Lions advance in Hebiguchi Cup after eliminating D.I.B. FC

[ SIFL Hebiguchi Cup ] Shanghai Lions 2-1 D.I.B. FC

Last Saturday we played D.I.B. FC for the fourth time this season and it was an important game for several reasons:

  1. First of all a win would give us two wins, a draw and one loss against them and a loss would obviously make us look weaker than them
  2. Of course, keep on Hebiguchi Cup race was the other important factor.

With only two players on the field at 10:22 (kick off at 11:00) it was not the ideal preparation you like to see as a coach. Phone calls were coming in about bad traffic. But with the car population increasing every single month there should be no surprise about bad traffic! Within 10 minutes before kick off we got our 13 players and god bless D.I.B. FC started the game slow so that it was better for us getting into the game. Games against DIB are always very tight and both opponents were just waiting for each others mistakes. Charles had a perfect opportunity to give us the lead but his lob went just wide and on the other side we gave away a free kick right  in the middle of the the edge of our penalty box… Not a good spot as DIB’s Chaoyuan Yin curled the ball in our left corner… 0-1! We did respond with a fast counter attack and scored the equalizer threw Matthieu. In the second half we tried to get the winner but a combination of hot weather with several players coming back from injury made us sink deeper and deeper in the defense. DIB looked fitter but there is a thing called fighting spirit. If you don’t play well you can still fight and that’s just what we did. The reward came in the 87th minute when Benji on the left found Azz, free on the far right, who quickly passed it to Matthieu in the box who turned and slotted the ball in the top corner! Its not the first time this season that we scored in the very last minutes and that’s a good sign.

This coming Saturday we will play Metro in the league and the fact that DIB just transferred two players to them will give us extra motivation! Great win and we now need to focus on the league and get back into fitness for our last 6 games !

Cheers Freek

Mixed ressults for the Lions this weekend

On Saturday we faced the DIB for the third time this year for the quarter final of the SIFL Cup. Whenever we play them we know it will be a very close game and we need to be 100 pct focused to get a result. It was good to see Max our goal keeper back in Shanghai and early in the game he made sure we kept a clean sheet. We got some good opportunities on the breaks and Charles came closest when his volley hit the woodwork. Nil-nil at half time and in the second half we took more possession and started to play better football. The reward came 15 minutes before the end by an excellent goal started on the left by Azzeddine who found Benji and he decided to take three DIB players on at once and crossed the ball in and out of nowhere came Francois our right back to slot home the 1-0. Straight after we got a great opportunity to make it 2-0 by a header of Azzeddine. The way the game developed we knew it will not be easy for DIB to score but as it goes in football things can change. An unfortunate drop of the ball by Max our goalie landed straight in the feet of Didier who score from close range, 1-1. Moments later a deflected cross fell again straight in the feet of the DIB striker and the game was upside down. This time there was no turn around in the game. Losing is part of the game and it will make us stronger.  It was good to see all Lions staying back for a beer and some fun with our New Dutch player who gave a live performance at WGQ!

Next up are the Azzurri and obvious that is  a massive league game for us !

 

On Sunday we faced the Bulls who for the occasion had a few Azzurri players on loan. The Bulls won their last 8 games and we knew it wouldn’t be a walk over. After two minutes they scored ! Call it a wake up call ! After that we started to play some good football and were very dangerous on the counter attacks. Twice Matthieu scored with a header and we could haves score a few more goals. In the second half stand in goalie Francois saved us twice as the Bulls got a clear scoring opportunity!

After Big John showed us in the first half how not to take a free kick and Yosh followed on this it was out of all people Simon who scored from a free kick. Soon after it was Dave’s turn and he smashed the ball in the top corner! 4-1 a good result and a good lions performance! Next up are the Galacticos and of course we need to continue our unbeaten run.

 

In the pooring rain we had a special training session by Azzeddine for our young Lions and a turn out of 13 boys was good given that some couldn’t make due to tournament commitments. The boys had fun and learned a lot. This is a good example of the strength of the Lions as all the training we organize are done by the best people we have in our own club. Great way to end the weekend !

 

We expect everybody to come to the training on Wednesday and we all look forward to the weekend already !

