FC Irlande 4ths
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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
- Field captains : Santiago Vanni / Thomas Steiner
Top goals scorers
- Juan 5
- Costi 5
- Jose 2
- Yacine 1
- Manu 1
Top goals assists
- José 2
- Mihai 2
- Manu 4
- Yacine 1
- Nick 1