Our Lions U19 team is playing in the new SPL U19 league every Friday evening. We got our second game last Friday and were up against Aksil who are known for their great pool of talented players.
We got 4 players on a China week this week and its always worrisome for a coach to receive disturbing text messages a few hours before kick off. This time the text was “ we are vomiting and sick due to our China week” we cannot play. Luckily our Captian Oleg was still ok but he said he cannot be on time as the flight back to Shanghai was delayed.
So we were thin in the line up and needed to put some players on positions they were not familiar with. In the first 30 minutes Aksil dominated the game and were very dangerous and aggressive on the flanks and their crosses caused our defenders trouble. They could have scored a few goals for sure but in the end the damage was only one goal. As we saw them missing the opportunities we grew in confidence and started to play on the counter attacks. It was one of them that gave us the equalizer when Felix ran one on one towards the keeper he saw his effort hit the post but Bank was fast enough to react and he scored the 1-1.
In the second half Oleg arrived and it lifted our spirits. The half time talk focused on showing confidence against your opponent and force them to make some mistakes while putting more pressure on them. Aksil had to defend a bit deeper and the Lions were looking for the break through. It came through the middle after good combinations Felix finished it this time to put us in front ! Next goal Felix was the provider through the middle as he found Rick on full speed who with one move found himself in front of the keeper and didn’t hesitate to score the 3-1. Credit to Aksil that they didn’t give up here but instead they started to attack more and more to get back in the game. They got rewarded on a corner with a good header 3-2. In the end the Lions defense stayed firm and organized and good goal keeping by Riccardo who saved a great free kick at the end gave us all three points.
It was a great experience for the U19’s and it will help them to mature as a football player to play 90 minutes 11 aside games / Mandela Aksil’s coach gave some kind comments after the game as he was impressed with our youngster and thought they played like “real lions” !
That was awesome to hear and a great way to end a great game of football in Shanghai !
Well done Young Lions ! Coach Freek