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

First team beat J-Academy in friendly

J-AcademyLast Saturday, it was cold with a strong wind coming from the North. Our first team had a friendly against U19 J-Academy which was good preparation for our upcoming match against Voodoo next weekend. Our goalkeeper woes seem never-ending this season with Juliano still injured and Marcel still in Germany. Therefore, we had Philipp to “goalie” volunteer for this game.

J-Academy started strong and were much more aggressive in the first 10 minutes. On the 1st corner, they took the 0-1 lead with the ball slipping into our goalie’s hand. After 15 minutes, Patrick got in to help organize the defense… It proved to work and our team got better organized and slowly play better and better. Finally, it was Dan who equalized for us just before half time.

With a strong wind in our back in the second half, we were confident to win the game. J-Academy found it harder to come out while on the other end, it was easier for us to put pressure on them. As a result, Tomas put us in the lead. While we let Yuxuan make his debut as a right-back, Masa-san went up as our striker. Good coaching as it is him who scored the 3-1. Despite several other scoring opportunities, it stayed like that. It was a good second half after a poor start of the match.

[ SIFL ] Shanghai Lions FC 3-1 J-Academy

A good start and well-done Lions!

Cheers
Freek

Lions exit Hebiguchi Cup

HebiguchiLast Saturday, our first team was up against Shanghai Azzurri for the first-round of the Hebiguchi Cup. While it’s was super-cold, we also struggled to get enough players for this match. On the goalkeeper side, we had both Juliano and Marcel forfeit for the game. Luckily, Ousmane was willing to be our goalie but obviously, we missed him a lot as our number 6 in front of the defense.

Despite our line-up being very young, we started well closing down the Azzurri team. Upfront, our forwards Moussa and Daniel worked hard trying to keep the ball in our possession. For 30 minutes the game was even and we hoped could go into halftime with a 0-0 score-line. Unfortunately, we gave away a free-kick on the edge of the box which Azzurri converted on a second ball. Five minutes later, we shot in our own foot again by giving them a penalty which they scored. For a while, we lost the match and heads were down. Against a top-team, you get punished for every mistake you make… This is the lesson.

After half time, we were looking for a goal to bring us back into the game. We thought we got it when Moussa got brought down at the edge Azzurri box… It clearly looked like a penalty but the referee only gave a free-kick which we didn’t convert. With only 13 players against 18 very fit Azzurri players, the final part of the match became hard for the Lions. In the end, we lost 3-0 exiting us from this year’s Hebiguchi Cup. Despite the defeat, we were overall happy with the team’s fighting spirit and positive attitude.

[ SIFL H CUP ] Azzurri FC 3-0 Shanghai Lions FC

Next up we will play against Juventus and expect more players to be available. Let’s work hard at the training on Tuesday and go for a win next Saturday.

Cheers
Freek

Time to say “Goodbye 2020”

goodbye 2020It’s time to say “goodbye 2020”. This year will go into the history books as the year of the covid-19 pandemic. Before January 2020, all was fine and we were doing good in all the leagues (especially the SPL U18-U16). However, disaster struck during the Chinese New Year leading China in a high state of alert. All the schools got closed and any kind of sports activities became forbidden… meaning no more training and no more matches. In the end, only the legends have been able to finish the 2020/2021 veteran league. For the record, Japan FC took the title with a blasting finish.

As for the new season 2020/2021:

  • For the senior team, we did make a change over the summer as we decided to rejoin the SIFL league. The concept is simple… combine our experienced seniors with youth players who are the closest becoming “men”. The icing on the cake, playing on Saturday in SIFL will no longer conflict with Sunday league for the legends. On the management side, we are pleased Fehd recently joining the team. Football-wise, we have experienced mixed results in the league. This is completely normal as it takes time to find the right formation and balance.
  • For the youth academy (13 to 18 yo), we organized several friendly against other youth teams. As usual, Patrick and Nick are leading the training every Thursday. Last but not least we started a Lions U9 team which is probably the most positive news of the year. They are trained by our own older youth players Jason & YU Xuan (now both playing in the first team).U9 league matches are on Sunday mornings at Qi Yi. It is a joy to watch them play and they are doing very well.

Honestly, it is good to see that the Lions are having a great future going forward in the years to come. Now, we are working towards the next step which is to create a Lions U13 team. If we can achieve this, we will have a complete football club from the youngest (6 yo) to the oldest (over 60 yo)… All of them playing under the Shanghai Lions FC banner!

