Legends do the job vs. England

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EnglandOn 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.

[ SPL V ] Shanghai Lions FC 1-0 England

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.

SPL Veteran League Ranking (17Jan2021)

Cheers
Freek

Legends shown character vs. Wellington Champs

Wellington ChampsLast Sunday, our legends were up against Wellington Champs to relaunch the machine after the defeat versus Japan FC the game before. For this game, we were missing a few players… Among others, our goalkeeper Clement was missing… He had a good excuse as he had been trapped the night before for his bachelor party. Luckily, this was anticipated and a few seniors came to complete the squad.

In the 1st quarter, we were organized in 4-4-2 with Sylvain & Julia in the middle. We combined very well in the 1st 15 minutes and could have scored 2 or 3 goals… Unfortunately, the finishing was not there and we got punished on Wellington’s only opportunity with a free-kick on the far 2nd post. It landed on an opponent who crucified the keeper on a close shot. A wake-up call for the legends who reacted immediately with a goal from newbie Tiger.

At the break, the coach’s speech was pretty positive. Oddly, the machine got stuck in the 2nd quarter… We lost our fast short passing style and started to throw long balls upfront. It didn’t work with the same punishment… An easy pass ended up in Wellington’s striker feet while we had an easy ball in defense. As a consequence, he finished us off while our keeper FL didn’t know if he shall move forward or keep on its line. 2-1 for Wellington Champs at half-time.

Nothing special to be mentioned about the 3rd quarter with a lot of approximations on both sides. To be honest, it was not very pretty to watch.

In the last quarter, our objective was to score a minimum of 2 goals in order to keep a minimum hope for the title race… Easy to say but not always easy to do! So, we started to play higher on the pitch and press our opponents. It proved to work with the attack being able to create several opportunities. After 10 minutes, Tiger scored his second goal quickly followed by a third. 1st hattrick for his 1st game for the legends… well done! 3-2 for the legends and final score 🙂 

[ SPL V ] Shanghai Lions FC 3-2 Wellington Champs

Cheers
FL

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

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

Legends beat the Bulls

BullsIt was a perfect day for Football and the Legends had an early match against the Bulls a mainly french team and sofar unbeaten in the SPLV league. We were lacking forwards and midfielders for this match but were happy that Jack made his debut in the Legends as he is a solid defender. For the starting line up, we had to be a bit creative to make it work but we opted for 4-4-2 with Fabi and Tomas upfront.

[ SPL V ] Shanghai Lions FC 2-0 Shanghai Bulls

In the first 20 minutes of the match, it was clear how the Bulls intended to play as they were pumping long balls to their two forwards all the time skipping their midfield players. We had to stay alert and it was good that Clement our goalie was focused as a of those balls ended in his hands. We didn’t create many chances in the beginning but did have the midfield control.

In the second 20 minutes, we became more dangerous and created more chances and the reward came with 5 minutes to go by a great cross from Romain finding the head of Fabi who with a superb header left the Bulls goalie without a chance.

Although we were 1-0 up we still had 40 minutes to play and the Bulls didn’t change their game plan it was not easy for us but the whole team stood up to work hard to get the result we wanted. The biggest scare came when FL thought he was clearing a ball for a corner to the Bulls but saw that instead, he was firing a shot at Clement luckily he was alert and saved us.

In the last 20 minutes, we wanted the clean sheet and defense was our first priority but of course because the Bulls needed to score they moved forward and we could counter. We did get a couple of shots on target but the icing on the cake came in the last minute when Nico landed a corner on the head of the President who saw his effort being blocked by the hand of the Bull defender in the box. The penalty taken by him flew into the left corner and it was time to celebrate a super team effort on a hard-working day. The Corona’s tasted good after our 2-0 victory!

Next up are the new Chinese team the Old Guns at 11:00 this coming Sunday!

Cheers
Happy Freek

Legends beat PF United and start new season with a win

PF UnitedLast Sunday, we were a bit surprised to see our opponent PF United to come with 26 players for the match. As in the veteran league, we play 4 x 20 minutes; it was like we were facing a new squad for every quarter time!!! Our strategy was to create corners and free-kicks and be alert on their counter attacks.