 

Cheers Freek

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Lions start the SIFL season with an important win

[ SIFL ] D.I.B. FC 0-1 Shanghai Lions

October weather is always pleasant in Shanghai and perfect for playing football. Our first game of the new SIFL season was straight away one of the most important as we were facing DIB last year’s runners up! It was a 15:00 PM kick off which is not easy to stay focused before the game. However we got 17 motivated lions ready to start the season and everybody was on time. We were quite surprised that the DIB came pretty late and seemed to be more busy carrying boxes to the field than preparing for the game! Our strategy was to play smart and try to keep the game at a slower pace. We didn’t want to ignite the fire and although the first half must have been boring for the spectators it was all about a real tactical battle where each side hoped that one of their opponents would make a mistake. We got a few close calls but managed a 0-0 at half time. The second half was different because some of the DIB players were not as fit as all the Lions. Suddenly our season preparation paid-off, boot camps and friendly games combined with hard training session, gave us the edge. We found more holes in their midfield and started to play more counter attacking football. The reward game from a free kick. The spot was perfect but when I looked at the Chinese Wall I got scared all their players in the Wall were 1.90 tall. I like to bet against the odds and this time I asked our bench who wanted to bet with me as I claimed Azz would hit the wall……….nobody took the bet and Azz blasted it in the top corner when he saw the DIB keeper was out of position! We got several opportunities to score two/three more goals but we were not sharp enough yet.

Our biggest asset on the day was our defense. We defended over 20 corners without threat and in the dying minutes of the game we got a few calls against us but we stayed focused. DIB got a free kick even closer to the goal than ours of Azz but they wasted it in the last minute of the game. I was really happy with our discipline and team spirit during the game. The bench whoever was on it were on their toes screaming to support the lads on the field. At one point I had to ask Charles not to scream that loud as I was afraid of earthquakes……! 1-0  it stayed and it was so important for us to start the season with a win!

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1st training of 2013-2014 season

 

[ Veteran ] Shanghai Irish (IRE) 3-4 Shanghai Lions

[ Veteran ] Shanghai Irish (IRE) - Shanghai Lions (2)The next day the veterans were looking for a win to keep their first position in the League. Veteran play four small halves and after the second half it was 1-1 versus the Irish who stood out for  their swearing words thrown on the pitch either to the referee, or us, or their own players. Our third quarter we played like real Lions and destroyed them 4-1! At the end we gave them two goals so that the spectators and assistant coaches were happy to come and support all the way in Waigaoqiao. Great result 4-3 win!

 

 

[ Veteran ] Shanghai Irish (IRE) - Shanghai Lions

Great weekend for the Lions! Key for all the Lions is the training and we urge that everybody attend the training this Wednesday / Please let us know on our website that you come so that we can plan the training sessions accordingly. Our training sessions are the best in Shanghai!

 

Lets keep our spirit high! Go Lions Go!

Cheers Happy Freek

Lions reached the SIFL Cup Final by beating the Shooters

[ SIFL Cup ] Shooters 4-5 Shanghai Lions (01 Jun 2013)

DSC_4442On Saturday morning we were not sure whether we would ever make it to Tianma as the bus driver was missing some gears in his box! In the end we arrived 30 minutes before kick off at the field. Motivation was high and we knew that for the Shooters this was one of the last chances to win something this season so we expected a good battle.

Within 5 minutes the Shooters took the lead by a great cross of Jonny straight on the head of Zippy who saw the ball ending in the net. Quite funny one of the Shooter players concluded that we lost it and were nervous… well not really. A great combination on the right put Thomas in a good position and he finished cool! Happy to see him score on Saturdays! Just before half time Azz was fed up with the referee as he was not blowing his whistle and he went on a rampage, tricking 4 shooters and lobbing the Keeper, the ball ended on the cross bar and bounced back in the goal by Chris Banners face.

In the second half we were looking for the third goal as well it was time to put our subs on. Matthieu and Romain gave us a comfortable lead 4-1 and we got more chances, especially Benj was denied by the post and cross bar. With a 4-1 score line it was safe to put Mister Warady on to replace Jack. Soon the referee awarded a penalty for a perfect Shooters dive in the box and by another break on the left the Shooters made it a real cup game 4-3. With 5 minutes to go we stayed calm and composed and got our penalty rewarded and god bless Simon didn’t take it and Azz made it 5-3.  In the last minute the Shooters managed to score one more goal but that was it!

