FC Irlande 4ths
Match day 14. We have officially entered the second half of the season. On arrival at our home ground, it immediately became clear that conditions for the match would be tough, with a gale force wind blowing end-to-end. It was clear that this would be a game of two halves (NB: that’s the maximum number of halves you can get, Thomas). So it transpired.
After taking the decision to play with the wind in the first half Ireland put up a strong first-half showing. Despite a number of regular starters’ absence, and an opponent who looked to get the ball on the ground and play, the boys in green – showcasing a new-look 4-4-2 formation for the occasion – showed strong fight and good spirit from the first whistle. Although the first half was not marked by many clear chances on goal, the best ones fell Ireland’s way.
Around the 20-25 minute mark, Manu, who put in another performance of resilience and class to follow on from his man of the match showing in the last home game, wriggled and squirmed away from multiple defenders around the edge of the box, before being felled and winning a dangerous free-kick. He quickly got up, took hold of the ball and lined himself up for a shot. He struck it cleanly and powerfully and directly into the top corner – their keeper had no chance. A great strike. 1-0 to the Ireland.
Several minutes later, Captain Vann-tastic emerged from a challenge inside his own half with the ball, strode into midfield before releasing Nick, who was enjoying the added freedom granted to him in a more orthodox wing role. Nick opened his stride to get onto the ball, which was a perfectly weighted 30 metre pass. He then slowed the play down by standing the defender up, before playing a cut back to Manu on the edge of the box. Manu in turn squared it quickly to Thomas, who hooked in a sumptuous cross for Costi, who tapped the ball beyond the goalkeeper. Sadly, Costi had moved too soon, and the beautiful Ireland move was denied by the offside flag.
Right on half time, the second goal should have been Ireland’s. The opposition once again tried to play out from the back, as was their style. The left centre-back shaped to pass the ball to the right-back on the half-way. Nick anticipated the pass and pushed up to press the right-back on receipt of the ball. The right-back panicked and attempted a hurried pass up the line, which Nick duly intercepted, and raced through to the edge of the box. Seeing the goalkeeper off his line and pressure arriving to his right, he attempted a lifted finish over the goalkeeper, but he didn’t get enough height on the effort, and the ball ended safely in the ‘keeper’s grasp. Chance spurned.
The second half began ominously for Ireland, as the wind really kicked in. A silly foul out wide on the left offered the opportunity to the opponent to whip a ball into the box. However, the free-kick taker, with the assistance of the wind, had other ideas. What looked like an attempted in-swinger gone wrong looped up ominously close to the far post. Jack, deputising for Matteo who had earlier turned out for the thirds, jumped and reached desperately to try and keep the ball out, but alas, the wind took it perfectly over him and under the bar. 1-1.
Things quickly went from bad to worse for Ireland, as the speed demon on the opponent’s left-wing got in behind Arne after a missed interception. He strode to the by-line before cutting back a low cross to the edge of the 6-yard box, where a queue of opponents had formed to turn it into the net. 1-2 Neptune.
Not to be perturbed by the sudden turnaround in fortunes, Ireland went for the throat from the restart, and immediately the tempo of the game changed. Camped in their half for much of the second half after their second goal, we just couldn’t seem to find the final ball to create a clear chance. Then, Costi, receiving the ball on the edge of the box after some nice interplay involving him, Nick and Thomas, drew the foul. Perfectly placed for the left-footer, Nick stepped up to take what would be a free-kick for the archives. After the referee marched the wall back the correct distance and blew his whistle, Nick let fly a low, driven effort with Roberto Carlos levels of spin. The poor goalkeeper, completely bamboozled by the shape on the ball, flailed desperately, but could not stop the ball whistling past/under his body and into the net. Nick’s first goal for Ireland – ending an unlucky drought, and putting to bed ridiculous rumours that Martin could be quicker off the mark for the season. 2-2.
Ireland were then on top, and looked for all money the favourites for the victory, until another unlucky moment saw the defence come unstuck. The previously mentioned speed demon on the left was released away down the wing, and ghosted past David. Jack charged out of his goal, but the winger anticipated this move and finished with aplomb over Jack’s head from a tight angle. 2-3.
Ireland nearly found a way back in later on as Nick, who would later be named man of the match, collected the ball and darted in-field, before releasing David with a well-weighted pass into the right channel. David skipped past his man beautifully before cutting the ball back to where Nick had followed in, but he couldn’t get any purchase on the first time finish with his weaker right foot.
