For our first match in the 2nd round of the SIFL competition, we were facing some obstacles before the match as we didn’t have a goalie and we got several senior players injured with Masa-san as the latest victim… As ReUnited has the SIFL league top scorer in their squad, we thought it would be a good idea to put Pat in the goal so he could guide our defenders. In the first 15 minutes, it went well with Tyron and Ryan on top with a solid midfield. We had David making his debut as a right-back and he was up against Zack one of the best ReUnited U19 players who was called up to play against us.
Out of nothing ReUnited took the lead as what everybody thought was a cross going over suddenly helped by the wind it hit the post and went in. It was the first signal of more bad luck to come for the Lions. Suddenly we were under more pressure and our defenders failed to clear the ball when it was needed and ReUnited took advantage scoring again. Soon after, on a corner against us, it seemed Pat was there to catch the ball but their top scorer put a very light header and Pat could only take the ball out of the net afterward… We were cracking with a young squad against an experienced opponent. Being down 4-0, we got a super goal with a brilliant through pass from Kevin in the back to Tyron who was launched full speed and he didn’t hesitate one on one with the keeper to score. Our celebrations didn’t last long as we had to go into halftime 5-1 down.
The half-time talk was simply to forget the first half, not giving up and gain experience. In the second half, George was kind enough to be the goalie. With Pat on the field, we started to play much better and showed spirit and character. For most of the second half, the match was even with both teams not creating too many opportunities. We conceded one goal and a very late penalty which was a gift by the referee to make the final score 7-1 for ReUnited.
After the match, our heads were up and we know that we will do better next time especially when we will have an actual goalie helping us out. We will play Cosmos in two weeks which will be George’s last match before he’s moving to Australia.
Last Saturday was our biggest game of the season as we needed to win to get a place in the top 5 playoffs. Of course, we all knew that the Shooters would be a hard nut to crack as ranked No. 2 in the SIFL league. It was a pity that a couple of players arrived late so we couldn’t 100% prepare ourselves before kick-off. Our strategy was to keep it 0-0 in the first half and try to play more offensive in the second half. Due to this 5th early 09:00 kickoff of the season, our goalkeeper Juliano was missing as he had to work training the Shanghai Shenhua youth keepers… Instead, we had FL willing to help out but obviously, that was not a perfect replacement as he’s not a goalkeeper.
We started the game well and it was good to see the youth players stepping up their game against a tough and more physical opponent. We stayed focused and composed in the back and the Shooters were not dangerous with hardly a shot on target. They got a few corners which we managed to defend and clear. We on the other side managed to get a couple of counters but we missed the killer in the box to finish it as well. Out of nothing the game changed and disaster struck… when Ousmane made a tackle far in the Shooters half where there obviously is no need for a tackle but the Shooters thought it was a very dangerous tackle despite their player standing up right away and there was a bust-up with the final result Red card for Ousmane and only yellow for the Shooter player who attacked Ousmane in the bust-up. Obviously, our game plan was finished and Shooters quickly scored 2-0 taking advantage of the situation… We asked the referee how much time left and he told us 1 minute before halftime… Several minutes later the Shooters coach asked how much time left and the referee said again one minute… In that minute they scored the 3-0! Unbelievable as the referee played an additional 7 minutes in the first half. When confronted by our president, his only answer was to give him a yellow card 🙁
At halftime, we told the players to keep the first 30 minutes in their minds as we were equal. But now with 3-0 down and a man less we had to keep our heads cool and show spirit. That’s what we did as everybody worked super hard not to get a heavy defeat and to get a goal back in the game. Our reward came from a free-kick of Pat far out. We told him to shoot because the wind was in our back and whether I like it or not I must admit it was a bullet that blasted into the net leaving the Shooters goalie with no chance.
Last Saturday, our senior team had an important match vs. Japan as our goal is to end in the top 6 of the league… Obviously, a loss would have put us into trouble. As Japan FC is usually well organized (most teams struggle against them), we came up with a special game plan and strategy. We opted for 3 at the back and 2 wing backs going forward and only two players up top. By doing so we knew we could withhold Japan’s counter-attacks. We were very happy to have Juliano back in the goal after a 3-month long injury as his experience and involvement in the game are essential to give our defense confidence.
