FC Irlande Ladies 3
On Saturday, 25 March, for the third time in around one month, FCI faces R. Union Saint-Gilloise.
FCI starts with intensity, dominating the match for most of the first half and forcing Union to play in their defensive midfield. Naomi and Liza maintain constant pressure on Union’s defence throughout the first half. This attitude was the weapon to strike Union. The first goalscoring opportunity for FCI comes from Naomi. Naomi steals the ball to the opponent’s defence, but her shot goes out for a few centimetres. The pressure of FCI continues, and once again, Naomi steals the ball from a Union defender, but this time Liza tries to score. Also, on this occasion, the goal for the advantage fades. When the ball is on Naomi’s feet, Union knows that danger is about to come. And, at the 14’, Naomi finds, with a brilliant pass, Antonia, who calmly controls the ball and scores her second goal of the season. FCI understands that the time is right to attack and score the second goal. Due to the FCI offensive pressure, the Union’s defender is forced to pass the ball back to the goalkeeper, who, surprised, does not control the ball that rolls into the net, making 2-0 for FCI at the 36’. Eva’s hunger to arrive at every ball costs her a yellow card. At the end of the first half, Union raises its head and scores in quick succession the two goals that equalise the match.
Union enters the pitch for the second half to win the game. FCI enters the pitch to repeat the superb first half. Despite the Union’s offensive projection, the outstanding defensive quality of FCI fights long and hard to protect the result. But FCI is not only there to defend and does not disdain to create scoring opportunities to win the game. The clearest runs for goal come from Liza and Ninja, but the attempts do not materialise. The second half finishes with no goal, concluding the match with the result of 2-2.
After every game, we say it was the best match of the FCI season. In the end, it is just the improvement process the team is experiencing, learning from every game played, that brought us to gain one legendary point against Union Saint-Gilloise. Before, we were cheering for every shot done; now, we can cheer for the goals scored, which are becoming a constant in every match.
Next weekend, the season will come full circle. The league’s first match was against R. Union Lasne Ohain, and it will finish against it… we hope with a different result.
Before a crucial match that decides the current season and the next one, you prepare and check everything in advance so that you can entirely focus on the game. That was what Mazzi was trying to do, but destiny, in the guise of Ninja, decided that the match against British United was not one of those cases.
How to describe the pre-match against British United? Well, we can say that Ninja does not have a good relationship with things that can be locked, but she will always find a cell phone to save the situation. An uncertain and electrifying pre-match may have given energy to FCI and helped them release the tension for such a decisive match.
FCI is in total domination of the first half of the game and puts continuous pressure on the British United defence. The dynamic duo up front, Liza and Eli, wreaks havoc among the British United players, helped by Antonia and Bea on the wings.
The match’s first goal for FCI arrives from a through ball that cuts the British United defence; Eli, noticing being offside, ignores the ball and lets Liza goes on the ball. The pass is too long, and the opponent goalie arrives first, but her kick is intercepted by Liza, that touches the ball that goes on the right wing, where Bea comes running like a train, controls the ball and scores at the 20’. After the goal, FCI creates a series of scoring opportunities. Liza launches Antonia on the left wing, which finds the space for the shot that ends not far from the goal. From a throw-in made by Sophie, Ninja controls the ball, launching herself toward the door and kicking the ball, but the shot goes high above the crossbar. Taking advantage of an opponent’s defensive mistake, Ninja steals the ball and kicks, but the goalie puts the ball in the corner. From the development of the corner, FCI scores the second goal of the match with Eli, that finds the right touch after a scrum in the penalty area, closing the first half with the result of 2-0.