A final chance to take the point that the performance merited came as Ireland pressed late and won a corner. Nick swept in a delectable in-swinger which more or less landed on Roman’s head screaming ‘head me in, baby’. However, Last week’s man of the match suddenly remembered he was due to meet his girlfriend at Funky Monkey directly after the match, and decided he would rather score on her than on the pitch, so ducked out of the header in order to avoid getting his hair all messed up. Who let him go up for the corner??
Final score: Ireland 2-3 Neptunes. A result that didn’t reflect the level of performance. There is still plenty left in this season, and we are still well placed. We go again next week. C’mon Ireland.
Goals: Manu, Nick (finally!)
Yellow Cards: Benoit
Subs: Lorenzo for ?, Simone for ?
We arrived at the barely playable pitch full of confidence after our impressive win against the league leaders. Despite most of the team feeling ready for the match, David wasn’t quite ready for the game due to his ‘mild ‘hangover and near vomiting moment in Thomas’s car after a few shots of vodka from the night before. The weather for this match was very grim indeed, as it was bitterly cold, and the rain poured down throughout the entire match which made the pitch look like a mud bath for our game of football.
We started slightly shaky with a very near goal scoring opportunity for the opposition following a long ball from kick off. It was obvious from the start that our opposition played football like big gorillas, barely able to string passes together, continuous fouling our team and constantly complaining. In the first 15 minutes of the game we looked mildly threatening with a very near goal from both Nick and Manu, who both unfortunately failed to hit the target and went wide of the posts.
Around 20 minutes into the match Beethoven were awarded a free kick from 30 yards out. They took the free-kick which swerved slightly as it approached Mateo who struggled to save the ball and it spilled into the back of the net. Then 5 minutes later a ball was crossed into the box to an unmarked man who hit the ball with quite an impressive volley into the net.
Our heads dropped when the second goal went in and from then on, we seriously struggled to attack and threaten their defence due to the horribly bobbly pitch and the very questionable refereeing. The referee really had a passion and a love for blowing that whistle of his! Numerous freekicks were given to the opposition who were constantly complaining to the referee which slowed the pace of the game down a lot. Throughout the game we found it difficult to gain any momentum due to the filthy tackles going in on us which was combined with a lack of team spirit and motivation to go for the win.
60 minutes into the game we all believed that this could be the turning point when David was substituted off for the so-called player/manager/goal machine Yann, due to his crippling hangover. Yann ran his heart out on that pitch, he may have even taken a shot I can’t quite remember.
Important note: before leaving the pitch, David made us seen one of the best move of the season (with the one Yann made us live just 5 mins after. But we will come back to that in some lines).
So, David’s moment: the team is losing and try to play fast to come back in the game. Let’s hurry, we have an offensive interesting throw in and the opponent is not back in position. That’s our moment! David runs out of the pitch to take back the ball (that the intellectually challenged staff of Beethoven didn’t want to give back), put his foot ok the athletic tracks and…BOUM slipped, tried to stayed on his feet and…ridiculously fell on the floor. It was half funny, half cute and half ridiculous. David, thanks for this moment. I think at that moment we all started to understand that this afternoon wasn’t going anywhere.
And we all became sure of that when we saw that Yann’s first move when coming in the pitch was…yes, imitating David with a nice and sexy ridiculous slide on the pitch. To impress the opponent i guess. Or make us regret David.
For those having missed the game, hereafter are the illutration of David and Yann’s slides:
Despite quite a few questionable death threats to the referee from the opposition we all crossed our fingers in the hope that just maybe a miracle could happen, that the other team might pull off a ‘Jose’ which would result in a disqualification of the opposition. Unfortunately, the ref didn’t give a fuck about the death threats and continued referring in a terrible manner.
The final score finished 2-0 to Beethoven. It was a frustrating and painful first official defeat for Irlande against a team who played shitty football, however we will overcome this and march on (COYBIG). Roman was awarded man of the match for his fierce performance where he gave his all which resulted in literal blood, sweat and tears.
