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!

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

Legends stay in the title race

title raceThe weather was good as it was not as hot as last week and the grass pitch was great! In the title race, we were up today against Scotland and the players who have been for more than a couple of years remember how tough they can be as an opponent!

[ SPL V ] Shanghai Lions FC 9 – 2 Shanghai Scottish

We started well with good movement of the ball and we kept possession a lot. It was a great build-up from the right defense finding Mamdouh at the flank who launched Sylvain to make the perfect cross to Hiro-san our new Japanese player who headed the ball in the goal. After the goal, we got plenty of opportunities to score more but we were not sharp enough in front of the goal, and frustration started to slip into the players! At the break, it was made clear by the coach that there was no home for negative talks by anyone considering soccer is a no GO in most parts of the world.

In the second 20mn, we played better and more as a team… Players put their smiles back on their faces and it was a joy to watch the legends play. Bob scored after a gift from Scotland as their defense failed to clear the ball.

In the third 20mn, we took control of the game and Masa-san scored first to make it 3-0 he immediately ran towards the live camera to show to the rest of the world that he just scored! Soon after as the Scottish defense was exposed Kevin took his change and with cool low strike made it 4-0. Classic case 4-0 everybody going forward to try to score but we were not focused in defense and the credit to Scotland never give attitude the got on back. Tomas scored the 5-1 and Scotland got one back after an easy gift to make it 5-2!

In the last 20ms, the gates were open and we were all over the place to score more however as it goes we missed more that we could score but with goals from Bob 2x Nikko 1x & Romain 1x we ended with a solid win and a good feeling as we beat Scotland 9-2!

The beers tasted good and especially when Hiro-san took the center stage and kept the “tradition” alive singing a song from his home country. It was a great performance enjoyed by all the players!

Next up is the BIG title race match against Emerald. Let’s try our best to get a positive result out of this game as Emerald are the favorites going into this match!

 

Well done Legends stay fit and see you all on Wednesday at the training if not see you in the early morning on Sunday!

Cheers
Freek

Legends beat England FC 3-1 in the heat

heatWe knew it was going to be a tough match because of the heat with a temperature of 34 degrees but also because we haven’t’ played a league match for more than 5 months due to the Coronavirus… that’s a very long break!!!

[ SPL V ] Shanghai Lions FC 3 – 1 England FC

With this heat combined to a well-understood low fitness level, our strategy was to stay positive at all times and to try to keep the ball as long as possible so that England would need to chase more and would get exhausted faster… We started well as England decided to sit back with only one striker up-front and it was a great cross from Haroun on the right which found Bob’s head at the second post which gave us the lead.

In the second 20 minutes, we played our best football and scored a great goal starting from the back with a very fast counter and finished by Mamdouh.

In the third 20 mn, our game went downhill of course partly due to tired legs but also we stopped playing the ball around and looked for the impossible ball or the impossible goal!

In the last 20 we agreed to keep the clean sheet and get our possession game back we got plenty of chances to score more goals but it was when Tomas went one on one with the keeper and though he bypassed him the keeper stopped the ball and England quickly went on a break with a long ball over our defense (yes looked offside but….) and they scored 2-1. England didn’t have the power anymore to score another one so we added one more with a fantastic 35m free-kick from Pat!!!

 

Final score 3-1 win and happy to be able to play again after such a loonnngggg time. The ice-cold beers tasted very good after the match! It was nice to see people from all over the world watching our match LIVE Ricky in San Diego and Mamdouh’s girlfriend in Colombia as an example!

 

For us, it is training on Wednesday and another match next Sunday! Well done legends & welcome back!

 

Cheers
Freek

Legends stay unbeaten in the SPL Veteran

unbeatenIt was a beautiful day thanks to the Import Expo which kept most of the factories closed for the week! Awesome blue sky with 22 degrees for a mid-November… Let’s call it global warming! For this game, we were up against the Welsh Bellies. Although we saw a couple of new players in their squad, our goal was to stay unbeaten in the SPL Veteran league. As always, the plan was to get the game in our control right from the start!

