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Legends start 2024 with a win after a tough match

First of all we like to wish everyone a healthy & sportive New Year 2024. The first game after the Christmas & New Year break is always a tricky one for us… If we consider especially that we had we had a long break with our last game on November 26th… Our squad was rather small with a couple of injuries. Last year, we struggled against Nail FC so this year we wanted to start with a win.

For this 1st game of the year 2024, our opponent was Japanese team Super 48. They have improved a lot over the years… So we knew it would not be an easy game; considering the number of subs they had (they substituted 7-8 players every 10 minutes).

We opted to start a bit offensive with a 3-5-2 formation as we expected Super 48 to sit back and defend with the whole team. It was obvious that we lacked match fitness as for most our our players; the passing was off. We couldn’t manage to pass two times in a row however we did take the lead when Laurent our No 6; put the ball in the top of the net when the ball dropped in front of him in the box. Super 48 didn’t pose a real threat and we waisted a couple of good opportunities.

In the second 20 minutes, we came to understand that Super 48 was better in holding possession and we were chasing them on multiple occasions. Not a good sign with a small squad as in general Japanese teams are fitter and seems to never run out of steam. Super 48 managed to break out a couple of times on the right wing and it was one of those break out followed by a low cross in our box that lead to their equalizer. Both Alex & Nico had a chance to clear the cross but both missed to ball and Super 48 scored with a good strike that left our goalie Paul with no chance.

In the third 20 minutes, we tried to change our formation back to classic 4-4-2 and hoped for a change of fortune on our side. Laurent came very close with a header but the ball went just wide. Time was ticking away; legs were getting more tired & small injuries popped up.

In the last 20 minutes, we decided to give it all to get the 3 points and actually played our best spell of the entire match. When we got a corner, the president went to Mamdouh our regular corner taker and said “I will take it” followed by a quick “Are you sure?” from Mamdouh. He placed the ball with a perfect strike on the head of the unnoticed FL who blasted the ball in the net with a powerful header.

The goal lifted our spirit and we managed to get our passing game back and even had a couple of opportunities to put the game to bed while Super 48 tried hard to get the equalizer.

[ SPL V ] Shanghai Lions FC 2-1 FC Shanghai Super 48

When the final whistle came, it was a relief for us and smiles appeared on our faces. The President and FL reminded that their combined age was 106 years old but still managed to rescue the team today. The beers David brought for 2024 “Dry January” tasted very good.

For the legends, it is back to training now and to work on our fitness. We will have many big games to play after Chinese New Year.

Well done legends!

Cheers

Freek

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