Aftermath following the match:
In the car home from the game, Thomas the French man who must have just passed his driving test, drove back towards Funky Monkey like a wild man! The way he changed lanes in his car was an attempt to provoke David’s fragile stomach. Nick, who was in the car, even evoked imagery of tequila (he is focused on everything related to Mexico these days…) and other alcoholic drinks to make David remember just how much he loves to drink hard liquor. This resulted in David vomiting into a plastic bag, then everyone else in the car struggled to breath due to the nasty smell. David kindly allowed himself to leave the car into the ferocious rain.
Saturday afternoon with a little bit of rain every now and then it was
our turn to play against the top the league: FC Brain Storming. Who ever
expected that a team with such a rather weird name would also be
unprofessional on the bitch couldn’t be any more wrong. They showed up
in big numbers but so did we.
The striker of Brain Storming kicked the ball for the first time and it
was on: FC Irlande vs Brain Storming, Guinness vs French Fries, Third
against First and one of the deciding matches aoutb who is going to
have a good chance onto the promotion . In the beginning, the ball was
mostly in the midfield where Brain Storming had slightly more
possession. However, it wasn’t their possession giving them the first
opportunity. It was a long ball played on the right side to one of
their fast wingers. He was able to pass by our defense line and
appeared in front of our keeper Matteo. But facing a one on one against
Matteo he lost his nerves and only brought a poor shot onto our goal
which was an easy catch for the keeper. After a couple of half chances
for them it was Manu’s time to shine for the first time in this match.
He picked up the ball in the midfield rushed forward entering the
opponents box. Here a Brain Storm defender made a questionable sliding
tackle, clearly touching the ball with his hand inside the box in the
process. The overall good referee had no other choice but to give a
penalty to our side. Manu wouldn’t be Manu if he hadn’t taken the ball
to the penalty spot and scored the first goal of the day. After this
the game was again dominated by fights in the midfield until the referee
called for the break.
After the break, FC Irlande was the better team on the pitch. Driven by
a tremendous Manu controlling the midfield together with Nick and
Benoit, who one plenty of very important headers, and backed up by a
stable and secure defense around Roman and Ben we managed to gain more
and more possession and momentum. It was again Manu who could capitalize
of this momentum in what was for sure one of his if not the best
performance of the season. Again he picked up the ball in the midfield
rushing forward beating three defenders with ease he appeared in front
the Brain Storming keeper. In contrast to the Brain Storming striker in
the first half Manu proved to have nerves of steel. He placed the ball
with a not even so strong but very well placed shot next to the right
post inside the Brain Storming goal. Hence, FC Irlande was two zero up,
but the win wasn’t secured yet as there was still 25 minutes on the
clock. Now FC Brain Storming through everything to the front. After a
Brain Storming corner, there was confusion in the Irlande box and a
striker managed to fire a shot onto the target. Matteo was able to block
it, but the ball drooped again inside the box in front of a striker. He
fired a strong shot from very close distance onto target. However, our
keeper was again on his post saving our two goals lead with another
incredible save. This guy must have had one hell of a warm up before
the game. Nevertheless, 10 minutes before the end Brain Storming managed
to score after another corner. However, it shouldn’t be enough. With
the help of the subs Arne and Atiilio FC Irlande managed to secure three
important points in a strong team performance with two outstanding
players, naming Manu and Matteo.
Apart from the important win and the ongoing great spirit in the team, I
think that this game showed how nice we can work as a team. Even if
important players are missing we are able to step up and fill the ranks
beating the top of the league! Congrats to all!!!
Goals: Manu (p), Manu
Yellow Cards: Nick
Match lost by forfeit.
Cold and rainy Saturday at the Nossegem arena, too cold and too rainy for the referee for sure.
After the longest warm up ever, and with the decisive support of Pierre Antoine ready to whistle in the middle of the mud, the boys in green started their assault to the Fossis.
What a great occasion to find the winning attitude that seemed to be faded away after 6 shining stars in a row when the season opened.
In order to regain confidence, mister Yann from Shanghai designed the traditional 4-line in defence with the precious presence of Danny playing à la Santi, a compact midfield and the trio maravilla hispanico hablante as a goal-guarantee.
From a keeper perspective, the first half was the proof of Irlande’ superiority and the festival of the missed opportunities. Incredibly enough, Fossis came out of their confusion by creating serious troubles to our normally very organised defence. The bar, and a bit of luck safeguarded the 0-0 until the half time.