FCI opens the second half with another goal. Once again, Liza finds Antonia with a through ball. Antonia cuts to the centre from the left wing and, after a series of unlucky shot attempts, scores at the 48’, thanks to her tenacity. Despite the goal conceded in the first minutes of the second half, British United plays with more aggressivity, trying to find the goal that would reopen the game. They probably overheard Marie saying she was getting bored between the goalposts and decided to let her have some fun. The attacking pressure of British United produces a penalty that Marie stops. After a series of shots and Marie’s plastic saves, British United finds the goal of 3-1 at the 85’. Not enough time remains on the clock to threaten FCI’s victory, and the match ends 3-1.
The goal conceded did not ruin a beautiful game played by FCI. FCI dominated the match from the first to the last minute, demonstrating how much everyone wanted this victory. Not only did the players’ focus and determination on the pitch show the game’s cruciality, but also the supporters’ turnout (even dogs were there to support FCI) and noise made it clear what this game meant for us.
This game was also a test. Throughout the season, we had great performances against teams stronger than us and failed in matches where we could bring the bacon home. This time, the prize was too high to fail. We won the relegation battle, which gives us almost the certainty to stay in P2 next year. Cakes and whisky made perfect an already beautiful Sunday.
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.
Journey to Neder-Over-Heembeek for FCI to face Suryoyés on a Friday night match on 24 February.
Like in the game in the first leg, Suryoyés does not put a complete squad on the pitch, but like in the first leg, they lack quantity but not quality.
The start of the game is shocking; after 5 minutes, Suryoyés finds the first goal. At this moment, the game looks like a repetition of the game played in Auderghem. Suryoyés’ goalkeeper takes the ball with the hand after a pass made by one of her teammates. Therefore, an indirect free-kick in the penalty area is awarded to FCI. Liza takes responsibility for kicking it but hits the crossbar. After this opportunity, Suryoyés regains control of the match and scores the other two goals by the 25’. FCI tries to get back into the game. An excellent opportunity to score comes from the feet of Antonia, who finds space on the left wing to shoot, but the goalie stops it and concedes only a corner kick.
In the second half, FCI enters the field more motivated and ready to show that the one seen during the first half is not the true FCI. Despite the gritty beginning of the second half, Suryoyés scores the fourth goal of the match. After this goal, FCI does not lose its head and continues with the same determination to try to change the course of the game. The attacking pressure of FCI bears its fruits only 5 minutes to the end of the game. From a corner kicked by Liza, Patigol scores, with a superb header, her farewell goal. Not much time left in the game, but FCI still wants to show its value. Liza scores her fourth goal of the season from a magnificent freekick. The freekick closes the match with a disappointing 4-2 for Suryoyés.
The first half did not go as expected, and it is by far the worst half played by FCI. It is not the 3-0 that was disappointing, but how the result was produced. Hunger and focus were missing among FCI players, and the skilful and technical players of Suryoyés took advantage of the situation. Hesitation in the defence and the middle of the field, not enough precision and aggressiveness in front of the door characterised the first half. Even though the effort of the second half did not allow us to achieve a better result, it was reassuring to see how it was played, demonstrating the one in the first half was the ghost of FCI.
To make the night even sadder, it was the last match played by Patigol that confirms her nickname scoring her last goal for FCI (we hope for this season). We will obviously miss her goals, but we will miss more her positive and cheerful attitude that she brings everywhere she goes. In the next games, it will be strange to enter the dressing room and not feel the paradisiacal smell of the tiger bomb (her secret to scoring goals, together with the smelly socks).
Cup night for FCI, on Wednesday, 23 February, against the strongest team met so far, R. Union Saint Gilloise A.
The Union starts the game and starts attacking. Since the first minutes, Union has maintained a constant presence in FCI‘s defensive half of the pitch. The first two goals come directly from crosses, taking FCI’s defensive line by surprise. We have learnt so far that the opponent cannot score from the sideline of the pitch. But, actually, some opponent can. During the first half, the Union scores four more goals. FCI tries to find space to make the ball circulate and create scoring opportunities, but the opponent covers the pitch well, making the FCI’s attacking phase sterile.
