Almost 2 months after our last game, it was with a lot of excitement but also incertitude that we met on a nice pitch and a nice weather to play the Galacticos. They made a draw the previous week against the Kickers so we had to be prepared. The whole Lions squad was on the pitch at 11:45 (for a kick off at 12:30), focused, happy and excited to play together !
We could see the motivation as after a few minutes Tevz had a first opportunity to score well stopped by the keeper of Galacticos. Shortly after, we made several technical mistakes and failed to kick the ball out of our box. A little panic that was beneficial as it woke us up! We then started to take the control of the ball and put pressure. Tevz, from the left wing, had a second face to face with their keeper and scored the first goal. A few minutes later, a center from Tomas coming from the right was volleyed by Romain for the 2-0. Pushing on his wing, Tevz created another opportunity concluded by Fabi with no angle for the 3rd goal. Finally, Romain concluded with a nice volley a lob from Benji above the defense. The last 10 minutes of the first half were sterile as we started to slow down. Good time to re-motivate the squad as we needed more goals!
Although we had the control of the ball, we struggled getting in their box and were very often caught off-side. We changed our game and decided to use our speed. With a nice pass from Dimitri, Tevz had another face-to-face with the keeper and scored his second goal of the day for the 5-0. We continued pushing and pressing high. Kad scored a few minutes later on a center from Andrei from the right wing (6-0). The 2 teams were packed in the Galacticos’ box and it was difficult to find space to play. However, Romain found another opportunity to shoot and, with a few deviations, scored the 7th goal.
10 minutes before the end, Thomas jumped for a header and was pushed in the back in the box. Penalty transformed for the 8-0.
With 21 Youth Lions in action (two teams in the U17 category), we had a strong presence at the 2018 AKS Shanghai Cup last weekend. On Saturday each team had 5 consecutive matches of 20 minutes each. Our B team did well and had a few very close matches which could have ended either way. The A team was in fine form and with four wins and one 0-0 draw, they made it to the finals on Sunday.
On Sunday our B team played their best football in their last match against Stoke City where they were unlucky to concede a goal in the very last minute. However all players gained experience over the weekend and in the end had a fun experience. For the A team they needed to beat Stoke City in the semi finals. The match was very tight and both teams tried to play on counter. It was a smart free kick from Matty which gave the Lions the lead with just a few minutes left on the clock. With the 1-0 win they made it in the finals where they expected to play Aksil ReUnited but they were surprised by a strong German team from Hongqiao.
In the round robbing match against this German team we played 0-0 and knew that this team was strong. We played the final in a very disciplined manner with our first priority not to give anything away to the opponent and second to try and find a space to counter on the 7 aside pitch. Yusuke came very close to score the 1-0 and Victor created some danger as well. However it stayed 0-0 until the final whistle. Now our hope was on Max our stand in goalie who proved to be in great form over the two days. Phillip and Matty scored both their penalties and Max saved the second penalty of the Germans ! Victor up next did what he had to do and that was to score and give us his goal gave us the well deserved title.
Over the weekend we experienced great team spirit and good discipline by the Lions on and off the field. Good coaching helped the teams and last but not least we were happy to see parents come and support us !
The weather was great and we had a big legends line up for the game against old rival the Emeralds ! In the first and second 20 minutes of the match we played our best football of the season. With a compact squad we kept the ball in our possession and made the Emerald players run a lot. We had some great build up plays and within 5 minutes James on a run from the right wing hit the cross bar. We took the lead by an awesome pass from Sylvain nicely finished by Romain who scored on his birthday !
It was a well deserved lead for us however in the second 20 minutes disaster struck as Emerald got a free kick at the right wing and when the player tried to cross it in it flew over our keeper in the net…..!
In the third 20 minutes we lost a bit of our composure and Emerald scored on a very fast counter it was their second shot on goal….!
For us all we could do now was fighting for every ball and try to get the luck on our side. After a few corners and two free kicks for us it was over and all we could do was drink our sorrows away with Ice Cold Beer.
With only Till and Matty upfront we counted on quick counter attacks to score. In the first twenty minutes both teams were equal and trying to find each others weak spots ! Reunited did get a few good shots on goal but Tim, our goalie, was alert. We took the lead by a fast counter finished by Matty but Reunited responded quick and scored the equalizer. In the last spell of the first half we did give too many free kicks and shooting opportunities away to the opponent but they failed to convert them into goals and we proved to be deadly on counter and we went into half time 4-1 up.
To be 4-1 up at half time is always an issue as players think the match is done and despite our warning about this at the break Reunited managed to score two minutes in the second half. It was the key moment of the match as either we imploded as a team or we stood up and showed them who we are. We did the last and scored some fantastic goals by Till, Pavel, Matty to make the final score 8-2 !
It was a great Lions team effort where everybody contributed to the victory as well we were very pleased by the substitutes coming in as they showed great character !
Keep training hard and play as a team and we are on the right track ! Next up is training this week and the Aksil Cup on the weekend !