After a psychologically dense exchange near the bench, Jose offered us a one-two that was a mixture of technique and power. First he obtained a penalty after a sprint on the right side, and transformed it brilliantly; then few minutes after he exploded a great left foot shoot and secured the 2-0.
The match was however not over, to our great disappointment.
After a couple of chances neutralised, the Fossis re-entered into the game thanks to a confused action on our left flank, concluded with a ‘goal di rapina’, i.e. a naughty shoot from zero meter distance, in other words a goal like Pippo Inzaghi.
To confirm our not exciting moment, few minutes before the end, we conceded the way to equalise: on a long goal keeper ball, we were caught unprepared, showing a collective lack of focus.
Our final attacks had the only result to increase our frustration. The result however did not change.
Thanks to the even less brilliant results of Braine Storming and Gast, all in all, our ranking remains great, and even improved. But the important match is of course still ahead of us.
Tenemos que ganar, that’s for sure. However football offers always another occasion, and we will seize it together.
Goals: Jose x2
Subs: John for Costi
MOTM: Manu and Paul
A 45 minutes’ drive, followed by an even longer walk from the parking lot to the dressing room, led to several delays in the pre-match preparations. Replacing the tactical mastermind Martin “Tomato” Stobbs, who refused to face his geordie friends, coach Yann changed two positions in the starting line-up. After leading the Thirds to victory last week, Roman returned into the FCI 4 starting eleven. Yannick took the spot in right midfield.
Upon seeing the pitch, which was the smallest and the worst pitch we had to play on so far, we knew that our strengths such as the Irish Tiki-Taka and our pace would not be very effective today. The first five minutes of the match already showed which direction this game would take. British United tried to focus on counter attacks while playing physically strong in defence. A harsh foul against Ibo, who played his last match for FCI 4, should have been awarded with a yellow card. Instead of booking the Brit, the referee decided to show the yellow card to Ibo due to complaining. The first out of many small mistakes of the referee that day.
After a hectic beginning, the Boys in Green were able to re-take the control over the game. First shots by Manu and Mihai did not reach its target. 25 minutes into the game, Juan was able to break through the defensive line, facing only the goalie. Unfortunately this time his trademark chip missed the goal by some centimetres. Just the before halftime, a deflected pass reached the British striker who was suddenly in front of Matteo. Luckily his shot hit the post, so both teams went with a goalless draw into the second half.
The following 35 minutes did not see any improvement in the performance of FCI 4. Still struggling with the pitch we did not create clear chances and could not convert any of the 47 corners. Suddenly, about half way through in the second half, we were given the huge chance to take the lead after a foul on Manu inside the box. Unfortunately Juan missed the penalty as well as another chance shortly after. Slowly losing our patience, we allowed a couple of British counter attacks which were either stopped by the defenders or by great saves from Matteo. Coach Yann tried his best by replacing a defender with an additional striker, but it was one of those matches where we could have continued for another hour without scoring a goal. In the end, we showed our worst performance of the season so far, which will hopefully be a warning for us that we have to stay focused against every opponent in the league.
The match against British United was the first setback of the season. No one expected that we would win all matches, but this draw feels like a defeat. Now it is up to us to show a good reaction against stronger opponents in the following weeks.
P.S. Heads up Juan. You won us many games this season already and you will do so again in the next weeks.
P.P.S. Good luck in Berlin Ibo! Hopefully we’ll see you soon again.
Goals: Juan x3
Assists: Manu x2, Ibo
Yellow Cards: Costi, Arne
Match was forfeited by the opposition .
**spoiler alert** No spurious analogies will be made to World Cup performances here. THIS IS IRELAND. (Note from Yann : which didn’t make it to Russia….while France made it to the end…and won.)
The stage was set. After the perfect start for the boys in green had catapulted us to the top of the division with zero goals conceded, match day 4 took us out to Uccle, for a game against our ‘arch-nemesis’. The weather could hardly have been finer for a game of football, with the 3G Synthetic pitch (NOT astro) doused in an autumnal afternoon sun. Despite perfect playing conditions, pre-match preparations were less than ideal, with a general tardiness and a delay in finding a changing room leaving us with just half an hour to warm up. Pre-match conversation was dominated by the toughness of our adversary, who had crocked two of our personnel in last year’s encounter, and comfortably beaten us home and away. The thinness of the squad due to unavailability of a number of key players, including our first-choice right-back, T. Steiner, and our main man Juan, meant that we lined up with just Martin in reserve. An energy-sapping encounter awaited.