The first half is particularly tough, physically and mentally. Going down six goals is a punch in the stomach. Thanks to the great Antonio’s speech and FCI’s innate fighting spirit, the team finds the proper focus and energy to start the second half as if it is a different game, ready to give everything even though the game has nothing more to say.
Despite the second half not being a piece of cake, the FCI’s performance improves drastically. The Union scores “only” two goals in the second half, not because it slows down and stops pushing forward, but credit for this has to be given to FCI’s way of playing. It was clear that FCI managed to position better, defend more effectively and make some good combinations in the attacking phase.
This was the most challenging match report to write because numbers say we were smashed during the game. And we were! But we did not give up. We did not give up before the match, not forfeiting the game as all the other teams did against Union in the cup this season, and we did not give up when at the end of the first half, we were losing 6-0. We played against a team that is at the top of the league in a division higher than ours, full of talented players that made us ceaselessly run. We can just be proud of the game we played.
We must admit that all the match reports are slightly biased, highlighting the silver lining in every match we play. But when the praise of the team’s fighting spirit and organisation comes from the opponent after having lost 8-0, that means something. It means that what we feel and do wearing the green shirt is evident to everyone around us and that we must keep going to achieve better results.
And tomorrow, there’s the last chapter of this incredible week…the grand finale.
The game against R. Union St. Gilloise B, played on Saturday, 18 February, has inaugurated the frenzied and intense FCI week.
The same script is followed for the entire match. In a nutshell, Union attacking and FCI defending.
The extended version says that, during the first half, despite the skilled and fast opponent, FCI maintains a solid defence trying to cover on the wings and sweep up all the balls arriving in the middle. However, FCI pushes forwards, fearless of playing its own game and not surrendering to Union. As in many previous matches, FCI creates danger when it can find its wingers. In this circumstance, Antonia sneaks up on Union’s defence sitting face-to-face with the goalie. Unfortunately, Union’s defence arrives just in time to ruin Antonia’s moment. Another chance to score comes from Patigol, that hesitates to shoot and loses the right timing. In the end, the Union’s attack produces two goals in the first half.
As mentioned before, the second half continues along the lines of the first. Union keeps attacking and scores two more goals. With constant focus and intensity, FCI does not fall apart and tries to break through Union’s defensive line. In the second half, there were no clear scoring opportunities for FCI, but good pressure was put on the opponent’s defence. The match ends 4-0 for Union on completion of a titanic challenge for FCI.
The match went as expected, with Union dominating the game and, in the end, winning. After the final whistle, none of the FCI players looked like they had just lost 4-0. Losing is never pleasant, but we knew we had an excellent performance and lots of fun. We also had double the sandwiches (but I still do not know if it is something positive) and, for the first time in the season, (partially) free food at Funky. What a great Saturday night!
A challenging cup game is coming on Wednesday, but we can’t help but think of Maz’s interview coming up this Tuesday. Stay tuned!
On Sunday, 12 February, FCI played a decisive game against St Michel. Before the match, the two teams were tied on points and with a similar goal difference. The first-leg match between these two teams represented the first victory in the league for FCI. The goal was not to let them take the bacon home.
The initial part of the first half is quite difficult for FCI. The opponent takes control of the game and finds its way to the goal at the 17’. The goal works as an alarm clock for FCI that, from the moment of the goal, finds more focus and intensity. FCI A-plus defence stops the opponent’s attacks while, in the attacking phase, Virginie finds, for three times, space in the St. Michel defence, but the scoring opportunities are not capitalised.
FCI starts the second half with more determination and hunger, ready to bring the bacon home. The second half is a sequence of scoring opportunities that makes our hearts stop more than a couple of times. Liza shows us her ballistic qualities with two free kicks, with the first one finishing just above the crossbar and the second resulting in a corner kick. Even though, in principle, she runs, yesterday, Bea was also in charge of the corner kicks, and, in principle, she can also kick corners. From a corner kick, the best scoring occasion for FCI arrives. Eva finds the ball after a scrum in the penalty area and kicks, but St. Michel’s goalie stops the shot. As in the first half, Virginie cut out the opponent’s defence, but her shot again goes out. A post hit my St. Michel makes us lose some years of our life but does not change the result, and the match ends 0-1.
