Almost 2 months after our last game, it was with a lot of excitement but also incertitude that we met on a nice pitch and a nice weather to play the Galacticos. They made a draw the previous week against the Kickers so we had to be prepared. The whole Lions squad was on the pitch at 11:45 (for a kick off at 12:30), focused, happy and excited to play together !
We could see the motivation as after a few minutes Tevz had a first opportunity to score well stopped by the keeper of Galacticos. Shortly after, we made several technical mistakes and failed to kick the ball out of our box. A little panic that was beneficial as it woke us up! We then started to take the control of the ball and put pressure. Tevz, from the left wing, had a second face to face with their keeper and scored the first goal. A few minutes later, a center from Tomas coming from the right was volleyed by Romain for the 2-0. Pushing on his wing, Tevz created another opportunity concluded by Fabi with no angle for the 3rd goal. Finally, Romain concluded with a nice volley a lob from Benji above the defense. The last 10 minutes of the first half were sterile as we started to slow down. Good time to re-motivate the squad as we needed more goals!
Although we had the control of the ball, we struggled getting in their box and were very often caught off-side. We changed our game and decided to use our speed. With a nice pass from Dimitri, Tevz had another face-to-face with the keeper and scored his second goal of the day for the 5-0. We continued pushing and pressing high. Kad scored a few minutes later on a center from Andrei from the right wing (6-0). The 2 teams were packed in the Galacticos’ box and it was difficult to find space to play. However, Romain found another opportunity to shoot and, with a few deviations, scored the 7th goal.
10 minutes before the end, Thomas jumped for a header and was pushed in the back in the box. Penalty transformed for the 8-0.
With 21 Youth Lions in action (two teams in the U17 category), we had a strong presence at the 2018 AKS Shanghai Cup last weekend. On Saturday each team had 5 consecutive matches of 20 minutes each. Our B team did well and had a few very close matches which could have ended either way. The A team was in fine form and with four wins and one 0-0 draw, they made it to the finals on Sunday.
On Sunday our B team played their best football in their last match against Stoke City where they were unlucky to concede a goal in the very last minute. However all players gained experience over the weekend and in the end had a fun experience. For the A team they needed to beat Stoke City in the semi finals. The match was very tight and both teams tried to play on counter. It was a smart free kick from Matty which gave the Lions the lead with just a few minutes left on the clock. With the 1-0 win they made it in the finals where they expected to play Aksil ReUnited but they were surprised by a strong German team from Hongqiao.
In the round robbing match against this German team we played 0-0 and knew that this team was strong. We played the final in a very disciplined manner with our first priority not to give anything away to the opponent and second to try and find a space to counter on the 7 aside pitch. Yusuke came very close to score the 1-0 and Victor created some danger as well. However it stayed 0-0 until the final whistle. Now our hope was on Max our stand in goalie who proved to be in great form over the two days. Phillip and Matty scored both their penalties and Max saved the second penalty of the Germans ! Victor up next did what he had to do and that was to score and give us his goal gave us the well deserved title.
Over the weekend we experienced great team spirit and good discipline by the Lions on and off the field. Good coaching helped the teams and last but not least we were happy to see parents come and support us !
The weather was great and we had a big legends line up for the game against old rival the Emeralds ! In the first and second 20 minutes of the match we played our best football of the season. With a compact squad we kept the ball in our possession and made the Emerald players run a lot. We had some great build up plays and within 5 minutes James on a run from the right wing hit the cross bar. We took the lead by an awesome pass from Sylvain nicely finished by Romain who scored on his birthday !
It was a well deserved lead for us however in the second 20 minutes disaster struck as Emerald got a free kick at the right wing and when the player tried to cross it in it flew over our keeper in the net…..!
In the third 20 minutes we lost a bit of our composure and Emerald scored on a very fast counter it was their second shot on goal….!
For us all we could do now was fighting for every ball and try to get the luck on our side. After a few corners and two free kicks for us it was over and all we could do was drink our sorrows away with Ice Cold Beer.
With only Till and Matty upfront we counted on quick counter attacks to score. In the first twenty minutes both teams were equal and trying to find each others weak spots ! Reunited did get a few good shots on goal but Tim, our goalie, was alert. We took the lead by a fast counter finished by Matty but Reunited responded quick and scored the equalizer. In the last spell of the first half we did give too many free kicks and shooting opportunities away to the opponent but they failed to convert them into goals and we proved to be deadly on counter and we went into half time 4-1 up.
To be 4-1 up at half time is always an issue as players think the match is done and despite our warning about this at the break Reunited managed to score two minutes in the second half. It was the key moment of the match as either we imploded as a team or we stood up and showed them who we are. We did the last and scored some fantastic goals by Till, Pavel, Matty to make the final score 8-2 !
It was a great Lions team effort where everybody contributed to the victory as well we were very pleased by the substitutes coming in as they showed great character !
Keep training hard and play as a team and we are on the right track ! Next up is training this week and the Aksil Cup on the weekend !
Finally the pollution which hung over Shanghai for more than a week got cleared and we were playing in cold conditions but with a blue sky ! For the Legends it was their first match after the New Year holiday and always that match is not easy as most players gained a few kilos and dropped their fitness levels. For the Japanese players this was not the case as they looked sharp fit and well organized.
With our Captain Fred on goal for the first 20 minutes we tried to combine to keep the ball in our possession however the passing was poor end most of the time the ball ended up with a Japanese player. We got a free kick on a good position but we took it too fast as our defenders were still on the way forward. We gave the free kick to the Japanese who found themselves unmarked on top and they scored on a quick counter… Soon we failed to clear a long ball and Hirai, the Japanese striker, had no problem scoring the 2-0 from close range. 0-2 down just before half time we had to try to get back in the game and did it with a in the box strike from Nicolas B… It felt good !