FCI IV kicked off, kicking into the sun for the first half. The pattern of play was quickly set, with FCI IV taking control of the midfield, winning duels in the middle third and taking the press to the opposition high up the park. To their credit, Uccle tried to play the ball around, with a couple of handy-looking ball-players in the middle, but Benoit the destroyer took care to break up the play, while Roman, making his full debut alongside seasoned veteran Santi at centre-back, eased his way into the contest after a couple of weeks on the sidelines with a serious bout of man-flu.
Notably, Uccle were playing a high line, which quickly became a point of vulnerability, as Jose used his pace to get in behind. From early in the match, Ireland threatened, with some neat combination play around the left-side of the box seeing Jose get a beautiful curling shot off. Their aged ‘keeper got across well to tip it around the post for the first corner of the game. Nick swung in an absolute peach of a delivery (note fom Yann: oh sweet mother of God…), which grazed the tips of Costi’s freshly cut barnet – a warning shot across the bows of the Uccle defence of what was about to come. A few minutes later, Ireland made their way down the right side, with David and Yacine combining well to find Jose, who laid it left to the approaching Nick. Sensing his opportunity to open his account he took a touch before unleashing a shot at goal. Unfortunately, he didn’t connect as he would have liked, and it proved to be little trouble for the goalkeeper who got down to it and parried it away from danger.
Nonetheless, the attacks kept coming. 10 minutes in and Ireland could smell blood (not Gerardo’s or Santi’s this time). A weak goal-kick saw Benoit gobble up another aerial duel, the ball falling to Manu about 30 metres from goal. In space, he advanced forward, before striking at goal from about 25 metres. A speculative effort, straight down the ‘keeper’s throat – except it somehow ended up in the back of the net! 1-0 Greens!! The goalkeeper attempted to beat away the effort with two fists, but got it horribly wrong, and only managed to divert it in. What a gift for the Greens. We’ll call that the Loris Karius Special.
Buoyed by the lucky strike, Ireland could sense that this game was ours for the taking. 15 minutes after taking the lead, Ireland were in again down the right-hand side – a high ball over to Costi saw him in a foot-race with their central defender – which finished with their defender bouncing off Costi and hitting the deck on the edge of the box. Costi was in on goal, one-on-one with Karius’ grandpa – and he made no mistake, burying it with a cool finish shot across the goalkeeper. 2-0 to the Ireland. A goal containing all of Costi’s greatest attributes – pace, power and dead-eyed ruthlessness.
With a more comfortable lead established, Ireland invited a little more pressure. This culminated in perhaps Uccle’s most dangerous moment of the first half, from a free kick on the edge of the box. The free kick was poorly struck, rebounding off the wall, but it fell perfectly to an on-running striker on the left-side of the six-yard box, Matteo’s goal at his mercy – only for the referee to call offside. Off the hook!
A nasty collision between Manu and his own teammate Benoit ended with Manu requiring treatment, which handily broke up the play as Uccle were getting on top. Once play resumed, a slick move down the left involving Mihai, Nick and Costi led to a throw-in high up the pitch. Nick showed fantastic presence of mind to take the throw-in quickly, catching the defence off-guard and finding Manu’s feet inside the box. Manu lifted his head up and squared the ball expertly to Costi, who made no mistake from 6 yards out. 3-0 Greens, surely game over now.
Ireland saw out the rest of the half with very little trouble, with the only scare being an attempted clearing tackle by Santi, which turned out to be a nice dummy after he completely missed the ball. Another break away saw Jose in behind the high line and he wriggled and danced past the tortured defenders before getting a shot off – just wide.
Half time whistle – 3-0 at the break.
The second half began with Ireland again on the front foot. A corner from the left was swung over by Nick, with the defence heading it back out. He volleyed a high cross back in, which Benoit did well to keep alive, heading the ball back across goal and into the danger zone. Costi was in the middle to head the ball into the net and claim the match ball – but put it narrowly wide. A small blot on the report card of an otherwise dominating performance from him, which saw him deservedly claim man of the match.