As every year, we lost players who had to leave China for family or work reasons. Because of covid-19, we also lost players who left China for the CNY holiday but couldn’t come back still… Incredible and it’s really time to say “goodbye 2020”! Luckily, we found new players willing to join us. Looking at the talent of our youth players, our future is looking good.

We’d like to wish everybody a Merry Christmas. Happy, Healthy, and Safe 2021. Last but not the least, “goodbye 2020”!!!

Freek
Shanghai Lions President on behalf of the Lions’ management team

Lions end year 2020 with a win

It was our last match of the year 2020. A difficult year for everyone due to Covid 19. We wanted the win badly, especially because we wanted to enjoy our yearly Christmas party scheduled later that same night. For this game, our seniors were against Pure FC although the weather was not ideal with a pollution level over 250 PMI 🙁

In the first half, we tried to get control of the match but were too slow and lost many battles against the solid Japanese defenders of Pures. The strategy was to focus on corners and free-kicks in order to score. Although we got plenty of them, we failed to convert any of them. We did take the lead but saw our goal overruled by the linesman who had seen the ball cross the last line and gave a goal kick instead. We were lucky when suddenly Patrick found himself in an awkward position when he was the last man and super fast Japanese striker went on the run to our goalie. Patrick fell over him and was lucky not to be sent-off.

It was 0-0 after 45mn. The talk during half-time was not so nice pointing out the lack of will to win and to score. There was no way we could go to the Christmas dinner without the win and in the second half, we played much better. Especially Hao Nan on the wings was a constant threat and he had a great strike hitting the crossbar. Finally, our reward came when Tiger was set up thru the middle and he kept his calm to make it 1-0 for us. Our confidence got better and we started to play well. However, when we were about to score the second one we lost the ball upfront and the Japanese made a trademark counter. We didn’t react fast enough and they equalized with a great strike from outside the box hitting the left post in.

It was now or never for us and a superb strike from George gave us back the lead. Now, we knew we would not give it away anymore. Instead, Samba scored our third goal and Philipp almost made it four. The final whistle marked the end of the year 2020 with a 3-1 victory for the Lions.

[ SIFL ] Shanghai Lions FC 3-1 Pures

The bus ride back to the Shanghai Town and Country Club was a pleasure with plenty of beers and good music. It was the start of a great evening out. We will have a short break now and we will be back on January 5th for our training. Our first match will be on January 9th, 2021.

Cheers
Happy Freek

First team lose against Azzurri

AzzurriLast Saturday, our first team had a late kick-off against last year’s SIFL champion Azzurri. No need for extra motivation for this kind of big game and started the match well. Our objective was not to give away anything and try to find space on the wings. We opted to start with more experienced players and let our youngster come in at a later stage in the match.

On a side note, the referee was annoying and disturbed the match blowing his whistle every 5 seconds… It’s hard to play football in this kind of condition. He had one bizarre call for an unintentional back pass from Pat to our goalkeeper Marcel within the box… Luckily their free-kick shot went wide. On our side, we got a free-kick on the edge of the box but Pat’s effort was saved by Azzurri’s keeper.

It was a slip up in concentration and communication that changed the game. On a cross from the side, 2 players were looking at each other asking who would clear the ball. Azzuri punished that second of hesitation and took a 1-0 lead. We brought Jason to get some speed forward but he was very unlucky twisting his shoulder after only 5mn… Game over for him. We didn’t have many upfront options left with Kyle and Jason both were injured. We tried to get into halftime 1-0 down but with 2mn to go, we gifted them another early Xmas gift… Instead of clearing the ball away quickly enough, Azzurri’s striker got a favorable counter block into our central defender’s feet… One on one versus Marcel and 2-0 lead for Azzurri.

In the second half we didn’t give up and kept trying but hardly came into the box of the Azzurri. We lost FL with an injury and put Dan up in the last 15 minutes but nothing changed for us. The Azzurri scored in the last 5 minutes a goal that smelled offside. Unfortunately, we didn’t protest enough to make the lineman raise his flag… This is called experience!

[ SIFL ] Shanghai Lions FC 0-3 Azzurri FC

The difference between us and the Azzurri was the experience. Azzurri team has a squad of fully experienced players whereas we are working with youngsters. It’s all about learning and training hard to improve yourself and to improve the play as a team. Next time we will do better Lions! This coming Saturday, we will play the Pures. This is another Japanese team and only a win will do for us.

Cheers
Freek

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