Youth team enjoyed five-a-side football

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five-a-sideIt was a beautiful day last Saturday clear skies but the temperature was a bit high close to 30 degrees. We came up with the idea to have a small mini five-a-side football at Qi Yi among ourselves! Total we had 4 teams with one team consisting of coaches & parents. Each match was 5 minutes and it was a joy to watch. There were a lot of fun moments and the speed of the matches was very high. Overall it was a great event and we plan to organize another round of five-a-side maybe against the Lions Senior players or Legends!

Cheers
Freek

Legends drew 3-3 against Wellington

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WellingtonAfter the Legends dropped out of the Championship race last week against Emerald we were having a small squad against Wellington as 5 legends were sidelined due to injuries! The weather was super hot and we were also lacking a bit of motivation… The idea was to play simple football with a lot of possession so that the opponent would be tired out chasing for the ball.

[ SPL V ]  Shanghai Lions FC 3 – 3 Wellington Champs

In the first 20 minutes, we played bad as we couldn’t hold two passes in a row as well were caught several times offside. Wellington for the occasion had more local players than their regular players and we lacked speed against the locals. No surprise the way we played that Wellington took the lead.

In the second 20 minutes, we started a bit better and got several corners and a close-range free-kick but Pat saw his effort being stopped by the keeper. After this Pat came off with a back injury and made the injured players list to 6 players!

In the third 20 minutes, we finally started to play and scored a great goal after a good build-up and passes it was an easy tip-in for Tomas. The next goal for Wellington was weird as there was a clear offside and both teams stopped playing… The referee who had the whistle in his mouth finally decided not to blow and the Wellington forward had a free pass to score by himself with nobody defending on him. We responded with two quick goals from Kev and Haroun and took the lead.

In the last 20 minutes, we had a couple of changes but either the delivery or the finish was not good enough. Wellington snatched the equalizer on a break to make the final score 3-3!

 

We hope that some of the injured players can recover soon as we face a very fit and fast Japanese side next Sunday!

 

Cheers
Freek

Legends see title hopes fade away

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fade awayOn both legends and Emerald’s side, all players knew that the loser will see its tittle hope fade away. Therefore, it was good to see many legends arriving early for the 09:00 am kick-off. Unfortunately, that was not easy for Kevin as he had to work until the late hours and could only arrive with one hour’s sleep… Not ideal given the hot and humid weather and the strength of the opponent but it shows his character to still arrive just on time for the match!

[ SPL V ] Shanghai Lions FC 1 – 3 Emerald

Our game plan was 4-4-2 with our mind on defending first so that we could come out without conceding and then look for the counter opportunities. Also, it was highlighted that in this game the team which would score first will have the upper hand in the rest of the match! Defensive wise we started well as we played very compact and didn’t give them space however in the build-up which usually is our strong point we lost the ball after two passes. Emerald had just one shot which was off target in the first 20 minutes and we got some dangerous breaks but with one minute to go disaster struck when we gave the ball away in defense and they quickly moved the ball from right to left and found their free man and they scored the so important 0-1.

Of course, this changed the game as now Emerald could sit back and close down and wait for their long ball counters counting on Fafa’s speed. We kept our composure in the next 20mn and were have more ball possession now and we should have got a penalty when two Emerald defenders were embracing Bob in the box but the referee gave the advantage to Romain who saw his shot go wide. We had another great attack where Romain made a perfect cross on the right and Tomas almost scored with a header!

In the 3rd 20mn, we all agreed to step up the game as we perfectly knew our tittle ambition will fade away if we were to lose this game. We got a couple of free-kicks and came more often in their box Cyril who came in for Sylvain give us some hope as with his skill and energy it lifted our game but…. Unfortunately, we gave the ball away to them to set them up for a fast counter and we were 2-0 down!

The talk for the last 20mn was simply to forget everything that happened before as we needed to score and the whole team was asked to step up and give everything they had left! We were all over them in the first couple of minutes and our effort was rewarded after a foul on Massa-san in the box. Bob stepped up to put us back in the game but show his effort stopped by the Brazilian goalie. Even after this blow we didn’t give up and kept pushing forward and were trying to score. We had changes sure but missed the final touch. They killed us on a long ball when we were all thinking forward and made it 0-3 but even after that we kept playing and finally got our reward a nice goal from Masa-san achieved by pure character of the whole team. Soon after Tomas hit the post with a good strike but in the end, it was not enough. Final score 1-3!

