Legends ship went down vs. Japan FC

shipLast Sunday the legends were up against Japan FC, in tittle champion of the last 2019/2020 SPL Veteran edition. For that game, we came with a pretty in-depth squad with 16 players… We knew it was the minimum as the Japanese always bring the double with around 30 players each time. Although we had the right number of players, we knew the game will still be difficult in 2 aspects. First, Japan FC didn’t lose in over 1.5 years in SPL V. Second, some key play-makers were lacking on our side. Still, we came with the hope legends ship will remain afloat while making some damages.

In the 1st quarter, the objective was to remain compact and defensive in order not to expose ourselves too much to our opponent’s very classic counter-attack style of play. Although we were not very dangerous, it worked for a while… Unfortunately, with 2 dragsters on the flank on their side, we start playing too low in defense which gave wide space and time to Japanese midfielders. On one of them, their midfield got a ball with plenty of time and adjusted a nice pass at the offside limit for their striker… 1-0 for Japan FC.

Same topo in the 2nd quarter as we conceded the exact same goal on a lost ball… hard to swallow although we got a few more chances to score than in the 1st quarter.

In the 3rd quarter, it became more difficult for the legends as we were up against the wind. We also start to feel the difference in fitness and squad depth between the 2 teams… Despite our efforts, our Japanese opponents were not losing many balls and were also combining well. As a result of these combinations, they were often outnumbering us on the flank and multiplying the cross into our box. On one of them, they scored the 3-0.

[ SPL V ] Japan FC 3-0 Shanghai Lions FC

No goals in the 4th quarter. We felt better and combined a little higher on the pitch. In defensive time, our pressing was also higher and more efficient. To temper this better feeling, it was Japan FC’s second team that was playing back on the pitch as the score was settled in their favor already 🙁 In the end, despite the energy given in the fight; it’s our Lions’ legend ship that went down without much to say about it…

If there’s a lesson to this game, I guess it shall come from Yamada, the Japanese president… In substance, he said that the “Japanese team is training recurrently with a significant percentage of their veteran attending training sessions”. Therefore, they have (1) the depth, (2) the condition, and (3) automatisms/combinations practicing together often beside an obvious talent for some of them.

Legends, if we have ambitions it is a time for more or us coming back to the training more often. Otherwise, it may become a habit for the legends ship to go down against teams such as Japan FC and/or Emeralds in the future.

Cheers
FL

Senior lost last minute vs. Reunited

last minuteAfter very nice autumn, winter is coming in Shanghai with strong northern wind and dropping temperatures. We had an early 09:00 clock kick-off which but all our senior players came on time and were motivated to get a positive result against Reunited; one of the best SIFL teams in recent years. Due to injuries, we were playing with our youngest line-up so far this season. Unfortunately our goalie Juliano couldn’t play due to an ankle injury at the last minute… That was a blow for us and George who just celebrated his birthday the day before was asked to help out as goalie… of course, not his favorite position as in the last couple of weeks he was in fine form as our left-back.

Our objective was to start well after a few bad starts earlier in the season and a good start last week against the Krauts. We did start indeed well with all players disciplined to stay in their positions and us taking most of the possession from the kick-off. Reunited seemed to play more defensive with only two players upfront and mainly playing long balls hoping we would make errors in defense. Twenty minutes into the match we thought we scored as Jason was launched on the right and tried to cross with the ball inches away from being in and his cross flew by the keeper and landed on Kyle’s head as the second post but his effort went wide. It was a signal that we were going to score 1st… Philipp saw his shot from outside the box hit the crossbar and soon after we scored after Kyle went one on one with the Reunited keeper but was pushed to the side and he quickly crossed to Cyrill who didn’t hesitate to out move one defender and blast the ball in the net. Great start for the lions and we thought we would go into halftime with a lead but on a Reunited free-kick from the side, George thought he caught the ball but it dropped on the feet of a Reunited player who tipped it in in the last minute of the 1st half.

In the second half, we played the same tactics with the speed of Jason and Kyle up front and it was Jason who was launched on the edge of offside but smartly he went on one on one with the keeper and kept his cool to give us the lead again. Time for us to bring some fresh legs and we made some changes in the team. Jason got a good chance to make it 3-1 but the keeper saved and Reunited got lucky again when they got a corner and George pushed the ball away but it hit Pat and went in 2-2. Julia who came in very strong in the midfield gave us new hope when she had a super pass to Jason to set him up one on one again and he scored his second to give us a 3-2 lead with 15 minutes to go.

Herewith 15 minutes to go, we went wrong as we never changed the way we played and we should focus on one thing that is to play out the last 15 minutes instead we were still looking to score more and when we lost a ball on top Reunited surprised our defense with a high ball which dropped behind Pat. with Reunited striker being one on one… 3-3.

The last-minute was nerve-wracking as we knew from the game Reunited can score from the smallest mistake on our end and so it happened in the final second of the match after we couldn’t clear their corner and they scored and the referee blew the whistle for the end of the game.