[ SPL V ] Shanghai Lions FC 2-0 PF United

In the first 20 minutes, we played well but should have taken the lead as we got two clear chances in the first minutes. It was important to score first as Japanese teams are masters in counter football.

In the next 20 minutes, PF United was more dangerous and came closer to score we did get a lot of corners and a couple of free-kicks but failed to convert them.

The match turned positively into Lion’s favor in the third 20 minutes. First PF United had the best scoring opportunity of the game out running our defense with only our goalie Clement left to beat… Luckily, he saved the shot and saved our match. They got one more close encounter but with few minutes to go PF United gifted us a goal-scoring opportunity as Masa-san was fouled in the box. SKIV stayed cool and scored the penalty in the left corner.

With a 1-0 lead going into the last 20 minutes we were motivated to keep the clean sheet and strengthened our defense a bit in order for ourselves to also play on the counter. On a cross from Nico, FL did a great header which went in after hitting both the crossbar & the goal line. PF United said no goal but we called for the VAR… the referee had no choice but to call it in.

Overall a very good team effort and performance from the Legends and the Corona’s after the match tasted good. Next up will be our match against the Bulls 09:00 on Sunday Oct 18th, 2020.

 

Cheers
Freek

Positive outcomes after a friendly vs. Bulls

positive outcomesThere were many positive outcomes for the legends today after a friendly game vs. Shanghai Bulls.

  • Bob taking on the coaching job while not being able to play himself due to his injury was a great example of commitment to the team. 
  • Nicolas delivering the new kit and the bags, except for Matze 3 XLXLXL which was still tight on him all players were looking sharp in the new outfit. 
  • Nicolas Serrano despite twisting his ankle coming to watch and support us.
  • Jerome while a bit injured happy to play stand-in goalie and had a great save (yes one).
  • It was great having Haroun and Adrien back after they managed to re-enter China.
  • Tomas “on fire” who probably played his best game for the Lions.
  • Skiv scoring a lob which starts to become his trademark goal.
  • 100% Japan-made goal with Hiro-san crossing for Masa-san header.
  • Matze making a 200-meter sprint upfront running after a pass from the President.

Jokes apart let’s keep this spirit UP where each player tries to contribute to the team whenever he enters the field or contributes to the club on or off the pitch by organizing events and or training or helping out club management. Our first test is next week 09:00 against a much improved Japanese team. It starts by being on time and ready to play and from the first whistle.

See you all on Sunday.

Cheers
Freek

Legends lose against Japan FC

JapanWe knew it was going to be an uphill task to get a positive result out of our last match of the season against Japan. Our injured players’ list was super long with 7 injured players… On top we still have players like Laid, Fabi & Terao-san stuck outside China. Still, we managed to get a team of 14 players but it was light compared to the 30+ players squad from Japan side!!!

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

The game plan was to slow down the pace and patiently wait for our chances especially from corners of free kicks. It worked well until Chris, barely 15 minutes in the match, pulled his hamstring… On top, his opponent managed to cross the ball in from the left-wing, and Japan scored for the 1-0.

In the second 20 minutes, we played our best game controlling the match and we came close on a few occasion and Japan had barely a shot on goal.

In the third 20 minutes, the game was over when the Japanese winger on the right made an incredible volley that sailed over our goalkeeper Clement in the far corner. Soon Japan scored the 3-0 after an unlucky touch of Clement and the game was over.

In the last 20 minutes, there was not much we could do to change the score and with this result, Japan is on their way to gain their first-ever SPL Veteran title this. We will have to settle for third place but will be back stronger next season.

As it was Fred’s last official league match, all players stayed back to have a few ice-cold beers and our appreciation for Fred’s commitment and dedication to the team was given. We wish him a good future in France!

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We will play the SPL V end of the season Tournament on Jun 14th, 2020. Hopefully, some of the injured players will be back by then.

