FC Irlande continue winning streak in mini-league before the winter break!
For the second time in a month, the first faced Euro Union, a tough opponent that took away the 3 points in the first leg. Alvaro left the boys to Paul for the weekend as he escaped to Spain for a couple of days. The availability and commitment is magnificent the last weeks and thus some hard choices had to be made again. Building on the good performance of last week, Alvaro gave Paul the instructions to send the same guys on to the pitch as last week. The only changes were Nair getting back in midfield and Tancrede defending the goal.
Keen on keeping his 100% record going, Paul still decided to make a master move even before the game started. Cillian was told to start while Sigve took a spot on the bench with a little calf injury. A change that would pay off..
The first 10 minutes of the game were a bit shaky. The boys in green couldn’t keep the ball and Euro Union started making some dangerous moves towards our goal. We almost conceded exactly the same way as in the first game, with a header at the first post. Luckily the ball missed the net. A couple of other dangerous corners and free kicks followed. But in the last 15 minutes of the first half Ireland took over and didn’t let go anymore. With a first chance coming from a great chip from Rachid that was just saved before the line by one of their defenders. Not much later Rachid was brought down once again on the right side. Arjan stood up and curled the ball towards the far corner. And here comes Paul his master move into play as Cillian went up for the header and gave the last push to the ball, 1-0!
At half time David was subbed off with an injury. Billie came on as right back and Luke was moved up to the right wing. FCI started strong in the second half, looking to double the lead. A number of chances followed, but the last touch wasn’t good enough. But then Luke started one of his rushes, delivering the ball to Cillian on the edge of the box. One touch to control followed by a great shot saw the ball flying into the top corner! From that moment on, we bossed the game, but didn’t manage to kill the game completely with a third goal. The game didn’t get much friendlier towards the end as the opponent showed their frustration the pitch, leading to a disgusting incident where one of their players spitted on Bonaldi. A disgusting act that was not seen by the ref, but he did see Bonaldi’s reaction and gave him a straight red card. Bonaldi’s reaction was completely normal after such a disgraceful act.
That final incident left a bit of a negative feeling after a great game. It took the team a bit of time to start celebrating, but as soon as James pulled out all his dance moves in the changing room, even Bonaldi couldn’t resist but to join in! 3 out of 5 in the mini-league before Christmas, second clean sheet in a row and Paul’s undefeated streak is still ongoing. All in all, a pretty good Saturday for FC Irlande first!
Euro Union Vs FC Irlande
This weekend saw FC Irlande Firsts meet Euro Union in a keenly anticipated clash, with both sides looking to keep pace at the top of the table.
The Irish were dealt an early blow as anti-vaxxer James Brett pulled out of the squad due to being unable to produce the necessary Covid Safe Ticket to enter the dressing room.
This clearly affected the boys in green who went 2-0 down early on, the first a header from a corner and the second a tidy finish from close range despite an initial good save from Max.
Great character was shown to quickly get back to 2-2, French winger Rachid inspired the comeback with an excellent goal from distance before providing an assist for Thomas’s bullet header.
The first half was married by constant fouling from Dutch central defensive pair Lennart and Virgil Daan Dijk, with both men lucky to escape any action from the excellent and unbiased referee.
Alvaro introduced Dublin native Kevin Casemiro Flynn early in the second period to add steel to the Irish midfield and he quickly found himself in shooting range outside the box only to scuff a tame effort into the keepers hands.
Lennart was again lucky to escape sanction for a clear handball when he was the last man, but the excellent referee used his sound judgment again to award only a free kick.
The Irish bench was enraged when an intentional blow to the head of coach Alvaro went unpunished, but the veteran Spaniard bravely played on.
There were chances at each end but ultimately it was the home team which got the late winner with a backpost header, after James Shallow’s groin injury midway through the second half left FC Irlande facing an uphill battle.
At the final whistle spirits were low, but our attention turned immediately to ladies volleyball and beer. After that, we got thinking about next week’s big game against the table topping Brits where we will fight to get back to winning ways.
Motm: Thomas & Rachid
Goals: Thomas & Rachid