Young Lions Won SIFL Opening Tournament
The SIFL Opening Tournament is the first official football event of the season after the summer break. With 16 teams enroled, a decent weather and green grass; we were looking forward to some fun games.
Our team was young with the youngest player been 14 yo. For the experience, we had Paul as goalie, Peter, Masa-san, Patrick and last but not least our legend player Terao-san.
We pointed out the difference between 11-aside and 7-aside matches and told our players the key was not to concede but to score the first goal instead.
For the first round we had three games. The top two teams would go in the next round.
We beat EKU 2-0 and Voodoo 2-0 and drew our last match 0-0 against Shooters 2. It was a great start and we were pleased with the results as we scored some excellent goals and didn’t concede any.
In the second round, we had three games and the top two games would make it to the semi-finals.
We beat Voodoo Child 1-0 and Cosmos 1-0. For the last game against Shooters a draw was enough to clinch the first place; so our 0-0 result was great.
As we made it to the semi-finals it was time to compliment the team as our youngster were playing very well with a positive attitude and good fighting spirit. The senior players kept our formation intact and guided the younsters. We didn’t concede any goal after 6 matches.
In the semi final, we were facing Azzurri. For sure, one of the favorites to win the tournament. With only Peter, Terao and Paul left as seniors; we had a very young team to try make an upset happen. Fatigue was getting a factor for both teams but our spirit and movement was remarkable and we kept Azzuri at 0-0. Penalties would decide who would make it to the final and when asked who liked to take one; immediately we had three youngster willing to take the responsibility. First, Seiwa who placed the ball nice in the low right corner. Next was Shu who stayed calm and placed the ball in the same spot. The second penalty taker of Azzuri decided to shoot the ball into orbit and the ball was never found back. It meant that Tommy our youngest player could shoot for the win. Azzuri players and their keeper tried to break his focus and composure but in vain as Tommy placed the ball perfect in the left corner.
We made it into the final without conceding a goal and were up against the Shooters one more time… This time for 2×10 minutes. Our strategy was to defend first as we knew one or two breaks could give us the win. The Shooters tried to attack from the sides but each time there was a Lions player ready to block and defend. It was a massive team effort and with 5 minutes to go in the second half; it was Peter who took on the two strong Shooters defenders. When he saw the keeper coming out, he was quick enough to pass the ball under him. The last minutes were not easy and all we did was defending and clear the balls.
The final whistle came and for us it was relief followed by joy. With this small and young team, we did it! 8 games without conceding a single goal! What make this effort even more special is the fact that we need to go back all the way back to 2012 to find a Lions’ team winning the the SIFL Opening Tournament.
Big compliment to all the players & coachs staff. Thank you also to the parents who came to watch.
Well done Lions!