Later in the half, Jose’s dancing feet won Ireland a free kick around the edge of the box, from a ragged Uccle defence, which was starting to buckle under the pressure of his talent, and fouled him more and more consistently as the half went on. Yas swung over the resulting free kick, and Benoit found himself with a free header in the box to grab the goal that would have capped off a dominating aerial display from him. He just got his bearings a little off, however, and the ball floated wide of the post. Hard luck!
Despite pot-shots and high pressing resulting in numerous half-chances for the Greens, we were unable to add to the scoreline in the second half, which devolved into an unsavoury affair after an incident involving Manu and Karius’ grandpa’s slightly younger, stockier brother who was playing centre-back. Said centre-back lost his temper with Manu after numerous comings-together, and raised his two hands to push Manu in the face. Despite this undeniable red-card offence, the referee only produced a yellow, and to cap off the injustice, gave Manu a yellow for good measure. Tough on Manu, whose theatrical fall a few seconds after impact was worthy of the entry fee to the stadium by itself.
The general level of aggression of the opponent increased after this incident, which saw Jose the victim of numerous swipes at his shins, before losing his own patience and seeing yellow for a vengeful tackle. The referee began to blow the whistle with much greater regularity thereafter – notably any time Uccle called a foul.
The match petered out in the final 10 minutes, with two potential good opportunities to spring a counter down the left squandered by Pawley, who was clearly feeling the weight of his goalless streak on his shoulders. A nice individual run from Yas led to a shot just over the bar, but at the final whistle we were more than happy with the 3-0 victory, three points in the bag, and a fourth straight clean sheet. This later led Martin to muse about keeping clean sheets all season long – though it remains unclear if he was referring to FCI IV or his personal prolonged dry spell.
Goals: Costi x2, Manu
Assists: Manu x2
Yellow Cards: Manu, Jose
Matteo – Mihai/Roman/Santi/David – Nick/Benoit/Yacine – Manu – Jose/Costi
After 2 minutes, we got a good opportunity and brought danger in their box. Our midfield gained the ball, Jose made his defender crazy and delivered a very dangerous cross in the penalty box where Manu almost touched the ball and push it upfront. 1 minute after same thing with a shot from Jose who made their defense panicking. We were in the game!!
Goals: Yacine, Jose
Some changes in personnel were required for this game, with Jack , Ben, Yacine and Manu coming in to the starting lineup and Thomas playing in defense for the first time. We also welcomed back our Head Coach Yann, back from the Far East at last. Thanks also to Cesar who had agreed to help us by refereeing the match, and then for being a substitute instead.
The team started the game brilliantly, pressing the opposition at the right moments. This resulted in winning a throw in high up the pitch. Their defender flicked the throw in backwards which Juan pounced on straight away and he sprinted through and scored after only 3mins.
Following this perfect start, the opposition tried to battle it out with us and the game was a little more even for the next 20mins, during which Mihai picked up a yellow card. However, after a good through-ball from Mihai, Jose was able run through and score his first goal for the team on 25mins. Just before half time, after again winning the ball high up the pitch and a smart pass from Yacine, Juan was able to collect the ball and chip it over the on-rushing goalkeeper to make it 3-0 going into half time. A perfect first half and Juan was close to getting a burger from Thomas!
The second half commenced, with no changes in line-up for FCI4 , although the opposition changed two ineffectual players. FCI4 continued to create chances with J&J causing havoc for the opposition defenders but the Neptune goalkeeper was proving equal to all of Juan’s efforts to complete his hat-trick.
After approximately 10-15mins of the second half, Yann began to make some changes to the team with Martin replacing Ben, Costi replacing Jose and Cesar replacing Yacine. All three continued the fighting spirit of the departing players and Costi soon found himself in the right place at the right time as he powered in a shot from inside the box to make it 4-0 after 65mins. Just 3 minutes after his first goal, Costi was again in the right place at the right time. Nick and Mihai played a short corner between them and Nick had a shot from the edge of the box which came back off the post to a waiting Costi to score his second and make it 5-0 to the boys in green!
The final whistle came and everyone enjoyed another great result. Again many positives, good performances throughout the team and another clean sheet! Well done to all and now to think towards the next game against Patrons.
