FC Irlande Ladies 3
On Sunday, 24 September, FC Irlande Ladies III faced Maccabi Brussels A, a club relegated from P1 last season.
The two halves of the match against Maccabi feel like two different games. While in previous matches, we tended to improve throughout them, this match was the opposite.
During the first half, FCI succeeds in remaining compact and focused, not leaving too much space for the opponent and responding to Maccabi’s physical challenge. Despite the opponent’s attacking pressure, FCI also creates dangerous scoring opportunities. Especially Bea, thanks to her speed and promptness, creates havoc on Maccabi’s defence and causes problems for their goalie. For the first time this season, FCI finishes the first half without conceding any goal but losing two players due to injuries.
The second half starts with the result of 0-0, but the draw does not last long. At the 48’, a penalty is called in favour of Maccabi. Olatz initially stops the shot, but Maccabi scores from the rebound. Five minutes later, Maccabi finds the second goal from a corner kick. The one-two hits FCI heavily, and remaining focused on the match becomes gradually more difficult. Another injury does not help FCI that starting the game with a full squad remains with only one change on the bench. Maccabi scores the other three goals, concluding the match with the result of 5-0.
The final result is highly disappointing, especially considering how we started the match. Obviously, we must learn from the mistakes of the second half, but we must recognise the effort and quality put in the first one. We also learned that Teresa has TWO ears, and she can use them really well. Thanks to these incredible tools that she has, she became the role model for everyone in the team willing to improve as much as she did compared to last season.
Player of the match: Dilara
A decimated FCI Ladies III faced, on 16 September, White Star Woluwe D, a tough match to play due to the quality of the opponent and the low number of changes available for FCI.
The script of the game is quite identical from the first until the last minute. FCI plays a defensive match, staying compact and focused on facing the White Star’s attack efficaciously. The defensive line, supported by the entire team, repels the attacks and frees the penalty area from dangerous balls. The determined and valorous defence has to surrender to a penalty. Gabi (I am sooo sorry, ladies) blocks a shot with her hand; the referee gives her a yellow card and awards a penalty to White Star, which does not miss the opportunity to score at 41’.
The second half starts with the result of 1-0, and FCI starts with the same team spirit and defensive intensity that characterised the first half. Despite FCI’s effort, White Star finds the second goal with an outstanding long-range shot at 55’. At 78’, Freja decides to do a kamikaze save, touching the ball with her hands outside the penalty box, which costs her a direct red card. With some adjustments in the formation, FCI keeps its compact defence and avoids taking another goal before the final whistle. The match ends 2-0 and with a White Star player sent off for her complaining (supposedly).
Throughout the match, FCI struggled to create offensive actions, find spaces forward, and maintain ball control. It was a match of sacrifice for everyone fighting and giving her best to help the team. Bright note: we did not take any goal from corners despite conceding quite a few.
Player of the match: Eva and Dilara (ex aequo)
FCI Ladies III closed this magical FCI weekend that saw all the three ladies teams remaining undefeated, playing, on 10 September, a crucial match against Saint Michel. It was a hot match, not only for the infernal temperature but also for the meaning behind this game. Last year, the match against Saint Michel represented our first win in the league, and also, this season, it represents a good opportunity to make some points.
FCI starts the match focus and maintains control of the match in the initial part of the first half while Liza is warming up her feet with some shots towards Saint Michel’s goal. But a moment of blackout in the FCI defence allows Saint Michel to score the match’s first goal. This goal hits FCI emotionally, and the team seems to lose focus and compactness. Consequently, Saint Michel starts attacking more and finds the second goal. Saint Michel goes close to the 3-0, but Eva, thanks to her traineeship as a goalkeeper, saves the ball on the line. Saint Michel shows to be able to be dangerous in other occasions but Freja, at her first game with FCI, stops them.
The second half starts with the results of 2-0 for Saint Michel. FCI finds again the spirit willing to overturn the score. After taking a ball on her face and a quick break to recover, Alex draws an outstanding pass to launch Liza, who, in front of the goal, cannot miss the chance to score. Galvanised by the goal, FCI puts more pressure on Saint Michel’s defence. On the left side, Ade provokes a mistake of the opponent’s defenders in the penalty area, where Liza takes the ball, dribbles the goalie and scores the equaliser. Liza, in a state of grace and the brightest star that could adorn our Christmas tree, scores again, completing her hat trick. In the match’s last minutes, FCI concedes a goal from a corner-kick, almost identical to the one of the previous match. The final whistle ends the match with the results of 3-3.
The match was an emotional roller-coaster. We went from losing to winning and at the tying. It’s the first point of the season, and we are happy about it. Still, an aftertaste of disappointment is undeniable, especially how the match developed and the last goal arrived. Today’s constant was Freja between the goalposts, who miraculously saved the team on multiple occasions. Details will determine the result of our matches this season, constant focus and dedication will be the keys to bring the result home.
Player of the match: Liza
Time has arrived to wear our green jersey, shin guards and boots again, ready to fight for this team we all love. It was not FCI season’s debut on 4 September against BX Brussels B, but this was the moment we were all waiting for… the first match in the league.
The first opponent of the season is a challenging one. BX Brussels B was playing in P1 last season, and it is supposed to be one of the best teams in the league. But, as proved throughout the previous season, FCI consistently delivers outstanding performances against strong opponents.
The beginning of the match is blocked. The teams cannot hurt each other and find their way to the match’s opening goal. The teams are well-organised and do not leave space for the strikers to sting. But, after the cooling break, BX Brussels finds two goals in quick successions on the 25’ and 28’. FCI has some chances to score the goal that will open the match again. In particular, thanks to Liza’s free-kicks, that allows FCI to put some dangerous balls inside the opponent’s penalty area, one of them almost finalised by Antonia. During the first half, we also witness a home supporter’s pitch invasion. It would be a regrettable fact if the invader had not been a lovely dog happily scampering on the field.
The second half starts with the result of 2-0 for BX Brussels, but FCI is determined to score a goal to get back into the game. As in the first half, the teams do not concede many scoring opportunities. FCI controls well in defence and goes up, trying to find some good shots. It is Béa to find the first goal of the season for FCI. With an incredible long pass, Alex finds Béa, who, with a long-range lob, gets over the goalie not perfectly positioned. (Béa claims to have scored with her eyes closed, and we like to think it is true). FCI goes close to the equaliser twice: first, with a free-kick from Liza that ends outside of a few inches, then with a shoot from Anna that from outside the penalty box tries to surprise the goalie. BX Brussels also goes close to scoring another goal, but the ball dancing on the line decides not to go inside the net. The match finishes 2-1 for BX Brussels, but FCI leaves the field with a solid performance.
The work in the pre-season training and matches has begun to bear fruit, and the new christmas tree formation makes the team more solid and consistent. Also, being the second season together for most of the players in the team, finding and trusting each other is easier. A bit more concreteness around the penalty area can make this season memorable.
Honourable mention also the unexpected wraps at the end match that set the bar high for future buvettes.
Player of the match: Alicia and Angela (ex aequo)
All fixtures and results
FC Irlande Ladies 3
- Coach : Richard Rak
- Coach : Francesco Naccarato
- Coach : Marie Morelle
- Captain : Marilena Zammit
- Captain : Sophie Lopez
- Captain : Alex Mccaffery
Top goals scorers
- Liza Dmitrieva 3
- Béatrice Ericson 1
Top goals assists
- Alex Mccaffery 2
- Adeline Thys 2