Japan did get several corners but with the whole team back to defend them we could prevent any danger. It was our pressing with the whole team that caused problems for Japan and we get stronger and stronger as the game went on. It was a super straight pass from George flying over the two Japanese central defenders which gave Junior a chance to shoot his shot was weak but just hard enough to roll the ball over the line as the Japanese goalie came out at first. That goal boosted our spirits going into halftime.
With a new coach board supplied by Masa-san Pat tried to explain what needed to be done in the second half. Japan was very disciplined in the way they played… Never rushed or panicked and just waited for the one or two opportunities and they did get a few! One time it was the post that helped us and the other time it was Juliano who saved us. Our legs were getting tired but we had several youth players on the bench and the fresh legs helped. Romain as well saved us coming on as a late sub with a super tackle in the box.
The match was about our team spirit as ONE team and it was great we got rewarded with a victory and three points after our hard work. Let’s keep this momentum and work hard at the training and be ready for our next important match against Voodoo Child. It is a must-win game for us to end in the TOP 6 after the first round of the league.
Last Saturday, we had a blue sky with 14 degrees temperature… No complaints about that while still in winter. For this game vs. Shanghai Kickers FC, we still had an exhaustive list of injured players… Therefore, we called up several youth players who made their debut in the first squad. Again without a goalie, we asked George to help out. Also, Ryan made his debut in the starting 11 as well as Julia. On their side, the Kickers were having an interesting squad with two solid center backs and a couple of fast players on the wings
We started well keeping most of the possession with good ball circulation however once we passed the midfield we rushed too much and were looking for a difficult cross or a long ball which were too hard for our forwards. The Kickers were playing on the counter and despite our possession and control of the game, they got the best chances. 0-0 at half time which was not too bad for us given our struggle in the first45 minutes.
In the 2nd half, We decide to go for the breakthrough in the first 15 minutes and we got our reward scoring after a nice build-up. However, after scoring first we started to get nervous… Probably a lack of control or experience which is also understandable given our super young squad. Luckily Dan (freshly coming out of the bench) scored the 2-0 for his last for the Lions. Unfortunately and once more this year, Shanghai Kickers FC came back on a corner which we failed to clear. In the final minutes, we scored the last goal for the 3-1 which lifted all doubts to secure the 3 points.
Last Saturday, our senior team was up against Voodoo. This team is actually ranking No. 2 in the SIFL league. A strong and fit squad which have been playing together for many years. As we are playing with many of our youth players we knew it wouldn’t be an easy match. Once more, our biggest problem was we were still lacking didn’t have a goalkeeper… Our youngster Philipp (once again) offered to play goalie for that game.
We started the game well playing composed as a team and not giving away anything. We also got a few occasions that we managed to get through the Voodoo’s defenders but were missing the final shot or pass. It looked like we could go into halftime with a 0-0 scoreline but disaster struck when out of nothing but just a goal kick we kick the ball against a Voodoo player and it ended in our goal.
At halftime, we tried to stay positive and thought if we can get a goal back it should change the game. It went well for 10 minutes but we gifted them the 0-2 after our goalie didn’t clear the ball at first and lost it afterward… The goalie syndrome which is haunting us this season proved to be too much and we saw all our hard work disappear and the last 30 minutes became frustrating and in the end, we left the field with a 0-4 loss. Next up are the Kickers and hopefully, we will have a goalie to help us out.
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.
It was our last match of the year 2020. A difficult year for everyone due to Covid 19. We wanted the win badly, especially because we wanted to enjoy our yearly Christmas party scheduled later that same night. For this game, our seniors were against Pure FC although the weather was not ideal with a pollution level over 250 PMI 🙁
In the first half, we tried to get control of the match but were too slow and lost many battles against the solid Japanese defenders of Pures. The strategy was to focus on corners and free-kicks in order to score. Although we got plenty of them, we failed to convert any of them. We did take the lead but saw our goal overruled by the linesman who had seen the ball cross the last line and gave a goal kick instead. We were lucky when suddenly Patrick found himself in an awkward position when he was the last man and super fast Japanese striker went on the run to our goalie. Patrick fell over him and was lucky not to be sent-off.