After the impressive last game’s performance, we were hoping for a better result for this game. We gave them a good battle, but St. Michel wanted to bring home the bacon as much as we did. The game left the feeling that we deserved more. Especially considering the second half and all the opportunities created, a draw might have been the best result.
But this match belongs to the past, we have to learn from it, but we are focused on the future and the next decisive matches waiting for us. Considering the busy and delicate time of the season, all the ladies interested in yoga are begged to interrupt this dangerous activity.
For the game on Sunday, 5 February, FC Schaerbeek welcomes FCI on a fantastic stage.
Before the beginning of the match, Antonio told us that no matter what, we would lose the game against FC Schaerbeek. And who could blame him? FC Schaerbeen is fifth in the league, and in the previous game against them, we lost 7-0. So, starting with that assumption, Antonio decided to risk it. We had to play with a different attitude. Always tight, but this time we had to be more offensive, setting aside our usual defensive attitude.
The first half, the second half and the end of the game (especially the end of the game) were intense and full of emotions.
The first emotion of the match arrives with the penalty conceded to FCI. How did we get that penalty? I actually have no idea. But what matters is that we got it. As in last week’s game, Naomi goes to the penalty spot. Unfortunately, the result is different, and the ball goes out. As the Italian songwriter De Gregori taught us, footballers cannot be judged by these details. Whoever takes the responsibility to kick penalties has a high chance to miss them. We should admire Naomi’s bravery in kicking the penalty and her focus and attitude after the mistake. What we thought was inevitable arrives soon after. FC Schaerbeek scores the goal of 1-0 with a great shot from outside the box. After the goal, FCI keeps doing its own game, making the ball circulate through the middle and on the wings, not letting the opponent push us in our defensive half of the pitch.
Apparently, FCI has kicked the habit of losing focus at the beginning of the second half. The game becomes tougher, and FCI replies to FC Schaerbeek’s intensity. The work on the wings shows to be really effective, but the runs of Bea are not really appreciated by the opponent, that keeps making fouls on her, which costs FC Schaerbeek the first yellow card of the game. And now the unexpected… Eva finds Patricia (Patigol from now on) in the penalty area. Thanks to her strength, Patigol creates the perfect space to kick and score her third goal of the season. Not accepting the result, FC Schaerbeek put pressure on FCI’s defence that does not break up. The only consequences of this pressure are the yellow card received by Sanda and the continuous Marie’s flies. The game ends 1-1.
Antonio was wrong, but his tactics were right. We conquered a point that has the taste of a victory. As it has been said many times, this is the best game of the FCI season. Many are factors for this: first, circulation of the ball, every ball touched, kicked or passed, is not to prevent the opponent from scoring but it is to create scoring opportunities, to allow the team to go up, even in the last minutes of the match; second, focus, the team remained focused for 90 minutes never having drops in concentration levels, sometimes witnessed at the beginning of the season; finally, intensity, never so many fouls have been committed during an FCI game, this means that we were on the ball, that we got it or were trying to get it.
Fouls are part of the game; as long as they are committed to getting the ball and not hurting the opponent, they are “allowed” and accepted. Knowing we are all there to have fun and enjoy a football game, it is not pleasant to witness some scenes that occurred yesterday at the end of the game. On the other hand, we have to appreciate who from the other team came to apologise for the unsportsmanlike conduct. However, nobody came to apologise for the lack of sandwiches.
Sentence of the day: “Bea, are you a nurse?”
First, we have to say it: “Caralho, what a game Dakota played”.