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Lions are in the final and saw the Dutch beating DIB in the other 1/2 final. So everybody should come and support the Lions on June the 15th as we want to win the double this season!!

 

Keep training and stay focused until the very end of this very special season!

 

Cheers
Freek

Lions are getting closer and closer

[ SIFL ] Shanghai Lions 2-2 D.I.B. FC - March 23, 2013

[ SIFL ] Shanghai Lions 2-2 D.I.B. FC – March 23, 2013

[ SIFL ] Shanghai Lions 2-2 D.I.B. FC (23 Mar 2013)

We had our biggest game of the season last Saturday. DIB our closest contender needed a win to stay in the title race. We did our preparation well as to what best tactics to use having watched them play a couple of times but looking at the team of DIB who were warming up this time it looked like they had put out the strongest team they could find in Shanghai for the occasion. Our strategy was to always stay calm and composed as we were 8 points ahead of DIB second in the league, so the pressure was on them not on the Lions!

Didier Njewel's fly above Felipe's leg into the box

Didier Njewel’s fly above Felipe’s leg

However 5 minutes into the game Felipe, not aware his opponent striker, Didier Njewel (1), was an ex-pro who played for Shanghai East Asia FC in the 2011-2012 season, did fly over his leg in the box. Question was whether he touched him or not… Felipe and the referee were clear he was flying over his leg and there was no penalty given, but it was our wake up call!

Five minutes later we were on the counter attack and Jerome shot ended up in the feet of Romain who tried to shoot himself and miss-hit the ball completely and surprisingly  the defender of DIB gave the ball back to Romain and asked him to shoot again, sure this time 1-0 for the Lions! Perfect start however a DIB corner landed on the head of their striker at the near post and they equalized.

In the second half we played better and controlled most of the game. It seemed our fitness level was better and we were a bit surprised that DIB was not fighting for the win. It was time to bring Jonny O’Shea, who needed to vomit after the warming up, on to do the damage. 15 minutes before the end he dribbled past two DIB defenders and managed a perfect left foot cross on Man Of the Match Dani, who headed the ball into the top corner! We were on cloud nine and with the clock ticking away we thought we got this until an injury time free kick of DIB was not defended properly and was straight shot in! Final score 2-2.

Lions scored heads down DIB

Lions scored heads down DIB

Its always good to learn from mistakes as that’s the only way to get better ! Dimitri our goalie had an outstanding game and overall I was very pleased with our team performance as we all felt that we were the better team. Big plus was our composure as except for a small black out of Fabie (think he thought it was earth hour) we took all the knocks and hits and kept on playing football all the time.

These are the games we will remember of this season and now it’s looking good for the Lions 4 games to go and we are 8 points clear on both DIB and the Shooters as I have mentioned many times before this season goal difference is key and we are +23 goals ahead of DIB and + 33 goals ahead of the Shooters. Although we know that two more wins will give us our first SIFL title all of the Lions want to win all the last 4 games to make it a whole season unbeaten run!!!

 

[ SIFL ] Shanghai Lions - D.I.B. FC - Celebration(1)

After the game we all went to Bloc for our brunch and I was pleased by the food choice of Dani who helped my choose. Plans for the next poker game were laid out by Charles and Chris and the Lions remained humble in spirit not celebrating anything as their next game will be the most important of the season against the Dutch next Saturday. Nothing but a win will do!

[ SIFL ] Shanghai Lions - D.I.B. FC - Celebration

[ SPL ] FC Flamenkos 0-5 Shanghai Lions (24 Mar 2013)

On Sunday, it was also a memorable Lions day. We won 5-0 but not without controversy. I received phone call from the Flamenkos Captain late on Saturday saying he didn’t have a team and needed to forfeit the game. As we didn’t play last week and we are in the last stage of the competition and had a very good chance to win the league I thought it would be very bad not to play. A quick phone call to Simon did the job we intended to play 8 a side among ourselves to stay focused and fit and wouldn’t announce it to anybody as otherwise our players would party too much ! 45 minutes before kick off I got a call from Garret shouting where are the Flamenkos ….!! Told him the Flamenkos were gone! Angry faces but we did have a very good session for ourselves with 18 lions showing up! Only four games to go and if we win all of them we will be SPL Champions. We cannot let go this opportunity Lions! Next up is Japan and too bad for them it will be our revenge for the 2-2 draw earlier this season! And believe it our not we will play at Jinqiao!

