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!
Pat, Nick, Azz & Freek