[ SPL VETERAN ] Shanghai Lions FC 3-0 Welsh Bellies

In the first quarter, we did just that and kept possession of the ball whereas the Welsh tried to defend us with only one player on top! It was a superb build-up and a great strike by Kevin from outside the box which left the Welsh goalie helpless to stop the ball! Good start for the Legends!

In the second quarter, we kept our discipline and composure. On a corner from Tomas, Laid headed the ball for a  2-0 up. Although our opponent was not very dangerous, we knew we needed one more goal to seal the victory and of course, we were aiming for the clean sheet!

It was the last minute of the third quarter when Tomas tried his luck from a distance but the goalie stopped his effort however he couldn’t hold the ball and Masa-san was there to finish it off!

The last 20 with a 3-0 lead was not very exciting… After the final whistle, we were happy about staying unbeaten! The whole team stayed disciplined throughout the match and didn’t give away anything to the Welsh!

 

So far so good for the Legends! We will be back in action in two weeks!

 

Cheers
Freek

President scores hat trick while Legends beat Strosso

hat trickWhat a beautiful day it was no pollution due to the import expo Shanghai government ordered to close down all factories this week! 22 degrees and a blue sky it cannot get any better than this on November 3rd! We had a couple of latecomers for various reason so we started with the players who showed up early! It included the Freek who usually plays the last part of the match! Target was a clean sheet and goals to catch up with Emeralds’ goal difference.

[ SPL VETERAN ]  Shanghai Lions FC 10-0 FC Strosso

In the first quarter, we could play very high up the field and pressure Strosso all the time. It was a mistake by their keeper who gifted the ball to Bob after Freek ran into him and Bob scored easily in the open goal! We kept the pressure high and we had a great combination on the right which opened up Sylvain who crossed in and the ball was finished well by Freek with his left foot right against the inner post for the 2-0.

In the second quarter, we pushed for more goals and got early rewards by good play from our wingers and Bob adding to his tally. We got a few dubious offside calls but managed to end 5-0.

In the third period, we didn’t start well as some of us started to take it easy and played more for fun and missing lots of opportunities… Luckily players like Tomas showed us the way with a fine finish as his strike left no chance to the keeper. 8-0 was the score at the end of the third quarter.

In the last quarter, we tried to overtake Emerald 11-1 score but we show some good opportunities getting waisted… It was a surprise outside right foot shot from Freek which gave us 9-0 and the icing of the cake was a great cross of Big John finding the head of Freek who came in front of his opponent to seal the final score 10-0 and it made him score a hat trick right after his 56th birthday!

 

Afterward, we said farewell to Imad who announced he will move to Singapore and will be a father in 4 months of a newborn Lion! We wish him and his family all the best in the future! The beers at 711 tasted good after the match and the next game will be against Welsh Bellies. Well done Legends!

 

Cheers
Freek

Another clean sheet for the legends

clean sheetIt was a bit of a cloudy day with Super 48 as the opponent. As the president was on kids’ duty, therefore his assistants were in charge. As always, the objective of the day was to end-up the game with a clean sheet.

[ SPL Veteran ] Shanghai Lions FC 6-0 FC Shanghai Super 48

We started the first quarter organized in 3-5-2… An unusual formation that resulted in some tactic adjustments from our players… Therefore, the rhythm was not very high but we got a penalty just before the break following a handball on the surface. A straight penalty converted by captain Bob for the 1-0.

In the 2nd quarter, we started with the same squad with a little 3-4-3 adjustments in the organization. This change didn’t prove to be effective with probably the worst quarter of the game for our legends… We were playing in “grapes”, forgot to play wide when we could and lost many balls. Luckily, our legends added one more in their basket with an own goal following a cross for the 2-0.

In the third quarter, we made a few changes in the squad with Mamdouh & FL coming in. We start playing simpler, faster and wider. Imad came trough the left midfield beating few players, passed the ball to Bob again for the 3:0. Another chance came from a cross on the right from Bob and Tomas was at the reception for the 4:0.