 

We lost as one team and will come back as one team ! Unless a miracle happens, our tittle hope just fade away for this year… Let’s enjoy the last 2 matches of the season. Hopefully, our injured players can recover on time to play these last 2 matches! Last but not the least, the game live replay is available for further analysis.

 

Cheers
Freek

Friendly game for our youth against YKFC

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Friendly gameThis friendly game against YKFC was a little special as it had been several months since we last played 11 aside due to Covid-19!  However, we have been training for a couple of weeks so it was a nice test to see how do we stand compared to December where we were playing our best level this season.

In the first half, we were wondering why we played so slow and without conviction! Nobody said a word in the field and we couldn’t see a smile on the players’ faces. I guess it was a combination of the long break not playing on a full-size pitch combined with the very hot and humid weather… We took a 2-0 lead both goals from Jason back from the USA in our squad. YKFC managed a few times to get through the middle and had a few shots on goal but they were easy catches for Yu Xuan our stand in goalie!

We took our half time talk to get our team back on track and told the players foremost to enjoy the match and smile and have fun. It worked as the second half was a good display of teamwork and good combination! Jason quickly scored a third and Yuv showed us how easy it is to score with one move to set him free and he put the ball in the far corner in the net! YKFC did get a goal back but deserved also a compliment as they only had 11 players which is hard in the weather conditions and the gave us good opposition!

Overall we were happy with this friendly game… especially because we had a good mix of players with young and more experienced and there was good teamwork/spirit on the pitch. Step by step we will get our fitness and our field playback. We will look for more 11 aside match opportunities to play as that’s what we need now!

It was great to see so many parents come out and support the players! We appreciate that a lot! Of course, we’d like to tell our youth teammates abroad who are blocked overseas for now that we miss you guys a lot and hope that you soon can return to play with the Lions again!

 

See you all on Friday at the training!   

 

Cheers
Patrick, Nick, Freek & Azz

Legends stay in the title race

title raceThe weather was good as it was not as hot as last week and the grass pitch was great! In the title race, we were up today against Scotland and the players who have been for more than a couple of years remember how tough they can be as an opponent!

[ SPL V ] Shanghai Lions FC 9 – 2 Shanghai Scottish

We started well with good movement of the ball and we kept possession a lot. It was a great build-up from the right defense finding Mamdouh at the flank who launched Sylvain to make the perfect cross to Hiro-san our new Japanese player who headed the ball in the goal. After the goal, we got plenty of opportunities to score more but we were not sharp enough in front of the goal, and frustration started to slip into the players! At the break, it was made clear by the coach that there was no home for negative talks by anyone considering soccer is a no GO in most parts of the world.

In the second 20mn, we played better and more as a team… Players put their smiles back on their faces and it was a joy to watch the legends play. Bob scored after a gift from Scotland as their defense failed to clear the ball.

In the third 20mn, we took control of the game and Masa-san scored first to make it 3-0 he immediately ran towards the live camera to show to the rest of the world that he just scored! Soon after as the Scottish defense was exposed Kevin took his change and with cool low strike made it 4-0. Classic case 4-0 everybody going forward to try to score but we were not focused in defense and the credit to Scotland never give attitude the got on back. Tomas scored the 5-1 and Scotland got one back after an easy gift to make it 5-2!

In the last 20ms, the gates were open and we were all over the place to score more however as it goes we missed more that we could score but with goals from Bob 2x Nikko 1x & Romain 1x we ended with a solid win and a good feeling as we beat Scotland 9-2!

The beers tasted good and especially when Hiro-san took the center stage and kept the “tradition” alive singing a song from his home country. It was a great performance enjoyed by all the players!

Next up is the BIG title race match against Emerald. Let’s try our best to get a positive result out of this game as Emerald are the favorites going into this match!

 

Well done Legends stay fit and see you all on Wednesday at the training if not see you in the early morning on Sunday!

Cheers
Freek

Legends beat England FC 3-1 in the heat

heatWe knew it was going to be a tough match because of the heat with a temperature of 34 degrees but also because we haven’t’ played a league match for more than 5 months due to the Coronavirus… that’s a very long break!!!

