Legends lose vs. French Bulls

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French BullsLast Sunday, our legends were against French Bulls for the 1st match of the league’s 2nd round. In this 2nd round, the top 6 teams will play each other once more while it will be the same for the 5 bottom team. 

We could not show up for that game with our full strength… A few players were missing as well as our coach Bob. Unfortunately, we also got a few late cancelations just before the game. On the other hand, French Bulls were motivated on their side bringing their pro / ex-pro / semi-pro 30+ yo Cameroonian player. Whatever… and you’ll come back for “fading away” veteran spirit…

Let’s be straight to the point, our 1st quarter was a disaster. We were barely a few minutes into the game that we took the 1st goal on a corner. A few minutes later, the “pro” sliced through 3 or 4 of our players in the midfield to score by himself. He again a few minutes later with an assist. 3-o down after 20 minutes.

During the break, the president told us to forget about the 1st quarter. He asked us to wake up and start a new game which we did. As a result, the 2nd 20 minutes were much better. Despite a few opportunities, the scoreboard remained the same. At some point, Pat who has been called earlier in the morning to complete the squad arrived which helped us in a great manner.

In the 3rd 20 minutes, we scored our 1st goal with Tomas. Unfortunately, we did another small mistake in the back and the French Bulls scored again for the 4-1.

In the last 20 minutes, both teams were pushing and it became kind of “Hourra football”. The French Bulls scored again on another mistake from our defense. However, we maintained the spirit and kept attacking. This paid off with 2 consecutive goals from Aki & Nico. 5-3 for the French Bulls as the final score.

[ SPL V ] Shanghai Bulls 5-3 Shanghai Lions FC

Our legends were of course disappointed with the result. If we forget the 1st quarter, there’s still some positive to take from this game… Let’s remember that.

Below is the remaining 4 games fixture to close season 2020/2021

Cheers
FL

Junior team played well vs. Japanese seniors

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JapaneseLast Sunday, our junior team was motivated to play against two Japanese Senior teams. We also appreciated the support of the parents who came to watch despite the cold and rain.

In total, we played 4 games of 25 minutes.

  • We won the 1st 2-0,
  • we tied the 2nd 0-0,
  • lost the 3rd 1-2,
  • and tied the last 0-0.

What we liked was that all the players tried to play good combination football despite facing a (much) more experienced Japanese opponents. When the whole team is in the same playing mode it is really a joy to watch. We saw many players step up and take more responsibility and that’s the way forward for us. Things to improve is to stay focused at the back against a stronger opponent… You cannot afford a mistake so it’s all about taking a fast/right decision when you are under pressure. We explained also that the first cross into the box is better instead of taking another touch and cross afterward. We like our forwards to be open-minded and look for nearby solutions if they are boxed in. Last but not least, we need to practice on our finishing as we could have won all 4 matches if we finished the shots better.

Overall we were happy about today and we will see you all the training on Thursday. We will play Japan U18 next Sunday at 13:00 at Waigaoqiao.

Cheers
Pat, Nick & Freek

First team got hit hard vs. ReUnited

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ReUnitedFor our first match in the 2nd round of the SIFL competition, we were facing some obstacles before the match as we didn’t have a goalie and we got several senior players injured with Masa-san as the latest victim… As ReUnited has the SIFL league top scorer in their squad, we thought it would be a good idea to put Pat in the goal so he could guide our defenders. In the first 15 minutes, it went well with Tyron and Ryan on top with a solid midfield. We had David making his debut as a right-back and he was up against Zack one of the best ReUnited U19 players who was called up to play against us.

Out of nothing ReUnited took the lead as what everybody thought was a cross going over suddenly helped by the wind it hit the post and went in. It was the first signal of more bad luck to come for the Lions. Suddenly we were under more pressure and our defenders failed to clear the ball when it was needed and ReUnited took advantage scoring again. Soon after, on a corner against us, it seemed Pat was there to catch the ball but their top scorer put a very light header and Pat could only take the ball out of the net afterward… We were cracking with a young squad against an experienced opponent. Being down 4-0, we got a super goal with a brilliant through pass from Kevin in the back to Tyron who was launched full speed and he didn’t hesitate one on one with the keeper to score. Our celebrations didn’t last long as we had to go into halftime 5-1 down.

The half-time talk was simply to forget the first half, not giving up and gain experience. In the second half, George was kind enough to be the goalie. With Pat on the field, we started to play much better and showed spirit and character. For most of the second half, the match was even with both teams not creating too many opportunities. We conceded one goal and a very late penalty which was a gift by the referee to make the final score 7-1 for ReUnited.

