SIFL Cup Semis
- Big Bamboo Shanghai Shooters AFC 2-5 Azzurri FC
- Shanghai 3United (above) 3-1 Shanghai Japan FC
- Shanghai Cosmos 1-1 Voodoo Child 1-1
- Shanghai Tianfu FC 4-1 Kangbei United FC
SIFL Cup Semis
The Big Bamboo Shanghai Shooters AFC locked horns with Azzurri FC. Two teams high on confidence arrived to face off in the SIFL Cup semi. That confidence took a bit of knock as they both lined up on a pitch that had somehow managed to only to lose more grass and grow more holes over the holiday break.
As the game started the Azzurri took it to the Shooters with balls over the top stretching the back three. A long ball in the box cannoned onto a defender’s arm and the ref didn’t hesitate in pointing to the spot. Nick Velani converted the ensuing penalty taking a 0-1 Azzurri lead.
Azzurri came close to a second soon after as Javier Turull’s header had to be cleared of the line by Simon Moore. The Shooters picked their momentum as the half wore on though and went after the Azzurri, who were tiring, however they couldn’t create any clear openings. Halftime came with score stuck at 0-1.
Shooters felt the momentum was with them as they started the second half with the same intensity as the end of the first. However the Azzurri got their second as another cross hit the arm of another Shooter defender for another penalty.
Javier Turull smashed in the spot kick for 0-2. Shooters now had a really tough battle to back into a game but they kept going though and soon enough got their opening; one of their shots hit an Azzurri defender on the arm. Mike McGirr scored the third penalty of the game for 1-2 and Shooters feeling the come back was on and stepped it up another gear.
Sure enough finally the ball looped out of the Azzurri box to Shooter Steven Fong who hit it on the volley with his left foot straight in the top corner for 2-2. Shooters went wild and the game went to extra time.
The Azzurri were knackered and the Shooters were confident they could finish them off. The first few minutes of extra time it looked like it was going to happen, but the Azzurri defended with everything and found the reserves to get themselves back in the game in.
First Guillermo Santamaria turned his defender and set up Kwame to tap in for 3-2. Soon after Santamaria scored himself picking up the ball and going on a solo run before finishing nicely for 4-2.
The Shooters tried in vain for another come back, but Guillermo Santamaria finished off the game as he scored once again in the last minutes latching on to a long ball over the top. The game finished 5-2 with Santamaria picking up man of the match honors. On June 10, Azzurri will face Shanghai 3United in the final.
The men in blue were in a buoyant mood and took to Cages where winning ways continued as they also picked up a rare Third-Half@Cages victory.
Shanghai 3United climbed the SIFL cup ladder to reach the penultimate stage versus Shanghai Japan FC in their semifinal clash. Japan had come out on top in their past two league games but 3United was ready to end that losing streak as well as to make history and make it to the cup final.
The match started at a fast pace right out of the starting gates. Japan were using their overlapping runs and two touch football to try and find a hole in the 3U defense, while 3U was pressuring hard down the wings looking for a dangerous opening.
The intensity continued to ratchet up during the first half and at about 30mins in finally resulted in the first goal. Leo Kwon received the ball just outside the Japan box, touched past one defender then turned another two entering the box looking for a shot opportunity.
Kwon was then fouled and a penalty was what followed. Nick Law converted the spot kick taking a 1-0 3U lead. Play continued to go from one end of the field to the other with 3United seeing some dangerous chances but when the halftime whistle blew, the score remained 1-0.
In the second half, 3United continued their excellent team display, dominated the midfield and cleared all Japan attacks. At the hour mark, Amine Hammadi got the ball to Nick Law who struck it sweetly from 35 meters out as it sailed in the top corner for 2-0.
Soon afterwards, Hammadi popped a short lob into the Japan box where Josh Chilean was waiting to send it into the corner of the goal to increase 3U’s lead to 3-0.
Despite being down by three goals, Japan did not relent and in the last minute of the game, Yosuke Tokuyama was able to net a header off a cross into the top corner for a consolation goal. The contest ended with a 3-1 score line. Joe Williams picked up man of the match honors.
A well-deserved victory for 3United and with this win they advance to the SIFL Cup final for the first time in club history where they will face Azzurri FC.
Shanghai Cosmos did battle with Voodoo Child with the Championship at stake. So it was no surprise that the entire Cosmos squad were available for this one, including Pac Siddiqi and Shoeless Andy Wiles.
In contrast, Voodoo Child had upped the mind games prior to the game with claims that their squad was depleted. VC showed up with the usual suspects and most noticeably a new keeper called Simon Lear.
Almost immediately after kick off, it became clear that VC were happy to soak up pressure and hit Cosmos on the break. Cosmos carved out chance after chance, with Jordan Campbell hitting the post, Jonny Sellars heading towards the top corner and Jack Greenwell wasting a one on one. Cosmos simply couldn’t find a way past VC’s towering new goalkeeper Simon Lear.
The breakthrough came on 40 minutes when Simon the Giant saved Campbell’s initial shot allowing Adam Stringer to follow up for 1-0. The biggest Cosmos crowd since last season’s cup final, including an animated Cardboard Carl, erupted on the sidelines.
The celebrations were short lived. On the stroke of halftime, VC picked up a free kick just inside the Cosmos half where Jonny White delivered a great ball for Ben Avery to prod home for 1-1 and that’s how the first 45 minutes ended.
Cosmos began to tire the second half and the introduction of a number of subs created further chances for Campbell, Stringer and Greenwell. However, King Lear had other ideas.
With 15 to play the Cosmos launched another attack. Stringer raced down the left and played a low ball into the box. A few players made contact and the ball bounced over the keeper. The Cosmos army erupted for a second time, but the celebrations were muted again when King Lear hand clasped the ball on the goal line and 1-1 it stayed.
Still convinced that totaalvoetbal is the answer, Verdam resurrected the Libero role for the final ten minutes. Of course, this lead to chaotic Cosmos defending, a contentious disallowed goal for VC and keeper Criss Kang making a brilliant save.
VC then had a great opportunity to snatch the game from Cosmos, with some great work down the right by Ben Avery. He knocked the ball across to Doto Pandam who had it at his feet with the goal open but then decided to take a break as he played more than his customary seven minutes.
This didn’t deter Verdam with his lovely gazelle like moves and there was still time for him to win it. On the edge of the box, he lifted the ball over a defender and with the Championship for the taking the effort ended with an air-kick.
One all it finished. Jasper Verdam (above) picked up man of the match honors in his last match for Cosmos as he is moving back to Europe. Good luck in Sweden mate!
Verdam: “Yesh it was my last match, we earned a point and the Championship coz no way Vikings gonna score 27 goals in 2 games. Job done-total football all the way!”
VC have snatched two points from Cosmos this season and are already looking forward to the derby versus Voodoo coming Saturday.
Tactical genius Kam: “We will bring all stars and come with all guns blazing to give Voodoo a whooping they deserve, we are just better.”
Cosmos v Voodoo Child match statistics:
Shanghai Tianfu FC crossed swords with Kangbei United FC. Kangbei enjoyed a strong first half with determined play. Their effort yielded as hit man Jackson Katta was there to score sending Kangbei up 0-1 at halftime.
In the second half, the roles reversed when Tianfu finally found their groove and were all over Kangbei’s tight box. Their dominance led a flurry of goals by Jinqi Sheng, Xiaorong Wu (2) and Xiwei Wang. The match ended 4-1 to Tianfu with Xiaorong Wu picking up man of the match honors.
Shanghai International Football League
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