The hours that preceded the game against Kosova that FCI played on Saturday, 29 January, were not easy. There was an uncertain and delicate situation concerning the goalie position, but Dakota arrived to save the day, giving us an incredible performance in her first match as a goalie.
It is not an easy start to the game for FCI, with two goals conceded in the first ten minutes. The goals have a similar development. FCI’s defence tries to sweep up the ball, but it is intercepted by the opponent that, thanks to two shots from outside the box, finds its way to the goal. Even though disappointed, FCI keeps pushing, trying to get back into the game. The best scoring opportunity of the first half comes from Sanda’s feet, taking advantage of a Kosova defence’s moment of confusion and almost finding the goal.
Back on the pitch for the second half, FCI keeps fighting. The second half is tight, with few scoring opportunities for both teams. Concerning the defensive phase, the highlight of the second half is the superb save made by Dakota, which instinctively stops the opponent’s shot with the foot. Less than ten minutes to the end, Liza takes a penalty and allows FCI to get back into the game. Naomi takes responsibility and, with the usual olympian calm, scores the goal of the 2-1 at the 84’. The match finishes with this result.
The game was even; that’s why this result left a stale aftertaste. But a cake was waiting for us to get rid of that taste and celebrate Teresa’s birthday (thanks Dakota, you were really the hero of the day).
Despite all the players missing, FCI left the pitch with excellent performance and the feeling that a better result was possible. However, all the disappointment is left behind. As every week, we will come to the training ready to prepare for the tough month of February ahead of us.
Antonio’s special addition: all attacking players played cleverly. Sanda, Béa, Liza, and Amina ran in the space between the central defenders and the fullbacks. That’s how we can create danger, using the speed of our wingers. And we did just that in several occasions, using the long balls launched by Eva and Naomi.
A snowy and intense game today for FC Irlande Ladies III, which did not give up the fight.
The opponent got an indirect free kick inside FCI’s penalty area at the 5’. But it could not score thanks to a strong defence. White Star scores the first goal at the 20’. Despite the goal, FCI played well together, and at the 42’, Eva got a scoring opportunity, followed by a corner at the 57’. This was bad luck! The first half was very even, and FCI was definitely in the game.
Antonio gave us the opportunity to choose our second half strategy, which we all agreed to attack and “eat” them hard. That was some great motivation there!
The second half was full of twists and turns but not in our favour. At the 65’, a penalty was awarded to White Star, which found its second goal of the match. At the 67’, Antonia got the first yellow card of the season for FCI Ladies III for “moving away” from her shirt, the tiny young girl who was grabbing her for quite some time, and consequently, a foul was given to the opponent. Luckily, the yellow card was not marked in the official match sheet.
At the 72’, a second penalty was given against FC Irlande, allowing White Star to score the 3-0. After those two penalties, the last 15 minutes were quite tiring, morally and physically. As a matter of fact, 15 was also probably the age gap between the two teams. The match ended with the fourth and fifth goals scored by White Star, respectively at the 81’ and 85’.
FCI can be proud of the good fight and energy they put on the pitch today, as the opponent team was quite strong.
The biggest challenge of the weekend was not playing against R.A.S. Jodoigne, second in the ranking or taking part in a Christmas tree-throwing competition. The real challenge was the early alarm clock on a Sunday morning.
The game played on Sunday, 15 January, did not go how expected, not for the final result (that at the end says 2-0 for Jodoigne), but for the performance of FCI. The match was tight and balanced, and FCI levelled the playing field against one of the best teams in the league, showing compactness, focus and quality.
In the first half of the match, FCI does everything it needs to do. Tight defensive lines, ball of the wings, challenge and control of the ball in the middle of the field. As a result, the opponent has trouble arriving in the penalties area and finding the goal. Jodoigne’s goal comes from a rebound, on which Jodoigne’s strikers arrive first after an incredible stop from Marie. But the first half is not only defensive actions. The clearest scoring opportunity of the first half comes from Bea’s cross from the right, on which Amine cannot arrive for a few centimetres.
