Legends lose vs. French Bulls

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French BullsLast Sunday, our legends were against French Bulls for the 1st match of the league’s 2nd round. In this 2nd round, the top 6 teams will play each other once more while it will be the same for the 5 bottom team. 

We could not show up for that game with our full strength… A few players were missing as well as our coach Bob. Unfortunately, we also got a few late cancelations just before the game. On the other hand, French Bulls were motivated on their side bringing their pro / ex-pro / semi-pro 30+ yo Cameroonian player. Whatever… and you’ll come back for “fading away” veteran spirit…

Let’s be straight to the point, our 1st quarter was a disaster. We were barely a few minutes into the game that we took the 1st goal on a corner. A few minutes later, the “pro” sliced through 3 or 4 of our players in the midfield to score by himself. He again a few minutes later with an assist. 3-o down after 20 minutes.

During the break, the president told us to forget about the 1st quarter. He asked us to wake up and start a new game which we did. As a result, the 2nd 20 minutes were much better. Despite a few opportunities, the scoreboard remained the same. At some point, Pat who has been called earlier in the morning to complete the squad arrived which helped us in a great manner.

In the 3rd 20 minutes, we scored our 1st goal with Tomas. Unfortunately, we did another small mistake in the back and the French Bulls scored again for the 4-1.

In the last 20 minutes, both teams were pushing and it became kind of “Hourra football”. The French Bulls scored again on another mistake from our defense. However, we maintained the spirit and kept attacking. This paid off with 2 consecutive goals from Aki & Nico. 5-3 for the French Bulls as the final score.

[ SPL V ] Shanghai Bulls 5-3 Shanghai Lions FC

Our legends were of course disappointed with the result. If we forget the 1st quarter, there’s still some positive to take from this game… Let’s remember that.

Below is the remaining 4 games fixture to close season 2020/2021

Cheers
FL

Last game for our German legend Matze

Last Sunday was a special day because it was Matze ‘s last game after more than 250 games wearing a Lions shirt. We were up against local team Lao Pao, the latest comer in the SPL Veteran league. We got last-minute cancelations and a few players also arrived late… This resulted in the oldest forward line-up in Lion’s history with a cumulated age over 160 years old!

The field was a bit hard to play due to the last few days’ rains. There was also a strong wind blowing against us in the first halves. The Chinese team looked fit and sharp and their number 55 legs were double the width of us. He was definitely their key player getting all the balls and taking all the free kicks. Luckily our players noticed that and one by one we made sure to give him a little notch and prevented him from passing or shooting. We were happy to rest with 0-0 in the first 20 minutes.

In the second 20 minutes, our game got better as we managed to get closer into their box. It was a great run by Aky in the box which was ended by a slide tackle (which is not allowed in the SPL V)… So we got a penalty and it was our playmaker Haroun who kept his calm and scored 1-0 for the legends.

In the third 20 minutes, we made sure to keep our defense intact and our goalie Clement saved us a couple of times by boxing the ball away. On a far free-kick, our president thought he could send it into the top corner with the help of the wind… His effort got deflected by an opponent who passed it nicely to Sylvain. He ended up free in front of the goal and scored his second goal for the legends.

In the last 20 minutes, we composed ourselves after an earlier bust-up which was not necessary. We played out the match keeping the clean sheet and clinching 3rd place in the SPL Veteran.

[ SPL V ] Shanghai Lions FC 2-0 Old Guns

After the final whistle, it was time to say farewell to Matze & Natalia. We did that after a few speeches and managed to lift Matze ‘s 100 kilos up in the air a couple of times. We wish them all the best in their new life. They promised to carry the Lions family’s heart and passion all the way to Berlin.

Cheers
Freek

Legends played well vs. Shanghai Scots

Shanghai ScotsLast Sunday, we had a large legends squad against Shanghai Scots. Eventually, the perfect weather of 24 degrees and blue sky while in the middle of February helped in this matter. Then, we came motivated from the start and we had a great balance of characters and nationalities for this match.

The focus was on good football first over the physical part of the game and it worked well as we managed to take over 75% of the possession and played good combination football. We should have been 3-0 up after 15 minutes but we were not sharp enough in the box. Still, we did take the lead after a good combination with Tiger to finish. We had plenty of space for our wingers to come forward and it was Jerome our right back on the run ended being tripped in the box to earn a penalty. We asked Matze to take it but he said no and we let Jerome take it as he never ever has scored for the Lions… The penalty went high and hit the upper side of the crossbar. 1-0 still after 20 minutes.

