Senior team beat Japan in important match

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Last Saturday, our senior team had an important match vs. Japan as our goal is to end in the top 6 of the league… Obviously, a loss would have put us into trouble. As Japan FC is usually well organized (most teams struggle against them), we came up with a special game plan and strategy. We opted for 3 at the back and 2 wing backs going forward and only two players up top. By doing so we knew we could withhold Japan’s counter-attacks. We were very happy to have Juliano back in the goal after a 3-month long injury as his experience and involvement in the game are essential to give our defense confidence.

Japan did get several corners but with the whole team back to defend them we could prevent any danger. It was our pressing with the whole team that caused problems for Japan and we get stronger and stronger as the game went on. It was a super straight pass from George flying over the two Japanese central defenders which gave Junior a chance to shoot his shot was weak but just hard enough to roll the ball over the line as the Japanese goalie came out at first. That goal boosted our spirits going into halftime.

With a new coach board supplied by Masa-san Pat tried to explain what needed to be done in the second half. Japan was very disciplined in the way they played… Never rushed or panicked and just waited for the one or two opportunities and they did get a few! One time it was the post that helped us and the other time it was Juliano who saved us. Our legs were getting tired but we had several youth players on the bench and the fresh legs helped. Romain as well saved us coming on as a late sub with a super tackle in the box.

[ SIFL ] Japan FC 0-1 Shanghai Lions FC

The match was about our team spirit as ONE team and it was great we got rewarded with a victory and three points after our hard work. Let’s keep this momentum and work hard at the training and be ready for our next important match against Voodoo Child. It is a must-win game for us to end in the TOP 6 after the first round of the league.

Cheers
Freek & Pat

Junior team did well vs. seniors in mini-tournament

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mini-tournamentIt was a great day with beautiful and amazing weather. A blue sky no pollution and 24 degrees in February. Our Junior team was invited to play a mini-tournament against 4 Japanese senior teams. It was a great opportunity for our juniors to get a taste of the senior level. Also, because we could play 4 x 20 minutes games; it gave us the chance to try out different formations.

In our first match of this mini-tournament, we asked all the players to press as high as possible. It worked well especially from the forwards who were chasing up the Japanese defenders. Our own defense struggled a bit to move up quickly but that’s why these training matches are good for as later in the game they got better and better. It was Ryan who gave us the lead when he ran alone to the keeper. That was the winner of the match. 

In the second match, we dominated the possession but were less threatening upfront. We played well in the midfield and our forwards created chances. The best one was for Henry who set himself up perfect only to see his effort gone wide. The opponent twice on a break lobbed the ball over our keeper and we lost the match.

In our third match, we tried a new tactic to play with three defenders and two wing-backs. By doing so we managed to use all the space of the field and played our best football of the day. We managed 4-5 passes in a row and created several opportunities. JP and James came closest to score but you need a bit of luck. On the other hand, we thought the Japanese would score the winner in the last few minutes but a super tackle of Pat kept our sheet clean. The match was a joy to watch despite ending in 0-0.

In our last match, we kept the same tactic and tried to build on it. The legs were a bit tired and unfortunately, Ryan had to get out on injury. Yu Xuan had a super save as goalie at the end to keep the score 0-0.

Overall, we are happy with the progress you guys are making. Last Thursday’s training was especially much better and today you stood up as a team against senior players in this mini-tournament. Let’s continue to work hard together and get better. By the way, Julia already played 70 minutes with the Legends in the morning and was voted MOM. Great Job Julia.

Well done Lions and we see you all on Thursday at the training.

Cheers
Pat/Nick/Freek

Legends played well vs. Shanghai Scots

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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

U18 win 4-3 over Japan FC U18

Japan FC U18It was a perfect day to play as it felt like spring just had arrived in Shanghai with the temperature reaching 17 degrees. It was a working Sunday ahead of the CNY holiday but it was great to see many parents come to watch and support our U18 team. Japan FC U18 team had more than two teams but the older ones got the priority to play first.

Our plan was to start fast and try to look for early goals. When Ryan tried his luck in the first minute with a long-range from the right it was too hard for Ryu’s father who helped the Japanese team as a goalie. Maybe the goal came a bit too early as after that we didn’t play well as there was no connection between the defender and the midfielders and no connection between our midfielders and our forwards. In between the lines, there was so much open space as the defense was sitting too deep and our forwards stayed up too high. We got punished for that by Japan FC U18 who with their quick feet and passing had no problem scoring two goals in 7 minutes taking advantage of the free space we gave them. Guess that was the wake-up call we needed and we started to play better on an attack over the left the ball was not cleared in the Japanese box and Ryan didn’t hesitate to equalize for us. In the last minutes of the first half, we started to play very well and took a 3-2 lead by a tip-in from JP.