FCI maintains the focus and occupies the opponent’s half of the pitch for the first part of the second half. To score, you need to shoot, and Liza takes this assumption seriously, trying to find the goal every time she is around the penalty area. FCI keeps attacking, and now that corners are an important string to FCI’s bow, the team can also create danger in those situations. So, a corner is awarded to FCI. Anna puts the ball on the first post, where the ball is challenged. Madde finds the coordination to hit the ball. A great shot, but Jodoigne’s goalie blocks it and deflects it over the bar for a few centimetres. It would have been the goal of the equaliser, and it would have been extremely deserved. This match also sees one of the season’s most spectacular and difficult Marie’s blocks. Marie flies to block a free kick that seemed destined to get into the net. In the final part of the match, Jodoigne’s second goal arrives, closing the match 2-0.
FCI confirmed the progress shown in the previous match against Black Star. The feeling is now that the team has control of the ball and the actions, consciously and consistently creating scoring opportunities and putting into practice what was learnt during the training and the first part of the season. As Antonio said, “some defeats feel like a win,” and this defeat falls under this category.
On Sunday, 08 January, FC Irlande Ladies III played against Black Star FC.
Could you think of a better way to start 2023? First game of 2023, first victory. FCI dominated the match, and everyone, on and off the pitch, could smell that today there was only one result possible.
From the first to the last minute, there was only one team on the pitch, FCI. Starting with a 4-4-2, the team managed to be dangerous both on the wings and in the middle of the pitch, creating plenty of scoring opportunities that lead to Louise’s goal at the 28’. FCI obtains several corners thanks to the continuous pressure on the opponent’s defence and all the shots from inside and outside the penalty area. From one of those corners, the clearest occasion arrives to score the second goal. After a big commotion in Black Star’s area, FCI finds its way to shoot on goal. The ball dances on the line, but in the end, the goal is not awarded. The first half finishes 1-0 and with zero shots conceded.
While in the previous matches of the season, the beginning of the second half has always been a delicate moment for the team. In this game, FCI starts focused and aggressive, finding the goal at the 47’ with Amina after an assist from Bea. After that goal, FCI becomes unstoppable, and in seven minutes, FCI finds three other goals with Patricia at the 59’ and 66’ and Louise at the 63’. Black Star finds its first goal of the match from a corner at the 80’. The game ends with the second Amina’s goal, assisted by Antonia, setting the result at 6-1.
This report can never be exhaustive of the team’s performance and convey how much FCI has dominated and controlled, so much that for 90’, Eva was basically the loneliest goalkeeper on earth. For sure, FCI has never played so well, and the ranking has never looked so beautiful. Indeed, with today’s victory, we jump to 10th place in the league.
According to Sicilian superstition, 2023 is a year full of luck, being the number 23 “il culo” (literally the ass, but meaning actually luck). FCI’s victory was not a matter of good fortune. Behind this victory is a long path of work, commitment, cold training, questionable sandwiches and, at times, disappointment. The luck of 2023 is to be part of FCI, fight for it, and see its immense improvement. If this is the start of the FCI’s year, we can’t wait to see how it continues.
Most importantly, we did not miss a throw-in.
On Friday, 09 December, FC Irlande Ladies III played against R.R.C. D’Etterbeek.
FCI starts the first half excellently. Even though the RBFA reports that FCI concedes five goals in the first ten minutes of the game, in reality, those ten minutes are among the best played by FCI. During this initial part of the match, FCI is constantly in the opponent’s half of the pitch, creating tremendous opportunities to score. Etterbeek scores two goals in the first half and goes close to scoring the third one, but Alice, who starts a game as a central defender for the first time, stops the ball on the line.