 

Cheers
Freek

Legends drew 3-3 against Wellington

WellingtonAfter the Legends dropped out of the Championship race last week against Emerald we were having a small squad against Wellington as 5 legends were sidelined due to injuries! The weather was super hot and we were also lacking a bit of motivation… The idea was to play simple football with a lot of possession so that the opponent would be tired out chasing for the ball.

[ SPL V ]  Shanghai Lions FC 3 – 3 Wellington Champs

In the first 20 minutes, we played bad as we couldn’t hold two passes in a row as well were caught several times offside. Wellington for the occasion had more local players than their regular players and we lacked speed against the locals. No surprise the way we played that Wellington took the lead.

In the second 20 minutes, we started a bit better and got several corners and a close-range free-kick but Pat saw his effort being stopped by the keeper. After this Pat came off with a back injury and made the injured players list to 6 players!

In the third 20 minutes, we finally started to play and scored a great goal after a good build-up and passes it was an easy tip-in for Tomas. The next goal for Wellington was weird as there was a clear offside and both teams stopped playing… The referee who had the whistle in his mouth finally decided not to blow and the Wellington forward had a free pass to score by himself with nobody defending on him. We responded with two quick goals from Kev and Haroun and took the lead.

In the last 20 minutes, we had a couple of changes but either the delivery or the finish was not good enough. Wellington snatched the equalizer on a break to make the final score 3-3!

 

We hope that some of the injured players can recover soon as we face a very fit and fast Japanese side next Sunday!

 

Cheers
Freek

Legends see title hopes fade away

fade awayOn both legends and Emerald’s side, all players knew that the loser will see its tittle hope fade away. Therefore, it was good to see many legends arriving early for the 09:00 am kick-off. Unfortunately, that was not easy for Kevin as he had to work until the late hours and could only arrive with one hour’s sleep… Not ideal given the hot and humid weather and the strength of the opponent but it shows his character to still arrive just on time for the match!

[ SPL V ] Shanghai Lions FC 1 – 3 Emerald

Our game plan was 4-4-2 with our mind on defending first so that we could come out without conceding and then look for the counter opportunities. Also, it was highlighted that in this game the team which would score first will have the upper hand in the rest of the match! Defensive wise we started well as we played very compact and didn’t give them space however in the build-up which usually is our strong point we lost the ball after two passes. Emerald had just one shot which was off target in the first 20 minutes and we got some dangerous breaks but with one minute to go disaster struck when we gave the ball away in defense and they quickly moved the ball from right to left and found their free man and they scored the so important 0-1.

Of course, this changed the game as now Emerald could sit back and close down and wait for their long ball counters counting on Fafa’s speed. We kept our composure in the next 20mn and were have more ball possession now and we should have got a penalty when two Emerald defenders were embracing Bob in the box but the referee gave the advantage to Romain who saw his shot go wide. We had another great attack where Romain made a perfect cross on the right and Tomas almost scored with a header!

In the 3rd 20mn, we all agreed to step up the game as we perfectly knew our tittle ambition will fade away if we were to lose this game. We got a couple of free-kicks and came more often in their box Cyril who came in for Sylvain give us some hope as with his skill and energy it lifted our game but…. Unfortunately, we gave the ball away to them to set them up for a fast counter and we were 2-0 down!

The talk for the last 20mn was simply to forget everything that happened before as we needed to score and the whole team was asked to step up and give everything they had left! We were all over them in the first couple of minutes and our effort was rewarded after a foul on Massa-san in the box. Bob stepped up to put us back in the game but show his effort stopped by the Brazilian goalie. Even after this blow we didn’t give up and kept pushing forward and were trying to score. We had changes sure but missed the final touch. They killed us on a long ball when we were all thinking forward and made it 0-3 but even after that we kept playing and finally got our reward a nice goal from Masa-san achieved by pure character of the whole team. Soon after Tomas hit the post with a good strike but in the end, it was not enough. Final score 1-3!

 

We lost as one team and will come back as one team ! Unless a miracle happens, our tittle hope just fade away for this year… Let’s enjoy the last 2 matches of the season. Hopefully, our injured players can recover on time to play these last 2 matches! Last but not the least, the game live replay is available for further analysis.

 

Cheers
Freek

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