The second half was much better from our side with our defenders and midfielder and attackers playing like one unit and it was much harder for Japan to get the ball in their possession. We enjoyed our passing game and everybody kept their tasks within the team. We came very close on several occasions to score one ball was saved by Ryu from the line after his father was already passed. It was Philipp who scored a nice goal placing the ball in the far left corner to make it 4-2 for us. Jason played a few minutes in the end. By the way, it was his last match for the moment as he will go back to the USA to finish high school… We will miss him of course and wish him all the best. Japan scored a nice goal at the end with a long-range well placed shot over Sean our new goalie.

Overall it was a good match for both teams and we like to thank Michael the father of Alexander who did a great job as a referee. This coming Thursday we will have no training due to CNY however we will train on February 18th, 2021. On February 21st at 13:00, we will participate in a mini-tournament with the older youth players and a few senior players against 4 Japanese senior teams at Waigaoqiao.

Well done Lions
Freek, Nick & Pat

3-1 win vs. Shanghai Kickers FC

Shanghai Kickers FCLast Saturday, we had a blue sky with 14 degrees temperature… No complaints about that while still in winter. For this game vs. Shanghai Kickers FC, we still had an exhaustive list of injured players… Therefore, we called up several youth players who made their debut in the first squad. Again without a goalie, we asked George to help out. Also, Ryan made his debut in the starting 11 as well as Julia. On their side, the Kickers were having an interesting squad with two solid center backs and a couple of fast players on the wings

We started well keeping most of the possession with good ball circulation however once we passed the midfield we rushed too much and were looking for a difficult cross or a long ball which were too hard for our forwards. The Kickers were playing on the counter and despite our possession and control of the game, they got the best chances. 0-0 at half time which was not too bad for us given our struggle in the first45 minutes.

In the 2nd half, We decide to go for the breakthrough in the first 15 minutes and we got our reward scoring after a nice build-up. However, after scoring first we started to get nervous… Probably a lack of control or experience which is also understandable given our super young squad. Luckily Dan (freshly coming out of the bench) scored the 2-0 for his last for the Lions. Unfortunately and once more this year, Shanghai Kickers FC came back on a corner which we failed to clear. In the final minutes, we scored the last goal for the 3-1 which lifted all doubts to secure the 3 points.

[ SIFL ] Shanghai Kickers FC 1-3 Shanghai Lions FC

It was a good match and a good win. We will train one more time this week before a short break for the Chinese New Year.

Cong Xi Fa Cai
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

Parents came to watch youth players

youth playersLast Sunday, our youth team was able to play an 11-aside match against DEQ on the grass field in Waigaoqiao. It was also nice to see parents from both teams coming out there to support our youth players. Special mention to M. Jobst who was supporting DEQ this time 😉 We had 13 youth players and it was good to see Alexander back in the squad after a long injury; Kevin to help out as goalie; David and Yang Yang making their debut in the team.

We started well and were playing fast with a lot of pressing and after 10 minutes we scored 1-0 by Ryan on a fast break. It looked like we would score a few more goals quickly but we dropped our level after the goal and instead of the one-stop solution we kept the ball too long and slowed down our own game not realizing it. DEQ defended our attacks with more ease. The game became boring with not many chances on both sides.

At the halftime break, we needed to set the record straight, and after checking with our players what they thought about the team performance we told them it was not good enough and asked all players to step up their game and give more. It worked as in the first 15 minutes of the second half we played very well and all players were more involved and our passing game was much faster and better. We got opportunities but just missed a bit of luck in the final finish but the build-ups were great. DEQ did get an equalizer with a low shot in the left corner but we kept looking for the winner afterward. We thought Ryan would score the winner after a great build-up and cross which he handled perfectly with his first touch but his strike went just wide.

Overall a good performance and these kinds of games are all about learning and getting more experience. We will look for another 11 aside match as soon as possible and look forward to seeing everyone at the training on Thursday.

Well done Lions
Freek, Patrick & Nick

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

Voodoo converted senior team to their religion

voodooLast Saturday, our senior team was up against Voodoo. This team is actually ranking No. 2 in the SIFL league. A strong and fit squad which have been playing together for many years. As we are playing with many of our youth players we knew it wouldn’t be an easy match. Once more, our biggest problem was we were still lacking didn’t have a goalkeeper… Our youngster Philipp (once again) offered to play goalie for that game.

We started the game well playing composed as a team and not giving away anything. We also got a few occasions that we managed to get through the Voodoo’s defenders but were missing the final shot or pass. It looked like we could go into halftime with a 0-0 scoreline but disaster struck when out of nothing but just a goal kick we kick the ball against a Voodoo player and it ended in our goal.

At halftime, we tried to stay positive and thought if we can get a goal back it should change the game. It went well for 10 minutes but we gifted them the 0-2 after our goalie didn’t clear the ball at first and lost it afterward… The goalie syndrome which is haunting us this season proved to be too much and we saw all our hard work disappear and the last 30 minutes became frustrating and in the end, we left the field with a 0-4 loss. Next up are the Kickers and hopefully, we will have a goalie to help us out.

[ SIFL ] Voodoo 4-0 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

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