It was our last game of 2014 ! Some players already had year-end commitment and some left China already. The Lions president was there to help out but of course the average age of the team shot up ! We played against an unknown Chinese team. In the first half we kept most of the possession and the Chinese hardly had a shot on goal. Veteran Fred F opened the score for us and soon followed by a Benji goal. In the second half we looked for more goals and did so by Nacho and Azz both scoring two goals ! We did get sloppy in our defense and got punished for that as we gave them two goals. Their third goal was a thunderbolt in the top corner.
We are having our Christmas break now and will be back on January 11th for a friendly match versus Japan and on the 17th we have our big game against the Shooters !
Legends never die and legends always live on. This is exactly what happened to the Lions ! What started out as a small group of old Lions players three years back now we have become a trademark Lions (veteran) team in Shanghai. All the ingredients are right we have great mix of people who are committed and we are serious when we enter the pitch and we always try to play good football and we like to stay young !
Of course not everything is smooth sailing. The Master Cup 2014 was a good example. Fred F. who was in charge of the management raised some eyebrows when at 8.55 AM who could only see six players. A quick “We Chat” went out “where is everybody ? the first game start 9.10 !” So it happened that we lost the first game and to be honest it’s a kind of trade mark. Whenever we lose a game we get charged and it sets us on fire ! We were looking for the responsible people only to find out that we were all to blame. Two solid wins followed to set us up in the semi- finals against a strong Korean team ! By that time our defense was rock solid we just needed to score one goal. With only 11 players left we had not much options for substitutions but a fine cross from Fred F ended in a penalty. As flying in Canny was fouled. Fred G had no problem to shoot us into the final.
The final was between the bests teams on the day for sure. We faced a very strong Japanese side within one minute they managed to get a diving penalty. God bless Thierry our goalie made it back on time as he is building a reputation to kill penalty takers. The poor Japanese shot went wide. The Lions Legends fought hard for every ball and Fred F came closest to score. It stayed 0-0 and 3 penalties each would decide the winner. Fred F was first to hit the ball in the top corner and Thierry stopped the Japanese first penalty. Jerome was next stepping up with full confidence but his shot went nowhere and was happily picked up by the Japanese keeper. Fred G in fine form scored to put us back in front ! The next Japanese player was under pressure and couldn’t watch Thierry in the eyes his ball went wide and it was party time for the Lions ! As usual a great team performance of all Lions Legends everybody contributed to this success ! It is special to mention that we had Olivia from our Lions U18 team playing the whole tournament as left back and she did a great job getting many compliments from the other team players and she even got the MVP award !
What a great way to end a great season for the Legends ! They won Shanghai Masters in September for the third time and they won the Old Boys tournament and now they won the Shanghai Masters organized superbly by Super 48 and on top they won the Veteran league 2014 for the second time ! Lets celebrate this all together at our Christmas Party on Saturday.
And so the Lion Legends lived on !!! Fantastic ! Freek
We were up against 90 registered Japanese players and as usual they were warming up at 800 o clock already ! To give credit to them they are actually a good footballing side it’s just that somehow they cannot produce good strikers / With 7 goals scored only they are currently in the bottom of the SIFL but thanks to their positive attitude they gave the Lions a good game especially in the first half. Japan managed to go into half time with a 1-0 lead and for the Lions that was the moment for a serious half time talk. Within 3 minutes in the second half Benji equalized the rest of the game we saw the Lions creating more chances but the winner had to come by a penalty converted by Azzeddine after a foul on Allan.
In the end it was a good win for the Lions as we ended 2014 unbeaten in the SIFL as well we saw the Shooters dropping back to 5 points after they lost versus the Azzurri who are 7 points behind us.
This Saturday we play a cup game against a Chinese team and after that it will be party time during our Christmas Party to celebrate a very successful year for the Lions !
Lions versus Marlins can be considered as “El Classico of Green City ! These game are joy to play and a joy to watch. You will see two teams fighting for the win until the very end ! This season we are having a hard time in the SPL partly due to the fact that we miss a striker after Joel and Dave left who is good for 15-20 goals in a season. Dave being our SPL top scorer with 4 goals sums up our issue. In the first half we saw an even game with both teams trying to take control of the midfield. We got several corners and with two minutes to go in the first half we scored from a corner when Dave headed the ball back on the foot of Fabie who didn’t hesitate to score ! In the second half the Marlins needed to push forward and we had to defend more and more. However the strike of Marlins striker Zhu was unstoppable 1-1. It seemed like a fair result but when a 40 meter out left foot strike of Alex ended in the top corner as well it seemed to be harsh for the Lions. We did get a goal back after a free kick of Simon into the box ended on Patrick feet only to see the goal being disallowed for off side which was highly disputable. All though we didn’t get any points out of this game we start to play better and better and we will start to collect points in the games ahead of us for sure !
The Lions Legends were invited for the first Old Boys Tournament organized by a Chinese Company on a new pitch. In total there were 8 teams and we played on a 7 aside pitch. Usually the Lions Legends start slow in tournaments either losing the first game and after that start to win everything. However this time they were ready from the start and sealed their first win by a low strike of local old boy Rommie. As it was a knock out concept the second game was imported we took a 1-0 lead by beauty goal of Sylvain who later got voted MVP of the tournament (he won one year free steaks at Morton’s) however they opponent got a goal back 1-1. It had to be decided by penalties and here we had another Legend doing his job / its was Thierry our goalie who stopped three penalties !! The final was hard and physical as both teams wanted to win / first half it was 0-0 but in the second half a volley of Fred F was half stopped by the goalie and Fred G was there to score the 1-0. Sylvain scored another amazing goal with a back heel after a free kick ! They got a goal back but to make the party complete Fred G scored the 3-1 to give us another title ! Well done Lions Legends ! It looks like the spirit of the Lions is still more than alive and kicking !
Saturday was a BIG game for us and to be honest we like big games. The opponents were the Azzuri who were full of confidence after beating the Shooter 5-2 the week before. Lions strategy was to focus on defense first and play on the counter. However with only 5 minutes in the game the Azzuri managed to out play our defense and took a 1-0 lead. The Lions stayed calm and slowly started to take control of the game. Fifteen minutes into the game they equalized with one of the best Lions goals we have seen. The buildup came from 8 short passes on the right side of the pitch where the Azzuri were outplayed the ball ended at end of the field where Benji with hardly any space left managed to make a perfect cross on the head of diving Danni ! It stayed 1-1 at half time. In the second half the Lions played more positive and were working hard for each and every ball. The hard work paid off when a cross of Danni found Romain who didn’t hesitate to score the 2-1. The game was not over especially not when by an unlucky handball of Simon the Azzuri player blasted the ball in the top corner ! We could only watch and saw an Italian invasion of the field after this great goal. Lions never gave up and kept dictating the speed of the game. It was Allan who scored a similar goal as Romain when a cross in was not defended well by the Azzuri 3-2 for the Lions. In the end Azzedine converted a penalty to make the final score at 4-2 ! A great win of a great match against a great opponent ! Next up will be Japan and we surely want to end 2014 on top of the SIFL so only a win will do for us !