 

Big weekend ahead for all Lions ! Train good and stay focused !

 

Cheers,
Freek

Lions strengthen their position on top of SIFL & SPL

Lions,

We had a very interesting weekend with good results for both teams !

[ SIFL ] Shanghai Lions 3-2 Shanghai Japan FC (09 Mar 2013)

On Saturday as we all know it was the hottest day in March since 1921 ! We had Japan on our menu and the plan was to start strong and make sure not to do anything stupid… Well Dim our goalie fell asleep in the subway and ended up taking the same stretch three times.

Chris in goal and for 7 minutes we really played well. After that disaster struck as we failed to clear a ball in the box and the Japanese got a toe to it and leaving Chris helpless 1-0. Never mind its good to come from behind once in while or?? Then Japan got their one and only corner of the game and even Jonny is taller than the Japanese so no problem for us right ? Well not really, they scored from the corner, unbelievable… Its started to look like a horror move. The only positive point about this bad spell was that we stayed calm and didn’t start to blame each other. Temperatures were rising and so did my blood pressure. Its not possible to drop points at this time of the competition versus Japan. God bless Romain put one back just before the half time.

Second half we played our game and Azz scored a nice free kick however after 15 corners and a few free kicks it was still 2-2. 20 minutes, 10 minutes, 5 minutes to go…..2-2. Than out of nowhere Romain shot an easy ball towards the Japanese Goalie who seemed to pick it up but completely missed it and the ball rolled in ! 3-2 three points and 15 games won !

Without luck you can never be Champion ! At night most of the players were present to celebrate our Captains 30’s birthday. Spirit was very good and I didn’t mind to have a bad game before our “most important game of the season” in two weeks versus DIB !

[ SPL ] Pistolera Bulls 0-5 Shanghai Lions (10 mar 2013)

Sunday it was freezing cold and the wind was extremely strong. Right in front of our eyes we saw our main contender the Cowboys losing versus Super 48 who are on the bottom of the SPL. Chinese were so frustrated that they walked off the pitch with 5 minutes to go ! Our motivation was boiling to take this opportunity and I saw a Lions team with Championship ambition  on the field.

We played very solid football and were 2-0 up versus the Bulls at half time.

With the wind in our back we scored some great goals in the second half and with a 5-0 win we had our fifth clean sheet in row !

We could have scored more but Michael our made in “Kansas” striker was each time 10 meter off side. His explanation was that his running speed was too fast but most of us believe it was the opposite. We do remember Michael’s wrestling skills with the Bulls striker as he was lifted above the Bulls head as if he was a paper doll from Kansas. When we heard that the Marlins drew versus the French it was time to order more beer as we realized that things are looking good for the Lions with 5 games to go. For once we liked the French people !

 

Great weekend with both Lions teams on top of their leagues and both teams have 5 games to go ! Lets focus and train hard as each and every game left we need to win  !

 

Cheers
Happy Freek

A studious weekend for the Lions

Lions,

[ Friendly ] Lions 7-0 Gremio (26 Jan 2013)

On Saturday we played a friendly as we wanted to stay focus for the title race! The opponent the Hawks/Gremio from the SPL were chosen in order to be well prepared to play versus DIB next month. We were goalie-less as Dim pulled out last moment but we discovered hidden goalie talent, especially Gwen and Allan were impressive to say the least. It was great to see Chris S back on the pitch after his long lasting injury. We were definitely not goal-less we won 7-0 and even the President himself netted a goal (penalty) !

[ SPL ] Century Park FC 0-3 Shanghai Lions (27 Jan 2013)

On Sunday it was a serious game versus Shanghai 2000. We knew we had to play better than last week in order to stay in the title race. However Simon together with co-coach Gwen tried to sabotage the team by not announcing the line-up on the website. God bless everybody was motivated including Jeff’s beautiful twin girls as they were dancing around on the field during the warm up.

