Legends win the Santa Cup 2019

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Santa Cup 2019For this Santa Cup 2019 edition, the setting could not be better with superb weather for the month of December on the fantastic green natural grass field of Wellington college. 12 teams from all over the world playing with Santa hats in great friendly and respectful spirit… Amazing! Believe me, this is a unique tournament where we respect any color of the skin, any race, and culture… you cannot find that back in your home country! So honestly, I was a bit sad while organizing this tournament to see the Lions had the least players of all the 12 teams. In my view, it’s about giving back and show appreciation of what you have and share with others!

So we only had 7 players to start with Sylvain coming directly from M1nt… As we were short in number, the president had to start as a goalkeeper. The positive of it was that all the players that came were highly motivated. As we were playing all the top 6 teams in the league we knew it was not going to be easy especially with only 7 players and 6 games in total!

For the 1st game, we were up against the Bulls and we beat them 2-0 which was a good start especially in a tournament! After we played Wellington A and Wellington B and beat them respectively 3-0 and 8-0. After that, we got the main game of the day against Emerald. With Romain in goal and Terao in the squad, we were ready to give them a hard time. We got a penalty which Bob took but a great save from their keeper kept them in the race! They were dangerous on counter-attacks with Fafa but most of his efforts went wide. We took the lead with a great ball in from Andrei finished by Bob and a good save from Romain first time ever goalie gave us the three points! After we played Japan in our final group stage match. We were already number one in the group because Bulls tied with Emeralds so it was not our best but we won 1-0!

The final of the Santa Cup 2019 was against England as they were top in the other group! In only 15 minutes we beat them 5-0 with a great first “chip” goal after 3 minutes from Andrei. Afterward, we controlled the match and played really well as a team with plenty of opportunities and some great goals!

 

Today was a superb performance of a small group of legends with hardly any subs but clean sheets in the whole tournament and some great goals! I am proud of the players today! It’s the first time for the Lions to win the Santa Cup! So for the people who came, you are LEGENDS !!!

 

Cheers
Happy Freek

U16 beat YKFC before Christmas

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christmasFor this U16 last game of the year before Christmas, we had Julia and Alvaro missing versus YKFC… It meant that some of the players were asked to step up and lead the team in the right direction. In the first part of the game, we focused on defense first and good build-up from the back to the midfield players and create opportunities from the flanks. YKFC did have a strategy and game plan for us which was to sit deep and defend with the whole team… In other words “parking the bus”. It worked well for them however whenever they had a goal kick the coach asked them to build up from the back instead of the long balls and that was good for us as once they gave the first ball wide we pressured them in the corner with our attackers and midfield players. We scored the 1-0 with 15 minutes played by a free-kick from Daniel on the right side who found the head from David who with his new hair scored with a good header away from the keeper! We stayed compose and were waiting for our next chance which was scored by Matt after he was faster in reaction to surprise the YKFC keeper after a good pressing form our players! However two minutes later, they scored as we struggled to clear their high balls. In the last minute of the first half, we got a great combination in the midfield with Yuma-san giving the final pass to Daniel who didn’t hesitate to put the ball in the far corner!

We went in the dressing room 3-1 up but had some hard talks as we needed to improve in defense and we asked some players to step it up!

It was amazing to see the whole team transform into a superb teamwork display where all of the players stayed in their positions and executed the 1 or two touches which we have done at training week in and week out! We created several opportunities with great build-ups between 4-5 players and on both sides of the field and whenever YKFC did come close to the goal we had several midfielders and defenders to drop back to make sure no danger for Kokki-san! Our fourth goal was very nice with 3-4 quick combinations on the right side and Daniel blasting the ball in the net with his left foot from the middle of the box! Matt was unlucky to see his nice strike hit the crossbar and in the end, David got a second goal with a great strike as well to make the final score 5-1!

We went back to the dressing room after the match and gave compliments to all players today as it was a really good team performance and we were very happy with the way we played football!

 

Well done Lions and a good way to end 2019! However, we are not done yet as we will have our Christmas event on the 14th of December. No training next week but we see you all next Saturday! Also, it was Nick’s 31th birthday… So we took a video for him. Happy birthday, Nick!!!

Happy Christmas
Pat, Nick, Freek & Azz

Lions beat Marlins in a six goal thriller

thrillerFor this 1st deciding game of the season against Marlins, we knew this could be another thriller as some of our players were missing due to the Phuket tournament. As a consequence, we came up with a small squad but it is sometimes better having a small motivated crew instead of a large one. Until Friday evening we were not sure about our goalie as our worst-case scenario was to put Pat as the goalkeeper. On Saturday morning thanks to the help of Arnault we got a goalie and could work on our formation! During our warming up we got Yu injured that left us with 15 minutes to go with only 13 players and no goalie as Matt was struggling to find the field. However, he arrives in good spirits and motivated 5 minutes before kick-off!

