empty handed

Senior team left empty handed against Azzurri

It was freezing cold and wet last Saturday but we were ready for our big game against Azzurri. It was an important game for us not to come back empty handed as a lose would put us in 2nd tier of the league for mid-season grouping stage.

Our game plan was clear and we were ready for the battle. However, we struggled on the wet and uneven field as our usual passing game didn’t work. Azzurri were faster to put us under pressure and forced us to make errors. The game was just a couple of minutes old when disaster struck with the Azzurri winger outplaying Paul our keeper and his pass was back heeled by another player and the ball was about to fly high into our net when Othmane our captain decided to replace Paul and made a great safe unfortunately with his hands…. no argument for the straight red card he received.

It took us about 10 minutes to get over this shock and meanwhile they scored the penalty and even went 2-0 up. What a disaster but somehow we did compose ourselves started to get better organized and used the half time break to give our players some confidence and support. A boost for us was to have Nils back in central defense.

We told the players it would just take one goal to get back in the game but within 5 minutes in the second half we let their left winger slip through our defense and he finished calm to make it 3-0 that was game over for us OR…??

We changed our formation with only three at the back and were pushing forward. Suddenly, we were playing our best football of the day with quick combinations and we put continuous pressure on the Azzurri players. Matthew was set up free in front of the keeper and we all thought he would score but he opted to shoot with his weaker left foot instead of his stronger right foot. It was a warning for what was to come next.

We got a free kick and Peter was targeting Nils as he was the tallest player in the box with the help of an Azzurri defender the ball landed on his head and there was no hesitation by him to score.

The goal gave us a BIG boost and we were looking for more helped by support from our substitutes and parents of our youth players. Of course, Othmane was shouting loudest to get more goals. We did get our award for our hard work when Peter had a shot that was looking to go wide but Mounaim was at the right place at the right time and put the ball in the net.

Now, everyone was getting excited and Azzurri were mainly defending. It was perfect corner from Hira-san that found Peter free and our miracle come back with 10 men was complete as Peter’s powerful header was unstoppable for the Azzurri keeper. Waauw, from 3-0 down to 3-3!

We thought to get some justice when an Azzurri midfielder who was already on a yellow card body checked Matthew when he was throught towards the goal. He should have been a send off! Peter just missed the subsequent free-kick but in all our excitement of maybe winning the game we gave a corner away in the last minute.

The ball came low to the first post and should have been cleared by our defender but he let the ball go with the expectation of our keeper to pick up the ball but he didn’t expect that so the ball rolled in our net.

That was a disappointment to end empty handed after this superb team effort and team fighting spirit in the second half. A game to remember for us for the good and the bad.

[ SIFL ] Shanghai Lions FC 3-4 Azzurri FC

Unfortunately, our keeper Paul found out that he played most of the game with a fractured collar bone and we wished him a speedy recovery.

We will be ready for our next game! Lets go Lions!



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