[ SPL V ] Shanghai Lions FC 3 – 1 England FC

With this heat combined to a well-understood low fitness level, our strategy was to stay positive at all times and to try to keep the ball as long as possible so that England would need to chase more and would get exhausted faster… We started well as England decided to sit back with only one striker up-front and it was a great cross from Haroun on the right which found Bob’s head at the second post which gave us the lead.

In the second 20 minutes, we played our best football and scored a great goal starting from the back with a very fast counter and finished by Mamdouh.

In the third 20 mn, our game went downhill of course partly due to tired legs but also we stopped playing the ball around and looked for the impossible ball or the impossible goal!

In the last 20 we agreed to keep the clean sheet and get our possession game back we got plenty of chances to score more goals but it was when Tomas went one on one with the keeper and though he bypassed him the keeper stopped the ball and England quickly went on a break with a long ball over our defense (yes looked offside but….) and they scored 2-1. England didn’t have the power anymore to score another one so we added one more with a fantastic 35m free-kick from Pat!!!

 

Final score 3-1 win and happy to be able to play again after such a loonnngggg time. The ice-cold beers tasted very good after the match! It was nice to see people from all over the world watching our match LIVE Ricky in San Diego and Mamdouh’s girlfriend in Colombia as an example!

 

For us, it is training on Wednesday and another match next Sunday! Well done legends & welcome back!

 

Cheers
Freek

Youth are back to training

back to trainingWe were so happy to see most of our youth players back to training last Friday 🙂 Some parents even came out to support far away in Putuo!

We had a friendly match versus J-Academy and the pitch size was a bit strange as it was 9 vs 9 with 7 aside goals… However, the most important for us was the be able to be back on the field and smell the grass! We had 12 players with Mathew helping out as goalie as Koki is still in Japan and couldn’t come back. Kevin has a blister during the warming up so not a lot of options to change the team. We started well against Juventus and the game was tight for most of the time both sides had chances but missed the target no surprise after such a long time not being able to play! In the second half, we also played well but we could see the impact on our players of being at home and not being able to play for such a long time and Juventus seemed to be more fit and took advantage of that!

We will work on that in the coming weeks and will get the players back in shape and mentally good condition step by step as what is happening around the world, of course, has an impact on each and every one! As the Concordia field is not available and most schools are still closed we booked Qi Yi field for 8 weeks every Friday evening starting this Friday 1830-2030! Later when we see the development of the players we can add a second training day but we like to rebuild step by step! So we hope all our youth players will come to the training on Friday and we will help them to get back their fitness and positive mind!

We will look for friendly matches and if the schools would reopen we can also restart league matches! For the older youth, they can continue to train with the seniors and will be selected for senior matches! For the players who unfortunately could not make it back yet we hope you can all come back in the near future we are all waiting for you! For now, that’s Paris, Koki, Casey, Alvaro, Nikita.

Also, Yuma-san will not return because his parents moved back to Japan… Farewell, my friend! We will miss you very much! You are and will be an incredible player and remember “once a Lion always a Lion”! So good luck in Japan and anytime you are back in Shanghai you can play for the Lions!

See you all on Friday ! 18:30 at Qi Yi!

Cheers
Freek, Nick, Pat & Azz

Lions are back to business

back to businessIt was a beautiful day and we could play on a beautiful natural grass field with a great group of positive motivated youth, senior and legends Lions. We were all happy being back to business playing football as most countries are still in lockdown and stopped all the outdoor activities!

We played a friendly against Japan and we had 22 players signed up including three new players Pim from Holland, Haroun from France and Hiro-san from Japan. As Japan had a lot of players as well we opted for 4 x 30 minutes with Lions’ president taking the role of referee.

In the first 30 minutes, both Japan and the Lions played a bit conservative so the 0-0 scoreline was no surprise. In the second 30 minutes, Japan fielded a bit more older players whereas we had another mixed team with young and old. We managed to play well in the counter and got several opportunities. Philipp and Hiro-san scored to give the Lions a good 2-0 lead. In the next 30 minutes, Japan had his younger team out again and because we had a mixed team it caused us some problems to stop their fast and furious counters. Finally, they surprised our defense with a very quickly taken free-kick after a Jerome handball at the edge of the box. Right after, coach Pat made a change to take Jerome off and put FL in his place but they scored again. With their fast pace and quick movement, Japan managed to outplay us a couple of times and they took a 2-4 lead! After this we stepped up and controlled the game better and in the last 30 minutes our aim was to turn the game around and we tried hard and had multiple opportunities but credit to the Japanese goalkeeper he did a great job we managed to get one goal back but it was not enough even a bicycle kick from Fred Fuseau didn’t help in the end!