[ SPL ] Shanghai Marlins FC 2-4 Shanghai Lions FC

The early tactic was to focus on defense first and play compact and wait for the counter opportunities. We worked very well as a team in the first 15 minutes with good ball circulation and possession. It was a long-distance strike from Kevin which couldn’t be stopped well by the Marlins goalie and Arnault was alert to give us an early lead. We knew nothing was won yet but tried to play in the same formation and style almost got the 2-0 when a great thru ball reached Arnault on the run but his effort went offer. Marlins did get a couple of corners which were very dangerous and it was one of their counters where we were unlucky not to be able to clear the ball but instead handed it to the Marlins attacker who equalized 10 minutes before half time!

At half time we made two changes as Terao-san arrived and we tried to play the same as the first half but the Marlins got the better of us in the first 15 minutes putting more pressure on our defenders. As the game moved on we got our playback and got a few occasions. On a counter led by Arnault, we finally got the 2-1 lead with a goal from Philipp. Marlins pushed more players forward and got a lucky reward when a foul from Fafa on Masa turned into a foul from Maso on Fafa and the referee gave a thriller penalty! It was 2-2 with 7 minutes to go and everybody thought it was the final score but the Lions had other ideas pushing everybody forward and a long throw-in from big John caused havoc in the Marlins penalty box and our youngster Alvaro was alert to score 3-2 and within the next two minutes he scored the final score 4-2 on a counter after a supercross from Big John our right-back while all the Marlins were going forward to equalize!

 

What a match! A super team effort with a lot of hard work for each other. A great pleasure seeing so many happy faces at the end of the game after this thriller.

  • Great goalkeeping from Matt
  • Great leadership from the older players
  • Great play from the youngster Laurenz, Matthew & Alvaro
  • Great support from Julia & Nick

Lions, we are one family and one team !  Well done!

 

Happy
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

U16 finish 2nd in 2019 Green City Cup

2019 Green City CupIt was a good turn up for the 2019 Green City Cup today and we like to thank the parents who came to support as well! We had to play three matches in a mini-competition. Our first match was against DEQ with Yu Xuan in goal and he actually made two very good saves but it was not enough to give us the victory as in this match we gave the goals away to DEQ and lost 2-1. However in the second match against Stoke with David in goal we changed our mentality and started to fight for every single ball and each and every player we brought in did the same so it was super team performance and we beat them 3-0. In our last game against the Jaguars we were going for the clean sheet and tried to score fast but in the first half it was not easy as we were impatient and let them come back from our 1-0 lead to make it 1-1 however in the second half we played good football again with a lot of good combinations and plenty of opportunities created by ourselves we scored 4 goals in the second half and could have been more ! Overall we are happy today with the team spirit and the way we played as a team everybody did his best to contribute! So well done Lions next time we go for the first place!

See you all on Wednesday at the training

Cheers
Pat, Nick, Azz & 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 😉

Lions beat Galacticos with youngest average starting XI

youngest averageIt was a blistering sunny day down at Wellington High School. The Lions were prepared early to do a professionally run warm-up and witness Patrick squeeze into some incredibly tight white shorts.  Our focused warm-up seemed to work, as within the first minute the Lions had worked their way up in the pitch, in neat triangles, and were 1-0 up within seconds. Our squad was very young… probably the youngest average ever for the Lions in SPL.

[ SPL ] Shanghai Lions FC 11-0 AVL Galacticos

Our youthful energy paid dividends as we quickly added to the scoresheet. Within 20 or so minutes the game was already ours, a scoreline of 5-0 allowed the Lions to relax. Galacticos made some changes and started to get on the ball a little more, Lions didn’t panic and cut out any potential attacks.

Half time arrived and the boys were told to continue playing with the same enthusiasm but to be wary not to let the opposition play. We responded well by adding to our goal tally, and it was clear that the game was out of reach. There were some special goals amongst the onslaught, particular mention must go to Matty who added 4 goals to his total. Furthermore, it’s important to congratulate all of the youth players who came down for the senior team. Excellent performances all around and this game will be remembered as Lions youngest average team ever. Seb 3, Romain 2, Matty 4, Tomas 2.

 

Cheers
Tyrone

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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