Voodoo were later informed by VanDerHoff that the ball ‘moved several times and even hovered above his head for several seconds before finally going over the goal line’. The goal finally kicked Voodoo into gear and several chances came and went. Mike McMillen produced a mazy run down the wing but failed to deliver the end pass. Damian Pilat almost found the net in the dying moments with an acrobatic kick but was denied by the Shining keeper, to the amazement of the Voodoo team (amazed by Pilat’s acrobatic skills) The game finished 1-0 to Shining and Voodoo’s task of claiming the First Division title just became significantly more difficult. Shining’s Liqing Zhu (above) was voted man of the match.
Anzacs FC locked horns with Shanghai Cosmos. The Cosmos got off to a flying start playing combination football that yielded 2 goals from the usual suspects Graham McNally and Jordan Campbell for a 0-2 Cosmos lead at halftime. In the 2nd half Anzacs came back strong when Julian Gras got on the score sheet for Anzacs. Then disaster struck when Cosmos’ Conall Cassidy scored an own goal and determine the final score of 2-2 sharing the spoils. Mike Snowdon received man of the match honors for Cosmos while Steven Walker ran away with these honors for Anzacs.
In the Premier League the Shanghai Lions FC have cemented their lead at the top with 39 points from 13 games followed by DIB FC with 31 points and the Big Bamboo Shanghai Shooters AFC on 3rd spot with 29 points. The Shanghai Krauts FC are on 4th spot with 21 points followed by Azzurri FC with 19 points and Shanghai ReUnited on 6th spot with 14 points. Shanghai Japan FC, FC Oranje and Shanghai Vikings FC are on 7th, 8th and 9th spot with 11 points each. Beaver United are ‘Lords of the Basement’ with 10 points.
In the First Division Shentong Metro FC have climbed to first place with 28 points from 12 games overtaking Voodoo who are now in 2nd place with 27 points. Shanghai Cosmos are on 3rd with 22 points. Anzacs FC and Voodoo Child are on 4th and 5th spot with 18 points each followed by Shining HFC with 17 points and Shanghai Sauerkrauts with 16 points. Long Tang AFC and Kangbei United FC are on 8th and 9th spot with 12 points each. Shanghai 3United are closing ranks with 8 points but can look forward to a prosperous business as financial consultants.
Coming Saturday March 16, 2013 Round 20 of the Shanghai International Football League will be played at the Shanghai Rugby & Football Club and Tianma Golf & Country Club. At stake are the Hebiguchi Cup semi finals; FC Oranje vs Shentong Metro FC and Shanghai ReUnited vs Big Bamboo Shooters AFC as well as the SIFL Plate first round. Visit the official website to find out more.