We started very well and played good football. The reward came within 5 minutes by a good header from Adam, soon after Joel found the net and after that Terao-san blasted home the third !

Second half Amine was very unlucky to dislocate his shoulder but his shoulder is back in place after a visit to the hospital. We should have scored at least four more goals but failed to hit on target so we won 3-0 instead of 7-0.

Something for the next training to work on is to finish in front of an open goal ! One more high-light was Michael’s performance as at the half time break he looked pale as a ghost blaming it on his food in take the day before but our suspicion was that it was an dangerous alcohol mix combined with potato chips. Ten minutes before the end of the game our man form Kansas went down screaming with pain as he got cramp in both legs ! It was also good to see Matze back with his Starbucks in his hand this time as supporter!

 

Both days I was very pleased with the team spirit of the Lions. It’s a real joy to work with all of you and I hope this spirit will lead us to many trophies !

We have a good week ahead of us this Thursday the Sports Awards at the Camel Bar. We expect all the Lions to come for a beer and support the Shanghai Sports Community! Saturday we will play the Beavers and hope that DIB will slip up a second time versus Re-United and on Sunday we will play the French ERS and we don’t need motivation for this game as everybody like to kill the French Fries!

 

Enjoy Life Enjoy being a Lion!

 

Cheers
Freek

Lions beat ReUnited

[ SIFL ] Shanghai Lions 2-1 ReUnited FC (19 Jan 2013)

Lions,

Finally we had a tough game! Our strategy was to score first so that we would have more space and play on the counter attack. Re-united seemed to have bought several new African players overnight and we had to find a way to deal with their speed and pace.  We even gifted them a goal by not clearing a corner and we were behind 1-0 ! Of course we had opportunities but somehow couldn’t finish it. God bless we had Azzeddine who brilliantly placed a shot over the Reunited keeper. It boosted our spirit and soon we got a penalty rewarded because of a handball! Azzeddine made it 2-1.

The second half we knew a third goal would be needed to secure the three points but the ReUnited defenders kept on shooting missiles to their fast forwards ! The scariest moment was a missile which landed right in between Jack and Fabi who were left shocked seeing that the Reunited striker got the ball with only an open goal in front of him. We didn’t know that Jack coming from Virginia had several kung fu lessons before coming to China and out of the blue he managed to get his big toe to the ball while flying through the polluted air just enough to lift it over the cross bar ! It was all down to our fighting spirit we knew what was at stake and our strength was our team spirit with very motivated substitutes. In the end they lost it got one red card and deserved another one. We have stayed composed throughout the whole game and I think that’s the progress we have made as a team and that’s why we are on a record run of 10 games undefeated.

Shooters now third drew versus the Azzurri 2-2 are 10 points behind us and DIB who are now second are 8 points behind. We cannot wait to play them in March ! We have no game Saturday but will try and organize a friendly game as we need to stay focused and fit!

 

Go Lions Go!

 

Cheers
Coach Freek

Lions continue their unbeaten run in 2013

[SIFL] Krauts FC 2-7 Shanghai Lions (12 Jan 2013)

Lions,

It was really good to see everybody back on the field ! The weather was good and our spirit was high.  We beat the Krauts 8-0 in our last 2012 game, so the expectations were high. However the Germans were building a replica of the German Wall and made it difficult for us to play. On top we gave them a belated Christmas gift in the form of a penalty and went 1-0 down.

Allan equalized right before half time with a left footed screamer in the top corner ! The key for us was to stay calm and composed and that’s just what we did… Gwen, our joker, got special instructions from me to terminate the Germans by himself. After 5 minutes in the second half he (being our left back) scored as if he was our striker and soon saw another goal going in!

That was it game over we could have score over 10 goals but especially Jonny and Dani decided to stay goal-less in 2013! Jonny was complaining about it because he was on the bench but I told him he can go back on when Dani would score!

7-2 it was and we now have scored 52 goals in 9 games and conceded 12! Shooters didn’t play so we are now 8 points ahead of them and DIB.

Big game this weekend versus Re-United and a win will be a must and we guarantee a lot of goals in this game… hopefully only for the Lions!

 

Train hard and stay away from the flu !

 

Cheers
Coach Freek

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