Goals: Juan x2, Jose x 1, Costi x 2
Assists: Mihai x1, Yacine x1
Yellow Cards: Mihai
Line Up: Jack – Mihai/Benjamin/Santi/Thomas – Nick/Benoit/Yacine – Manu – Juan/Jose
Subs: Martin for Ben, Costi for Jose, Cesar for Yacine
Start of the season. New air can be breathed in FCI4. Renewed illusions and high expectations for what is coming. And with that, a record of available players knocking at the door of the Season Debut.
This only showed one thing. Preseason is over, and we are all thrilled to start playing for points.
The contender was a relegated team, always a tough challenge. Music in the dressing room. A couple of new faces eager to do wear the oh-so-beautiful green armor for the first time. Our handsome and adorable Coach for the occasion, Martin, announces we are playing a new formation. 4-3-1-2, with Ibo as AM and in charge of connecting the team with our two superfowards, Juan and Jose. The J&J is born.
The match starts and the first 10 minutes looked really tough and mostly played on our side of the pitch. The opponent was physical and intense, and they were winning most of the aerial duels. They had a couple of corners and free kicks that could have been dangerous, but finally well defended. But that was all they had… ten minutes. And the magic began. Benoit, Nick and Thomas got hold of the midfield. Ibo came deeper to start connecting the lines and started receiving fouls. The team got some air and started getting comfy with the game. I can say that for a team with new players, new formation and players in new positions, 10 minutes is really a good time for pieces to blend in.
And so it came. Counter attack. Long pass from the middle of the field from Jose to Juan… Juan sprints for 30 meters and wins the race to the slow defender. Controls the ball on the right part of the box. Keeper comes out… Swiiiish… Juan lobs it over the keeper and… goal. ¡Golazo papá!
The goal advantage lead to a couple of similar situations, where their defense was stubborn enough to leave 40meters on their backs, playing in line and against forwards that were faster than them. So the second goal came in the same way, Jose dribbles with space until the end of the pitch, looks backwards, and finds Juan who simply puts it in. 2-0-
It would be unfair to finish the first time without a prime mention to our Man of The Season 2017-2018. Matteo had an incredible double save in the last minute of the first half that could have changed everything. It is also fair to mention that it was the only clear chance in the whole first half for them. Good defending by the whole team.
Half time came by, but the second half started with the same trend. Boys in Green fighting strong and hard all over the pitch, outnumbering the opposition.
Manu, Yacine, Costi and Roman came in, all of them with an outstanding performance. Sometimes it is hard to jump into a match that is played with so much intensity. But all of them continued fighting and even brought new impact to the game. Such was the case that the third goal came from a pass from Manu from the right, and Costi (costi? Yes, in all of our eyes it was Costi) pushes softly the ball into the net. 3-0. Game Over.
Things were going on perfectly… until Manu got injured and had to leave the game in a demonstration of the fighting spirit the whole team was having. Even when winning 3-0 Manu sprinted to fight for a ball and crashed into a jumping opponent who brought him down to the ground. Good fight Manu and hope we can have you back with us as soon as possible!.
We were out of changes, but even with 10 men we were better than them the last 10 minutes. And so Yacine dribbles, stops in the midfield, turns around, spots Mihai, passes the ball. Mihai raises his head and plays a long ball to Juan on the left. And Juan did what Juan does. Chicky Little Bastard. Poor keeper probably had nightmares. Goal. 4-0.
Final Whistle. There were lots of positives things in the game. The concentration, the communication, the team-spirit, the blending of new players, the intensity of the gameplay. It was really important for the team to start the league with a match like this. But it is only one game. A long path is still ahead. Congratulations to everyone for the exhibition of All-Around Team Effort, and let’s focus on the next one now.
Goals: Juan x3, Costi
Assists: Jose x2, Manu, Mihai
MOTM : Juan
Lineup : Matteo – Mihai/Arne/Santiago/David – Nick/Benoit/Thomas – José/Juan
Subs: Manu for Ibo, Yacine for Nick, Costi for Jose, Roman for Arne
All fixtures and results
FC Irlande 4ths
- Coach / Captain : Yann Gueganic
- Co-coaches : Thomas Steiner / Santi Vanni / Martin Stobbs / Mihai Caciuc
- Field captains : Santiago Vanni / Thomas Steiner
Top goals scorers
- Juan 9
- Costi 5
- Manu 4
- Jose 4
- Nick 1
- Yacine 1
Top goals assists
- Manu 7
- Mihai 3
- José 2
- Yacine 1
- Nick 1