In the second twenty minutes, we pushed more and our passing game got better and better. It was Masa-san and Tiger who gave us a 3-0 lead after great combinations before the goals. The Scots got one back after their striker mislead the off-side trap and went for it and blasted the ball in the net.

In the third 20 minutes, we were a bit more careful defense-wise as we didn’t want the Shanghai Scots to come back to 3-2. We did struggle a bit and needed a save from Jerome as a goalie. In the later part, we were back into our game and scored a superb goal by Hira-san after great combi play between midfield and forwards. Aki came close to scoring twice but just needed a bit more luck.

At end of the match, Tiger scored one more goal but the Scotts got one back when our offside trap failed but with a penalty from Ousmane and a last goal of Tiger we got a very good result 7-2 win over Shanghai Scots with very good football and our regular goalie still injured.

[ SPL V ] Shanghai Lions FC 7-2 Shanghai Scottish

Julia was elected once more MOM… well deserved. Our next game is against the new Chinese team on March 21 after Matze’s farewell party on March 14. After that, we will play 5 more matches for the top ranking of SPL V second round.

Small comment: Please be on time 45 minutes before the kick-off as we do have game plans in our minds

Cheers
Happy Freek

Legends back on track

back on trackLast Sunday, it was pretty cold with a nasty seaside breeze over our neck. After last weekend’s severe defeat versus Emerald, it was necessary for our legends to put a solid performance in order to put our heads back on track. While we had a serious squad already, Tomas did a good scouting job bringing 3 new players for a try-out: Ronaldo as a goalkeeper, Bobo as a local defender, and Hira-san as the brother of Hiro-san 😉

Our intention was clear from the beginning: a clean sheet and a lot of goals! However, in the first 10 minutes we didn’t play well and our opponent Strosso was much more aggressive than us. Disaster struck when stand-in stopper Sylvain got surprised by a quick step over from the Strosso attacker putting his teammate one on one with our goalie. 0-1 behind not a good start for the legends… We did wake up and hit the post twice while Julia hit the crossbar… It looked like a spell of bad luck was haunting us. However, a long-range missile from Tomas ended the deadlock and we went 1-1 after the first 20 minutes.

There was a hard team talk needed to get the players back on track and what was displayed in the next 20 minutes was one of our best performances of the season. We got our defense organized and Strosso hardly came out as we put the pressure on them. Aki scored his first goal for the Legends and Tomas scored his second goal of the day. FL finally scored a header coming straight from the bench on his first ball. Last but not least our WOM of the match Julia scored her first goal for the legends with a penalty. Super turn around of the match and a joy to watch. 5-1 for the legends at half time.

In the next 20 minutes, we tried to keep playing. Credit to Strosso who never gave up. Aki scored his second and Strosso did get a nice goal to make it 6-2.

In the last 20 minutes, Tomas scored his hat trick to make a final 7-2 win for the Legends. 

[ SPL V ] Shanghai Lions FC 7-2 FC Strosso

Legends are now back on track. Next up will be Scotland after the Chinese new year on February 21st, 2021.

Cheers
Freek

Legends get smashed by Emeralds

LegendsLast Sunday, our legends were up against the Emerald, the current No. 1 in the Veteran league. We knew it would be a hard game as earlier last week our goalie Clement injured his ankle and was out for the game. Luckily Tomas found a friend pilot willing to help out despite the fact that he never been a goalie before.

In the first 20 minutes, we played one of the best football of the season dominating possession with fluent passing games and we didn’t let the Emerald make more than two passes in a row.

However, in the second 20 minutes, we got bad luck on a corner as the 2nd ball felt dead straight into the feet of an Emerald player who scored easily on a close range. Soon after Emerald’s Fafa, managed to slice through our backline to make it 2-0.

In the third 20 minutes, we had no answer anymore to the fast pace and speed of the Emerald players and two of our players ended up with hamstring injuries.

Frustrating afternoon for the Legends with 7-0 as the final score 🙁

Next up is Strosso the last match before the Chinese New Year holiday. Let’s hope next weekend all will be fine again.

[ SPL V ] Emerald 7-0 Shanghai Lions FC

Cheers
Freek

Legends do the job vs. England

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

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