We started the third 20 minutes motivated but within two minutes we gave the ball away and left the Japanese striker too much space and their 3-1 was the “so called” killer blow ! While trying to get a goal it was Japan again who scored typically from a corner for us on a very fast counter !
Well done and Well deserved victory for Japan. For us we need to get our fitness back and that starts at the training field on Tuesday !
After the tough defeat of last week, we had to wake up and show what we could do! We started the game with an experienced team. We soon got the control of the ball but unfortunately could not go close enough to score. Then, their striker suddenly got a ball outside of the box and shoot for the 1-0… The end of the first half continued to be sterile for us and we finished the first act 1 goal behind.
We proceeded to a few changes for the second half and came back on the pitch with more aggressively and more willingness to score! Our young Lion Matty came in to bring more speed and balls into the box. We soon came back to the score, thanks to Romain who benefited from a good work of Matty on the right side. We were pressing our opponent very high. A few minutes later, Laid received the ball, transmitted to Romain who found Azz on the left who perfectly opened his foot to adjust the keeper for the 2-1. On another high pressing, the Japanese team conceded a corner kick. Matty took it and Fabi smashed it in the goal for the 3-1. Finally, very thankful for the assist, Fabi perfectly launched Matty who lobbed the goal for the 4-1!
It was a good game, with a good result against a serious team. More than the result, we all played together and the whole squad participated!
For our first game of 2018, we were facing the Marlins on a beautiful sunny Sunday. Our opponents started full speed and before most of the team could even touch the ball, we conceded our first corner and our first goal… Marlins continued playing their game, attracting us and counter attacking very fast. A few minutes later, Wilson smashed a nice center from the left for the 2-0. Despite this handicap, we kept trying to play, pushing from the wings. Unfortunately, Wilson again, in the middle of 3 Lions, found a way to shoot for his second goal of the afternoon. 3-0 with only 3 shots was a difficult score…especially for a young team. We were late on most of the balls and the Marlins were more aggressive. Maybe too aggressive since Azz was tackled in the back and had to leave the pitch. As the half time was approaching we continued pushing. Dave had a free kick that was well stopped by their keeper. And a few minutes later, we had a penalty kick for a foul on Tevz in the box. Again, their keeper stopped Tomas‘ shoot…just before the half-time.
We operated a few changes for the second half and came back on the field with a positive attitude. We controlled the ball a little bit better and were pressing them a bit higher. The game was getting tougher and we conceded a few yellow cards. 10 minutes before the end of the game, Shingai got his second yellow card…leaving the team 10 vs 11. After a good combination in the box, they finally scored their 4th goal.
It is a tough defeat but we have to learn from it… See you all at the training on Tuesday to prepare the next game on Sunday against Japan!
We had a great event on Saturday for our Youth Players ! We have kept it secret until the last moment and only gave the players a meeting point in Puxi. Once everybody was checked in we went to the brand new Z & B Fitness at Changle Lu ! Before the programs started we handed out our new Nike Youth Kit and looking at the players faces they were all very happy with the new outfit !
We first got a private one hour spinning class from Kat a German teacher with very very strong legs ! The players enjoyed it and got better and better later in the session ! After this we walked down 13 floors to end up in the hands of another private teacher Guillaume who as we could see from his muscle mass was a specialist in core exercises ! He set up an one hour circuit training for the players which was surely not easy but a great way to work on our fitness and strength !
After all the hard-work there was our reward as we headed for Bella Napoli and started carbo loading ! A brilliant performance of Daiki-san ended a great day for the Lions !
We like to thank Z & B Fitness for the great reception and we will like to do this again next year !
If you are interested in the Lions Youth Academy please contact us for more information. We have players from 13-18 years old from all over the world !
We wish everybody a Merry Christmas and a Happy and Healthy New Year !
Christmas is approaching fast and the leagues are coming to and for this year ! The SPL Santa Cup was there to end the season with some fun football ! A total of 18 teams from all over the world took part and it was great to see the Lions take part with the Young Lions and the Senior Lions and the Lions Legends !
Although we didn’t win the cup we enjoyed the great weather and great pitch and the matches ! As you can see from the pictures !
Lions, it was strange weather last Sunday as despite being close to December it was a summer day with a blue sky and 25 degrees. We were up against the Emerald (last year champion) who could keep us away from winning our 3rd SPL Veteran title in 4 years ! For that, we had to lose 17-0 and Emerald brought Fafa (SPL senior goal scorer of last season in their team) aiming to make it happen…
We started very good as we managed to block the attacks with solid defense and good saves from Laurent our stand in goalie ! James in fine form for the last couple of games even got a chance to give us the lead after a great pass from Thomas. Jerome got a yellow after he ended up in a scrum with his opponent but he stayed composed and disciplined for the rest of the game.
In the next 20 we got more possession and Emerald was less threatening Bob hit the cross bar with a powerful strike !
In the third twenty minutes it was a bit harder as Emerald has physical strong players and the battle in the midfield was fierce however our defense was strong and covered most of the attacks and Masa-san our right back was on fire winning all the headers and defended like a rock.
In the last 20 minutes we thought we had won the game when Bob went all alone one on one to the Emerald keeper however at the end he slowed down and so did his shot… it was an easy pick up for the keeper ! With 10 minutes to go disaster struck as by a corner Francois was pushed to the ground making Fafa a free man to score with a header from nearby the goal. It was harsh on us as a draw would be a fair result. Instead Fafa too fast for our older defenders made it 2-0 for Emerald.
Despite the loss we had smiles on our faces as we were Champions ! It was a tight race this season as Japan had equal points but our goal difference was 14 goals better at the end and Emerald ended two points behind us !
The beer tasted good after the match ! Well done Legends and thank you Pascal for coming out to watch the match !