FCI debuted with the new jersey against FC Walhain on Friday 03, March.
With a decimated squad, FCI faces the team at the league’s top. Injuries, travelling and the Maneskin concert force FCI to have available only 11 players (maybe we should define them heroes) for this cold Friday night match in the Belgian “countryside”.
The game is more balanced than expected, with occasions on both sides. During the first half, one of the first attempts to score arrives from the feet of Liza, who, noticing that the goalie was not perfectly positioned, tries to find the goal from distance. Walhain replies with a free kick, from which it scores, but the opponent’s striker is offside. Then it’s the turn of FCI, which finds a good shot thanks to an excellent combination between Ninja and Liza. Walhain launches a counter-attack, but Marie (who received the referee’s compliment for her incredible performance), stops its attempt. This is followed by Naomi’s attempt to find the goal of the advantage. Walhain keeps pushing forward and, after a series of unfruitful attempts, scores the match’s first goal at the 42’.
The second half of the game starts dramatically. Antonio receives a call from Ninja, which is supposed to be on the pitch. While FCI players look at each other, noticing that Ninja is missing, we rescue her from the dressing room where she was locked. Meanwhile, on the pitch, even though a little bit confused by the situation, the girls in green keep fighting. In the second half, FCI launches a series of counter-attacks, thanks to the fast wingers that open the game. A magnificent counter-attack is built by FCI that, unfortunately, is stopped by an offside position. Walhain wants the second goal, but all their shots are neutralised by the Hecatoncheires Marie, the post and Sophie, who saves a ball on the goal line. Walhain finds the second goal from a penalty at the 84’. An extraordinary match finishes 2-0.
I was supposed to write that those were the best 20 minutes of the season, then the minutes became 30, then it was the best first half, and in the end, it was the best game of the FCI season. The new kit, the cold, the fact of being only eleven? We do not know, but something was different. A well-oiled machine, with excellent positioning and coordination in defence, combination in attack and run on wings, everything was working. We had a strong opponent against us, but we played our match fearless and focused.
The match was unbelievably delightful to watch, and the welcoming hospitality of Walhain made our trip out of Brussels worth it. Always correct on the pitch, they congratulated us for our performance (especially the one of Marie, who has now become a star at FC Walhain). The cherry on the cake was the sandwiches they offered. By far, the best ever eaten at a buvette.
On Sunday, 13 November, FC Irlande Ladies III faced the team leading the ranking, FC Walhain, in a home game.
Despite the numerical distance between the two teams in the ranking, FCI can maintain a solid defence during the first half. FC Walhain creates many dangerous scoring chances, but it is almost impossible to pass Marie, who stops all opponent’s attempts with her tackles and saves. FC Walhain eventually scores at the 18’. Putting Sanda as a left-back reduces the attacking chances of the opponent blocking their fastest player. FCI has its clearest goalscoring opportunity in the last minutes of the first half. Alone in front of the goalkeeper, Liza misses the target with the ball going a few inches too wide.
During the second half, FCI seems to have lost its focus and concedes 6 goals that could have been 7 if Marie does not block a penalty. Still, FCI keeps fighting on the pitch, trying to put pressure on their defence and on the wings. At the final whistle, the result is 7-0 for FC Walhain.
It’s not easy to play against the team at the top of the league, and even the most optimistic among us thought we would probably lose today. However, we must bring home the positive aspects of today’s match, especially the first half. We managed to defence neatly against a team that had scored (before today’s game) 88 goals putting them offside quite a time and conceding only one goal during the first half. At the same time, we were putting pressure on their defence, and it was one of the matches we were fighting the most to conquer the ball in the centre circle of the pitch.
It was the match to win, but everyone gave everything to obtain the best result possible.