Legends failed to score in the decisive game

Last Sunday, our legends were trying to claim victory over Japan FC in the last decisive game of the season. Only a win would give our legends the title! For this special occasion, we managed to book one of the best grass fields of Shanghai (next to the new SIPG stadium in Jinqiao Pudong).

As we had many family and friends coming to support us, we organized a special “Lions Bus” which picked us up at our sponsor Luneurs and brought us to the stadium. We were very pleased with the field as it was like a real carpet. Only issue for some of us was the official seize of the pitch which was really big!

Our strategy for this decisive game was to make sure to score first and to make sure we were not caught out on a typical Japanese counter attack. For this reason, we started with a “4-3-2-1” formation. Bob who played his last game for the Lions after 11 season’s was our sole striker in the first 20 minutes. Both teams started well and especially in the beginning it looked more like a chess game with careful passes and even possession for both teams.

In the second 20 minutes, Pierre replaced Bob and we pushed a bit more forward. We did get a couple of free kicks and shots on target but in the 30th minute of the match disaster struck… Our winger went on a run but in the middle of the field and was intercepted by a Japanese player who saw immediately that our defense was out of position… He immediatly sent the ball to their fast striker who found himself free… When he got close to Paul our goalie, his stroke flew in our goal with the help of the inside post 🙁

It was a bitter blow as now Japan could sit back and relax and we would have to score two goals.

At the half time talk, we agreed to stay calm and not panic and we brought in some fresh legs. We played stronger and almost equalized when Pierre managed to get away from his defender and got eye to eye with the Japanese goalie. Unfortunately, the goalie just managed to block Pierre’s shot at the very last moment.

In the last 20 minutes, we had to speed up our game and made many substitutions. It did help as we looked more dangerous but an unfortunate miss kick landed as a gift in front of the feet of the Japanese forward… He laid the ball off to his team mate who didn’t miss in front of the empty goal.

[ SPL V ] Japan FC 2-0 Shanghai Lions FC

We knew it was game over now and when the final whistle came; all we could do was to congratulate Japan with their SPL V title. A well deserved champions who managed to keep composure without making any mistake in this decisive game.

We felt bad because the goals came by our own mistakes but also because we didn’t manage to score. However, quickly we realized what a beautiful day it was for the Lions Family with so many players willing to give it all for the team and for the family and friends who supported and cheered us throughout the entire match. The Lions supporters definitely won the match and were later also applauded by the Japanese players.

The bus went back to our other sponsor Senso where Severino and his wife prepared a great evening with super Italian food and plenty of drinks. All you could see were happy faces despite the loss and players already started to talk about next season and promised to do better.

We lost the championship but our special “Lions Family Spirit” was the big winner this season 2022/2023.

Cheers to the Lions Family and I like to thank all of you for your support!

Happy Freek

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