It was 0-0 after 45mn. The talk during half-time was not so nice pointing out the lack of will to win and to score. There was no way we could go to the Christmas dinner without the win and in the second half, we played much better. Especially Hao Nan on the wings was a constant threat and he had a great strike hitting the crossbar. Finally, our reward came when Tiger was set up thru the middle and he kept his calm to make it 1-0 for us. Our confidence got better and we started to play well. However, when we were about to score the second one we lost the ball upfront and the Japanese made a trademark counter. We didn’t react fast enough and they equalized with a great strike from outside the box hitting the left post in.
It was now or never for us and a superb strike from George gave us back the lead. Now, we knew we would not give it away anymore. Instead, Samba scored our third goal and Philipp almost made it four. The final whistle marked the end of the year 2020 with a 3-1 victory for the Lions.
The bus ride back to the Shanghai Town and Country Club was a pleasure with plenty of beers and good music. It was the start of a great evening out. We will have a short break now and we will be back on January 5th for our training. Our first match will be on January 9th, 2021.
Last Saturday, our first team had a late kick-off against last year’s SIFL champion Azzurri. No need for extra motivation for this kind of big game and started the match well. Our objective was not to give away anything and try to find space on the wings. We opted to start with more experienced players and let our youngster come in at a later stage in the match.
On a side note, the referee was annoying and disturbed the match blowing his whistle every 5 seconds… It’s hard to play football in this kind of condition. He had one bizarre call for an unintentional back pass from Pat to our goalkeeper Marcel within the box… Luckily their free-kick shot went wide. On our side, we got a free-kick on the edge of the box but Pat’s effort was saved by Azzurri’s keeper.
It was a slip up in concentration and communication that changed the game. On a cross from the side, 2 players were looking at each other asking who would clear the ball. Azzuri punished that second of hesitation and took a 1-0 lead. We brought Jason to get some speed forward but he was very unlucky twisting his shoulder after only 5mn… Game over for him. We didn’t have many upfront options left with Kyle and Jason both were injured. We tried to get into halftime 1-0 down but with 2mn to go, we gifted them another early Xmas gift… Instead of clearing the ball away quickly enough, Azzurri’s striker got a favorable counter block into our central defender’s feet… One on one versus Marcel and 2-0 lead for Azzurri.
In the second half we didn’t give up and kept trying but hardly came into the box of the Azzurri. We lost FL with an injury and put Dan up in the last 15 minutes but nothing changed for us. The Azzurri scored in the last 5 minutes a goal that smelled offside. Unfortunately, we didn’t protest enough to make the lineman raise his flag… This is called experience!
The difference between us and the Azzurri was the experience. Azzurri team has a squad of fully experienced players whereas we are working with youngsters. It’s all about learning and training hard to improve yourself and to improve the play as a team. Next time we will do better Lions! This coming Saturday, we will play the Pures. This is another Japanese team and only a win will do for us.
After our last minute disaster last week against Reunited, our goal was to get the three points and turn around our misfortune. For this game, our first team was up against the Shanghai Vikings… a mature team but not the fittest of the SIFL league. Therefore, we knew we had a chance to get the win. While Juliano is still injured, we were happy to have Marcel, a new German goalkeeper to help us out.
We started well not giving anything away and tried to play on the counters. The Shanghai Vikings opted for long balls only but didn’t have many players going forward. One of their best players was unlucky and got injured after 10 minutes. We took the lead after a free-kick which Philipp took well and put the ball at the low left corner. We did get opportunities to extend the lead but we were not sharp and focused enough to kill the game.
In the second half, we tried to score the second goal quickly but instead, we almost let them score… A wake-up call for the Lions! Within 15mn to go, we got our reward with a good combination between George & Jason. It saw George’s header hit the crossbar but Kyle was alert and scored what we thought was the winner. However, a small defensive error put them back into the game. Therefore, we had another 10mn of nerve-wracking game time before the referee decides to whistle the end game.
Our players getting injured in the last moment of the match and the coaches trying to fix the problems… It was hard at the end of the game and we shouldn’t get ourselves into this position in the first place… Still, we got our three points and that’s what counts at this stage.
Next up will be a hard match against the Azzurri who won the league last season. We have nothing to lose but and will give them a hard time! See you all on Tuesday.