In the last quarter, Chris slightly injured had to come off and Adrian, a new player invited by Nikko, came back in and played well. We added two more goals… arguably the best two goals of the day. Imad sent a ball above the defender on the left and Bob was at the reception and manage to Lob the keeper from outside the box. The last one was a beautiful cross from Tomas on the right and Bob again with a volley send it right in the back of the net.

A great 6-0 victory with our clean sheet mission completed on the day.

Cheers
The president’s assistant 😉

Legends break the bank at the 11th Shanghai Masters Cup

break the bankIt was a beautiful day and a beautiful set-up organized by Super 48 at the 11th Shanghai Masters Cup. It’s a special tournament for the Lions as we were the only foreign team out of a total of 12. Being invited year after year is something important for the club as it also has to do with mutual respect we show each other… That’s important in today’s world! As the winner of the previous edition, our ambition was to break the bank again. As the president mentioned earlier in the week, the key today was FL to be on time. To set the example, he arrived 30 minutes before kick-off which never happened before!

The first game we focused on defense first as in a tournament you want to win the first game so clean sheet was demanded and because of the game time of 20 minutes for 11 aside rather short we made it clear we needed to score first! We did well in the first game Laid claimed two goals but because of Mike’s bigfoot size, he claimed one of the goals. 3-0 win goals with Mike, Bob & Laid. To be fair to Laid his goal was a beauty esp after the team build-up!

In our second match, we played the Suzhou kickers. Same game plan clean sheet and Stephan scored the winner with no attacks on our goal!

Last group stage we were up against Super 48 the host and we didn’t create a lot of changes as we knew we will go to the quarter-finals anyway. However, a super build-up play found Nicolas, our team pastry chef free on the left for Nico who blasted the ball in the top corner!

We were free from the quarter-final and straight in the semi because of the result in the first round!

We played the semi as a final and were up against Japan FC main team who beat us in the past! our composure and discipline won us the final spot as a free-kick of Laid landed in the box. Bob, after a great control, kicked us into the final with only 30 seconds left to play!

In the final, we were up against the best opponent of the day but we stuck to the game plan… clean-sheet and one goal to win it! We dominated the final but Ben needed to make one save as we didn’t defend back and got rewarded of our team effort when a free-kick of Andrei ended in the goal after Bob created havoc and the ball ended in the net by an own goal!

Another great performance from our legends who managed to break the bank once more… It’s all about commitment, positive mood, and team spirit! Like this, you can do wonders and it doesn’t make a difference no matter how old you are!

 

Well done Legends! Keep going! Never give up! It’s life!

 

Thank you
Happy Freek

Legends start the new veteran season with a win

For this 1st game of season 2019/2020 vs. Shanghai Bulls in SPL Veteran league, we knew it will be a hard game. Only a good focus could give us the result we wanted… Sometimes discipline is the only way to gather the 3 points.

On the novelty/technology side, the other big piece of news is that the SPL league has formalized a partnership with the Shanghai Football Association (SFA):

  • A strong signal of the recognization of Shanghai Premier League into the Shanghai amateur football picture
  • More visibility for the league but most importantly accesses to the official tools developed by SFA such as live broadcast !!! This modern tool can be accessed directly on your phone via Wechat or directly from your browser computer

[ SPL VETERAN ] Shanghai Lions FC 1-0 Shanghai Bulls

VeteranIn the first quarter, we played well but the Bulls also came into our box on a few corners occasions which kept being a threat. We took the lead by a free-kick from Nico on the left which passed the goalie and landed on the head of Bull opponent No. 16 who scored nicely! Bob later claimed the goal but his request was denied after seeing the video assistant referee (VAR).

In the second quarter, we played better and controlled the possession better waiting for a counter-attack. We got just one or two but got the control of the midfield back.

In the third quarter, we felt in the trap of complaining about the referee… As a matter of fact, we lost focus although we got several chances to put the game to bed.

In the last quarter, we managed to play keep our clean-sheet with 1-0 as the final score.

 

Overall it was a hard game and we kept our composure despite the Bulls making sometimes hard challenges! Good team performance and a good start of this new veteran season!

 

Cheers
Freek

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