[ SIFL ] Shanghai Lions FC 3-4 Shanghai ReUnited

It was a harsh but good lesson for us to lose like that at the last minute. We got 8 goal-scoring opportunities and we scored 3… Reunited got 1 goal scoring opportunity and the scored 4! We are in the learning stage and these results and experiences will make us only stronger going forward.

Next up is training on Tuesday and the match against the Viking on Saturday. Lions never give up!

Cheers
Freek

Youth team beat Japan FC youth academy

Japan FC youth academyIt was a nice setup at the grass field at Waigaoqiao for the Lions youth team. We had a small squad this time and we were up against Japan FC youth academy who luckily for them got more players back to Shanghai.

We started poor by lack of focus and it looked like it would end in a 0-0 draw. However, after the first 30 minutes, we put everything in order during the break team talk and we started to play better football. What was important was that each player kept their positions and the first objective was a quick pass within a couple of minutes we were 3-0 up and all goals coming from nice field plays with short combinations. Japan did well to score a nice goal from a corner with a good header from not their tallest player and that’s something we can learn from as we got several corners but didn’t manage to score.

As the game went on we were very pleased with all players’ performances as we created many opportunities and scored another 3 goals. Japan FC youth academy deserved the last goal for their never-give-up attitude to make the final score 6-2.

Coaches were pleased with the progress especially from the younger players and we are looking forward to the training on Thursday as well as our next BIG match against Juventus 11 aside next Sunday at 12:00 kick-off at Qi Yi.

Well done Lions!

Cheers
Nick, Pat & Freek

Seniors should have won vs. Sauerkraut

SauerkrautShanghai weather has been amazing this year gratifying us with a summer extension till mid-November… So all was set up for a good game of football for our first team against the Shanghai Sauerkraut. Our intention was to start well as in the last few matches were running behind the facts. In the beginning, we tried to come through the middle but despite the possession, we couldn’t create many opportunities. Our play was much better than last weekend but we always missed people in the box to actually score. Sauerkraut didn’t create anything either but they got one chance in the first half. On ball behind our defense, their striker got a one on one against Juliano who kept us in the race.

In the 2nd half, we played more from the flanks and created several opportunities. One of the best came for Patrick who thought he scored the 1-0… However, he saw his close-range effort stopped by the Sauerkraut goalie with a miracle save. We got plenty of corners and free-kicks but couldn’t find the net.

As it goes in football, if you fail to score your opponent will do it. With 15 minutes to go, we lost the ball on the right-wing and didn’t defend well in the center. Finally, their striker placed a shot so close to the post that it was just out of reach for Juliano. It was a shock of course as we thought we had the game in our hands… Still, we had a good and fast response with a free-kick from the left. Tomas well placed it into the box and Jason gave no chance to the goalie with a fine header.

[ SIFL ] Shanghai Krauts 1-1 Shanghai Lions FC

We tried to look for the winner but in the end, it stayed 1-1. All though it was a disappointing result as we hardly gave anything away against the Sauerkraut. We had good combinations throughout the 90 minutes but were just missing the killer instinct… With 2 of our strikers (Romain & Dan) injured, this is probably the price to pay!

Next Saturday we are up against Reunited and we will try and get a good result out of that game.

Cheers
Freek

Legends beat Super 48 in SPL Veteran

Super 48It was an early morning kick-off at Waigaoqiao and there was a bit of worry about the pollution levels beforehand however a good breeze cleaned the air and with a mild temperature all was set up for a nice game of football. We had a small legends squad but the motivation was there to get a good result against the Japanese Super 48.

[ SPL V ] Shanghai Lions FC 3-0 FC Shanghai Super 48

In the first 20 minutes, we did have most of the possession but lost too many balls in the final stages of the build-up. Super 48 sat back with most of their players hoping for a counter opportunity. The legends took the lead 1-0 by a well-placed free-kick of Tomas in the low right corner.

In the next 20 minutes, we played much better and managed good combinations on one of those FL almost scored with a header but his ball went just wide on the left.

We knew that we needed a second goal in order not to have a nasty surprise in the end so we went for that in the 3rd 20 minutes. Our hard work was paid off when FL scored this time after great combination football from our side. Tomas in fine form sealed the score with a 3rd goal from distance over the Japanese goalie.

We could or should have scored 1 or 2 more goals in the last quarter but the ball didn’t want to get in… To be mentioned that Haroun had a splendid match in the midfield and was voted man of the match. A game of “patron” as they say in french.

We tried to have a beer after the match but SCSC was out of beer due to an event the night before. Never mind, we took the 3 points and have now played and won 3 matches without conceding a single goal. We have a break to heal our injuries this week and we will be back for the big game versus Japan on November 22nd, 2020.

Super 48

Cheers
Freek

Lions out of the SIFL Cup

SIFL CupWith a couple of players injured, our senior team had a thin squad last Saturday for a SIFL Cup game. We were playing against the Krauts a German team with a lot of length and strength in their team. As we have started poor in a couple of games we wanted to change it by not giving away free-kicks or corners but also keeping the ball longer into possession. The pace was slow from both teams and it seemed to go well for us however after a corner for the Krauts in the 20th minute we saved their header but after that we let them cross in again and we couldn’t stop their effort and let them score. We did create a couple of opportunities with FL & Tiger coming closest to scoring however we gifted them their second goal when a Kraut’s player clearly offside unspotted by the linesman as he fell asleep in the afternoon sun ran into our outcoming goalie. It was a penalty for them and we were 2-0 behind at the half time.

