Shanghai Lions Football Club

Legends Deserved More vs. SPL V Champion Japan

This season, 2023/2024, we have managed with a smaller squad as several players left Shanghai in the last two years and couldn’t be replaced. Additionally, a couple of legends have been struggling with long-term injuries. Against Japan, it was no different, as we had barely 14/15 players to play against the SPL V Champion. However, we were fortunate to have Othmane and Romain willing to help us out for this game.

As mentioned, we were up against Japan, who were crowned champion just last week. With our opponents fielding a squad of over 20 players and the summer heat, we knew it was going to be a hard battle for 80 minutes. Before the game, we gave Japan the traditional guard of honour to praise the champions.

With our regular goalkeepers unavailable, Othmane stepped in as goalie. We started well, playing compact to ensure Japan couldn’t find space for deadly counter-attacks. Japan managed a few shots on target, but they were mostly easy to handle, except for one which Othmane saved with class. We had a couple of good counter-attacks ourselves, one resulting in a corner. The ensuing scrimmage was exciting, especially when Fred, in the right place at the right time, gave us a 1-0 lead with a good finish for his 8th goal of the season.

In the second 20 minutes, Japan changed many players and increased the pressure on our defenders. However, we stood strong and gave them a hard time. We created a superb attack with good combination play, and Pierre almost scored the 2-0, but his weaker right foot sent the ball wide. Pierre’s corners were also a constant threat, and Nico came very close to scoring.

In the third quarter, we were getting tired, but our spirit was excellent as we wanted to overcome our frustration from the last game against Japan, where we conceded two goals in the last 5 minutes. We fought as one team to keep our lead, with every player performing well. Othmane turned out to be our super savior, proving his skills with both feet and hands as he saved many shots.

In the last 20 minutes, Japan started playing more long balls. Romain was unlucky to receive a knock from Othmane on his nose and had to leave the field for a while. When he returned, disaster struck as he tried to block a ball with a half-stretched leg, and the referee awarded Japan a penalty for a slide tackle. We were so frustrated, as we had stood up to every single Japanese attack until that moment. It felt like an injustice. Most of our players didn’t feel like playing anymore, and to make matters worse, Japan scored after a scrimmage in our box, making it 1-2.

In the very last minute, Peter pushed forward, and we thought he would score, but his shot was blocked. Peter managed to pass the ball to Mehdi, who tried to score with a low shot, but a Japanese defender on the ground touched the ball with his hands. Our shouts for handball were heard by the referee, as he was very close to the play.

With a penalty in the last second, our legends felt that our President should take the honor. His penalty left no doubt, as the Japanese goalie had no chance to stop it. Final score: 2-2! At least we took a point from the champion, but we all felt we deserved more from this game.

[ SPL V ] Shanghai Lions FC 2-2 Japan FC

The ice-cold beer tasted good after the match, and smiles were back on our faces.


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