Great match and all players left with a happy feeling! So step by step we will get our fitness back but the most important is to support each other on-and-off the pitch. No matter you are young or old, any time we can play football we shall take it with pleasure and feeling blessed to enjoy the occasion!

It was a special day being back to business and hopefully, many more are to come! Big Hug to all the Lions and their families!

Cheers
Freek

Lions back in action after COVID-19 crisis

COVID-19It has been a difficult time as right during the CNY holiday we found ourselves in a situation which none of us expected to happen. When COVID-19 virus broke out China took fast-action closing down all the cities and ordered all the people to stay home. With all the school closed it meant that soccer was no option for us as the fields were closed as well! Life without football was hard and it made you realize how much we missed the weekly training and matches together with your friends from all over the world! Sitting/working at home is not good for your fitness level as you surely move less and tend to eat and drink a bit more. For one week you can laugh about it as we were all in the same boat but after two months it’s no longer a joke and a lot of us found ourselves frustrated at home… However, in the last couple of days, the situation has improved a lot in Shanghai. This is contrary to the situation in the rest of the world as now all sports including soccer are halted across the globe on a scale we have never seen in our lifetimes.

You can imagine how happy we were when the Shanghai Government announced last week that sports facilities could re-open to adults only subject temperature checks and proof of Green QR code. We were quick to take this opportunity and booked a field at Qi Yi sports complex and enjoyed our first match of football last Sunday! With a blue sky and 24 degrees and no pollution, you can imagine we played with smiles on our faces!

Yesterday we had our first training session and although we are all still a bit out of shape we are motivated to get our fitness back!

Couple of more training sessions and we will be ready for our first match post COVID-19 virus!

Happy to be back!

Cheers
Freek

U18 shown great fighting spirit versus Aksil

We knew it was going to be a hard match vs. Aksil as our U18 squad is currently having several players who are only 13-14 years old… This being a challenge, it’s good to play against older players so you can learn and see what you still need to work on and improve as a young player! Our game plan was defensive first to make sure we control the midfield and we left Paris our new striker upfront.

We thought he scored the 1-0 in the first 5 minutes but his great placed effort went just wide. We had a few more chances but also were caught out a few times on corners for us where they got the ball first as most of them were taller than our players and the countered very fast. It was a free-kick for them which gave them a 1-0 lead. Soon, while we were trying to build up from our defense we gave them another goal. As it was still early in the game but we were showing some cracks in our team as we focused on the negatives more and forgot about the good things we could do in the match! So with 10 minutes to go in the first half we found ourselves 3-0 down after we couldn’t defend their shot well… it was superb to see the team stand up instead of giving up and they played their best 10 minutes of the match. Paris nicely set up by our midfield players brought us back to 1-3 and a great build-up from our defense on the right with Matt who found Henry who gave a super pass to Paris to make it 2-3 going into the break for half time!

During the half time talk, we asked more effort from all of our players and asked them to step up! We got a few opportunities to level the game but a superb strike of the Aksil player from outside the box put us behind again. In the next 20 minutes, we lost control of the match and Aksil had several shots on target. Kokki our goalie was alert and saved us wherever he could. On the counters, we tried our luck and after a good combination in the midfield they found Yuma-san in the box who with one quick move according to him was fouled “clear penalty”! Mathew Blisset stood up to take the responsibility as one of the older players and he put us back in the game 3-4! With only a few minutes left we kept showing our Lions spirit and were fighting very every ball and all the team effort got rewarded in the very last minute of the match when on the break Yuma and Paris found Daniel who put the ball with a small touch at for the right end of the goal !!

It was a great match to end 4-4 and all of our players learned a lot today but what stood out was we never give up mentality as it was amazing to come back twice from far behind! It was nice to see so many parents and family come out to watch the match despite the very cold weather and we appreciate that very much !! Well done Lions what a great come back and team effort!

Very Happy!
Pat, Nick, Azz & Freek

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