On Sunday the legends were up against a physical England squad. Our intention was to play our passing game and be patient for the opportunities to score and to stay focused at the back.
We played well the first 20 minutes dictating the match with a lot of possession. However, England was defending with its whole team… So not many chances were created from our side.
In the second 20 minutes, England pressed more forward and we played more long balls which didn’t help us much. It was a corner from Haroun which let FL almost score with a header but his effort went just over the bar.
In the third 20 minutes, we got several dangerous corners and shots but failed to score. It seemed to be our “bad day in the office” until Julia found Adrien on the run and he was brought down in the box. Penalty for the Legends and Haroun stepped up to end our misery… To our horror, we saw his effort being stopped by the goalie but luckily he was alert to score after the England goalie dropped the ball.
In the last 20 minutes, it was all about keeping the clean sheet and take the three points and that’s what we did.
It was a great team performance where every player did his part to help the team. We were happy to have Mamdouh and Max back on the field after very long-lasting injuries.
Next up will be Emerald who’s currently on top of the SPL Veteran league chart (see below). Being a minimum realistic, it’s going to be a tough game as both Japan & Emerald teams currently have probably more depth, youth, fitness, and talent than us. Anyway, we will try our best trying to get the best possible result as always.
Last Saturday, it was cold with a strong wind coming from the North. Our first team had a friendly against U19 J-Academy which was good preparation for our upcoming match against Voodoo next weekend. Our goalkeeper woes seem never-ending this season with Juliano still injured and Marcel still in Germany. Therefore, we had Philipp to “goalie” volunteer for this game.
J-Academy started strong and were much more aggressive in the first 10 minutes. On the 1st corner, they took the 0-1 lead with the ball slipping into our goalie’s hand. After 15 minutes, Patrick got in to help organize the defense… It proved to work and our team got better organized and slowly play better and better. Finally, it was Dan who equalized for us just before half time.
With a strong wind in our back in the second half, we were confident to win the game. J-Academy found it harder to come out while on the other end, it was easier for us to put pressure on them. As a result, Tomas put us in the lead. While we let Yuxuan make his debut as a right-back, Masa-san went up as our striker. Good coaching as it is him who scored the 3-1. Despite several other scoring opportunities, it stayed like that. It was a good second half after a poor start of the match.
Last Saturday, our first team was up against Shanghai Azzurri for the first-round of the Hebiguchi Cup. While it’s was super-cold, we also struggled to get enough players for this match. On the goalkeeper side, we had both Juliano and Marcel forfeit for the game. Luckily, Ousmane was willing to be our goalie but obviously, we missed him a lot as our number 6 in front of the defense.
Despite our line-up being very young, we started well closing down the Azzurri team. Upfront, our forwards Moussa and Daniel worked hard trying to keep the ball in our possession. For 30 minutes the game was even and we hoped could go into halftime with a 0-0 score-line. Unfortunately, we gave away a free-kick on the edge of the box which Azzurri converted on a second ball. Five minutes later, we shot in our own foot again by giving them a penalty which they scored. For a while, we lost the match and heads were down. Against a top-team, you get punished for every mistake you make… This is the lesson.
After half time, we were looking for a goal to bring us back into the game. We thought we got it when Moussa got brought down at the edge Azzurri box… It clearly looked like a penalty but the referee only gave a free-kick which we didn’t convert. With only 13 players against 18 very fit Azzurri players, the final part of the match became hard for the Lions. In the end, we lost 3-0 exiting us from this year’s Hebiguchi Cup. Despite the defeat, we were overall happy with the team’s fighting spirit and positive attitude.