Senior team came back twice in the SIFL Cup Plate Final
Last Saturday, it was our last game of the season 2022/2023. We were up against Cosmos FC in the SIFL Cup Plate Final. Weather conditions were good… Not too hot and a good playing field with light rain.
We had a large squad of motivated players and a good mix of experienced and youth players. Also, It was good to see George back from Australia for his summer break.
Our opponent, Cosmos FC seemed also motivated. Their strategy was to have many players behind the ball and look for free kicks or corners to score.
In the beginning, both teams tried to keep possession first without creating too much danger for the goalies. However, when we committed an unnecessary foul on the left side of the field; disaster struck as the free kick Cosmos was waiting for was headed in our goal. Being 1-0 down was making it harder for us as Cosmos could sit back more and wait for a long ball counter attack.
We did came close a couple of times with good combination football and we thought Masa-san would score when he was free in the box but his effort went wide.
At half-time, we made a couple of changes which helped the team. We didn’t give up yet and everyone was fighting for the equalizer. Jason came close with a fine header but just missed a little power. As the clock was ticking we replaced one defender and put Nicolas as extra-forward.
In the 90th minute we got 3 corners in a row. Even our goalie Paul was up in the box to try his luck. On the final corner from Hira-san; 22 players were in the box… The ball dropped on the ground and it looked like the Lions were making a rugby scrum to walk the ball in the net. Somehow Peter found a little gap and quickly put the ball into the net.
Our spirit was lifted and we were ready to give our best in the 2×10 minutes extra time. However our good intentions were short lived when we gave an unnecessary corner to Cosmos. Warned before we didn’t deal well with it and they had a free header to take back the lead.
In the last 10 minutes of extra time, we showed our real character and were looking for the equalizer. A super attack from us which started with Masa-san on the right, found Ryan and set him up on the wing. He out-ran his opponent and crossed straight to the incoming David who didn’t hesitate to finish.
It was the end of a super entertaining SIFL Cup Plate final and the winner was decided by 5 penalties. Unfortunately, we had no luck as we missed two and couldn’t stop one of the Cosmos penalty.
After the game our heads were up as the two great “Come Backs” we made will be remembered and go as a positive in our history books.
Next season, we will be motivated to win the SIFL Cup Final. This season, we had a great second half where we ended as winner of the division 1 and several players were nominated in the Team of the season. Hira-san even was chosen by the other teams as MVP of the division one & Mehdi as coach of the season.
Well done Lions! You made Lions’ family proud!