[ SIFL ] Shanghai ReUnited 7-1 Shanghai Lions FC

After the match, our heads were up and we know that we will do better next time especially when we will have an actual goalie helping us out. We will play Cosmos in two weeks which will be George’s last match before he’s moving to Australia.

Cheers
Freek

Lions see red against Shooters

Last Saturday was our biggest game of the season as we needed to win to get a place in the top 5 playoffs. Of course, we all knew that the Shooters would be a hard nut to crack as ranked No. 2 in the SIFL league. It was a pity that a couple of players arrived late so we couldn’t 100% prepare ourselves before kick-off. Our strategy was to keep it 0-0 in the first half and try to play more offensive in the second half. Due to this 5th early 09:00 kickoff of the season, our goalkeeper Juliano was missing as he had to work training the Shanghai Shenhua youth keepers… Instead, we had FL willing to help out but obviously, that was not a perfect replacement as he’s not a goalkeeper.

We started the game well and it was good to see the youth players stepping up their game against a tough and more physical opponent. We stayed focused and composed in the back and the Shooters were not dangerous with hardly a shot on target. They got a few corners which we managed to defend and clear. We on the other side managed to get a couple of counters but we missed the killer in the box to finish it as well. Out of nothing the game changed and disaster struck… when Ousmane made a tackle far in the Shooters half where there obviously is no need for a tackle but the Shooters thought it was a very dangerous tackle despite their player standing up right away and there was a bust-up with the final result Red card for Ousmane and only yellow for the Shooter player who attacked Ousmane in the bust-up. Obviously, our game plan was finished and Shooters quickly scored 2-0 taking advantage of the situation… We asked the referee how much time left and he told us 1 minute before halftime… Several minutes later the Shooters coach asked how much time left and the referee said again one minute… In that minute they scored the 3-0! Unbelievable as the referee played an additional 7 minutes in the first half. When confronted by our president, his only answer was to give him a yellow card 🙁

At halftime, we told the players to keep the first 30 minutes in their minds as we were equal. But now with 3-0 down and a man less we had to keep our heads cool and show spirit. That’s what we did as everybody worked super hard not to get a heavy defeat and to get a goal back in the game. Our reward came from a free-kick of Pat far out. We told him to shoot because the wind was in our back and whether I like it or not I must admit it was a bullet that blasted into the net leaving the Shooters goalie with no chance.

[ SIFL ] Shanghai Lions FC 1-5 Shanghai Shooters

The game ended up 5-1 for the Shooters and we can only look at ourselves for the result. We will work hard to learn from it and move on to the next game.

Cheers,
Freek & Pat

Last game for our German legend Matze

Last Sunday was a special day because it was Matze ‘s last game after more than 250 games wearing a Lions shirt. We were up against local team Lao Pao, the latest comer in the SPL Veteran league. We got last-minute cancelations and a few players also arrived late… This resulted in the oldest forward line-up in Lion’s history with a cumulated age over 160 years old!

The field was a bit hard to play due to the last few days’ rains. There was also a strong wind blowing against us in the first halves. The Chinese team looked fit and sharp and their number 55 legs were double the width of us. He was definitely their key player getting all the balls and taking all the free kicks. Luckily our players noticed that and one by one we made sure to give him a little notch and prevented him from passing or shooting. We were happy to rest with 0-0 in the first 20 minutes.

In the second 20 minutes, our game got better as we managed to get closer into their box. It was a great run by Aky in the box which was ended by a slide tackle (which is not allowed in the SPL V)… So we got a penalty and it was our playmaker Haroun who kept his calm and scored 1-0 for the legends.

In the third 20 minutes, we made sure to keep our defense intact and our goalie Clement saved us a couple of times by boxing the ball away. On a far free-kick, our president thought he could send it into the top corner with the help of the wind… His effort got deflected by an opponent who passed it nicely to Sylvain. He ended up free in front of the goal and scored his second goal for the legends.

In the last 20 minutes, we composed ourselves after an earlier bust-up which was not necessary. We played out the match keeping the clean sheet and clinching 3rd place in the SPL Veteran.

[ SPL V ] Shanghai Lions FC 2-0 Old Guns

After the final whistle, it was time to say farewell to Matze & Natalia. We did that after a few speeches and managed to lift Matze ‘s 100 kilos up in the air a couple of times. We wish them all the best in their new life. They promised to carry the Lions family’s heart and passion all the way to Berlin.

Cheers
Freek

Senior team beat Japan in important match

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

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

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

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