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Shanghai Lions Football Club

Legends received the guard of honour from Japan FC

Last Sunday was a memorable day. First of all because the temperature was hitting an all time high showing a 47 “felt” degrees. Last but not least, our legends received a nice gesture from Japan FC with a guard of honour before the match as a gesture of respect to the 2021/2022 SPL Veteran champion.

It was our last game of the season and with a last minute cancelation of 2 key players; we knew that we would struggle in the heat against Japan as they are well known for their speed and fitness. Being smart was the only request from our president to conserve energy, try keeping the ball and avoid chasing them.

It seemed Japan’s strategy was to score quickly in the 1st 20 minutes. They were very dangerous on the wings and tried to surprise our defense with long balls over the wings. Luckily, our goalie Clement was in fine form and he kept his goal clean with some great saves. We lost our flying winger Mamdouh after 10 minutes for a hit on his shin. Frustration started to creep into our team as we couldn’t make simple passes and preferred to give away the ball instead.

Some hard words were needed at the break and in the 2nd 20 minutes we got the possession we wanted. Japan was also less aggressive chasing us. It help to create a few opportunities… A nice cross from Hiro-san found Fred. His head was on target but been saved by the goalie. Skiv tried to surprise the Japanese goalie from afar but again Japanese goalie was alert.

With 0-0 at half time, we thought that we were still in the game but we were foolish. At the beginning of the 3rd 20 minutes one of Japanese player run free on the right side at offside limit, then crossed the ball to a free player on close range. A “classic” goal for Japan! Soon after, they scored again with a great shot from their striker. At this moment, we knew the game was over for us!

In the last quarter, the heat was taking its toll on our players. While we were chasing for a consolation goal, Japan managed to score 2 more goals and to give us our first and only loss of the season 2021/2022.

[ SPL V ] Shanghai Lions FC 0-4 Japan FC

After the match we received the champion trophee and it was time for the tradional pictures. The beers tasted good and looking back at the final standing; we can conclude that we deserved to be champion!

We are already looking forward to next season. Special praise again to Shanghai Japan FC for their guard of honour. Japanese as always are true gentlemen!

Cheers to all the Legend! You made the Lions Family proud again.
Freek

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