Enough was enough we were fighting for a comeback with a superb combination in the midfield we set Samba free and he hit the post with a great strike that was a warning to the Krauts. We did get a free kick in a good spot right in the middle of the goal but Pat’s Skill or his Wifi was not on as the ball went into orbit and has never seen back. We did get our reward by a foul in the box and Tiger kept his cool and scored the penalty. With 5 minutes to go, we all thought Pat would score the equalizer when he suddenly found him free right in front of the keeper but his effort went wide instead of in the goal.

[ SIFL CUP ] Shanghai Lions FC 1-2 Shanghai Krauts

It was a frustrating afternoon as we’re already out of the SIFL Cup… In the end, the Krauts didn’t create anything during the 90 minutes but got away with the win. Next Saturday, we play them again for the league and we are all motivated to put everything right. Let’s Go Lions!

Cheers
Freek

Halloween soccer edition for our U9

HalloweenIt was our second week of league matches for our youngest Lions last Sunday. Our squad is getting bigger with more players giving it a try. It was a special day because of Halloween and some of our players were dressed up to put some extra fear into the opponents. Coached by Jason and Yuxuan, the lions showed good technical control and tried to pass the ball around. There was also more attention to the different positions on the field so everybody could try out another position including goalie as our Halloween spiderman inspired all his teammates :). After the matches, all the players got rewarded with candies so all the players came home with a smile and made their parents proud

Well done young Lions!

Greetings
Freek

Senior team lost in SIFL in just 20 minutes

20 minutesIt was a beautiful day and the pitch was perfect as well. All set to have a great game of football. We had a good mix of older and younger players for this SIFL league game. Unfortunately, Juliano, our goalie, was not available due to work commitments. For this game, we were up against Reunited U18 who is a strong team with talented players with a lot of speed and power.  Of course, we had a plan and a strategy but all went upside down when we conceded a goal in the 1st few minutes… 5 minutes later we lost George our regular left-back out with a hamstring injury. 20 minutes later, it got worse when Masa-san found himself in a one on one with the Reunited forward… Usually, Masa-san would win those by using his speed but this time he got overrun and found ourselves down two goals. This was a problem for us as we now had to push more forward and were more exposed to their speedy attackers at the back. We showed character and tried to get back in the game and we had two very good occasions to score… one was a superb build from the back and midfield with the final station at Romain who hit the ball well and saw his effort hit the post. The second one was by a fast counter from our side this time Romain one on one in the box only had to give the ball to Kyle on the left so he could score but he made a move right and the chance was gone. They scored 3-0 but right before half time, Tyron scored a great goal with a strike from distance.

Yes, the heads were down at the half time but we took the opportunity to get them back up as if we would score one more we could unnerve them and come back like last week against Cosmos. Unfortunately within 5 minutes in the second half, we gifted them another goal again by losing the ball in midfield and let them run free at Fillipo. Actually, that was the final blow for us… Yes, we did score another goal after a great cross from Masa-san well finished by Tomas to make it 2-4. However, the uphill battle was too much in the last 20 minutes with three players in the back and they scored another 2. Final score 2-6 against the Lions.

Next up will be training on Tuesday and Krauts next Saturday at 13:00 kick-off.

Cheers
Freek

Youth had a taste of the real spirit of a football club

football clubWhat beautiful weather yesterday and setting for our youth-friendly match last Saturday. It is always nice to be able to play on real grass… It was great to see the majority of the senior team come to support our youth academy players. While they themselves suffered a heavy loss in the SIFL a few minutes before, it would have been easy for them going back home… Instead many of them stayed back and gave advice to the youngest. That’s the spirit of a real football club!

As it was a 7 aside match. As always our focus was to build-up from the back, going through the midfield with fast and simple passes and using the wings to get through YKFC’s defense with one or two players in the box to finish it off. We had good spells but also sometimes we took it too easy in defending. YKFC was better on the day in finishing the opportunities we did have most of the ball possession but found it hard to be dangerous in the box. The final result was 4-2 for YKFC in the end and we can learn from our mistakes to play better next time.

After the match, the seniors challenged the academy in a penalty shoot-out and the youth lost it 6-5. It was a close encounter but also nice to see the interaction between youth and senior players… This is the true spirit we want to give within Shanghai Lions Football Club. Also, remember it’s only a matter of time before the youth to win against the seniors 😉

As Nick mentioned we did a hard F45 session Sunday before and we think these sessions are very good to build core and mental strength. The players who attended did a great job and worked very hard. Well done Lions!

We go back to the training on Thursday and working on friendlies vs DEQ (Friday evening) and Juventus 11 aside (Sunday afternoon on November 15th, 2020)

Good work Lions
Freek, Pat & Nick

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