The match’s second half is the unluckiest half of the FCI season. Two of the three goals conceded by FCI during the second half are own goals. The FCI player, author of the own goals, has conceded them simply because she is a great defender, if not the greatest. She always arrives first on the ball and is well-positioned to be on the shooting trajectory. Whenever the ball comes in the FCI defensive half, she is the commander and lighthouse of the entire defence. This time her deflections finish into the wrong door. (She was not lucky as Weghorst, who deflected a shot of Enzo Fernandez and sent the ball for a corner kick).
Like in the first leg against Etterbeek, a lot of disappointment in the air and on the faces of the FCI players. It was a challenging game, and the cold weather was not of any help. The final score appears too heavy compared to the FCI performance on the pitch. And as a side note, we did not miss even one throw-in.
It is necessary to mention the beautiful hospitality of Etterbeek, who started a dancing and singing battle with FCI. But, this time, FCI won (videos available attesting to the victory).
On Sunday, 4 December, FC Irlande Ladies III played a home game against FC Ronvau Chaumont.
The match was the first in which FCI faced the same team for the second time. With the first leg match finishing 6-1, this match was a significant opportunity for the team to test and show its progress since September.
Despite suffering the opposition pressure and passing combinations, FCI can call off almost all the Ronvau strikers during the first half. At the 20’, Ronvau scores the first goal of the match. However, FCI is not passively waiting for the opponent; before and after conceding the goal, the team builds offensive actions and scoring opportunities. During the first half, FCI manages to be dangerous with Liza, whose shot does not go far from the door, and Antonia, receiving exceptional support and boost from the sidelines.
The second half starts in the best way possible for FCI, with Liza scoring the equaliser at the 50’ on Noami’s assist. The draw lasts only five minutes. In 15 minutes, Ronvau finds three goals. Instead of losing heart, in the last 20 minutes of the match, FCI stays focused and keeps on defending and being propositional with its offensive players. The game finishes 4-1 for FC Ronvau Chaumont, but FCI’s players can be proud of their game.
The FCI’s progress compared to the first leg match is visible. Not only in terms of numeric results but especially in the overall team’s performance. Two fewer goals conceded probably mean fewer defensive mistakes, fewer shots conceded, and more pressure in midfield. FCI lined up a never seen couple of defensoras centrales that did not make regret the numerous absences in that part of the field.
The third half of the day became less Irish and more Nordic, thanks to Anna’s warm hospitality, which welcomed the team at her home to make us enjoy an early Christmassy taste and atmosphere (and reindeer quiche).
On Tuesday, 29 November, FC Irlande Ladies III faced FC Suryoyes Bruxellois at home.
What a month of November for FCI, three victories, two victories in the league and the first victory and points at home to finish the month in the best way possible.
The fog waits for the teams on the pitch to create an authentic Belgian atmosphere. Suryoyes starts the game with high intensity, showing that they may lack quantity but not quality. FCI seems surprised by the talent of some of the opponent’s players, particularly the number 9, who creates havoc in FCI’s defence with her slalom and ball control. And it will be the number 9 that at the 18’ will score the first goal of the match. A cold shower that does not let FCI’s down but revitalises them. The goal is the necessary slap to focus more and give everything we have to win the match. In 5 minutes, FCI flips the result. As in the previous game against British United, we obtained a free-kick from inside the penalty area. The two same people are on the ball, but the result is different. Dakota touches it for Anna that with a magnificent shot, passes the opponent’s wall and scores. FCI is extremely lucky to have the best Finnish player since Jari Litmanen. At 38’, it’s Liza’s turn to score, assisted by Sophie. For Liza, it’s the second goal of the season FCI III and, again, a winning goal.
In the second half, FCI is more in control of the game, preventing Suryoyes from creating dangerous scoring chances. It would be difficult to mention and remember all FCI’s shots and goalscoring opportunities. On multiple occasions, the team is close to scoring the third goal, but it is enough cynical or lucky to score the match.
A game that is worth six points and pushes us to 11th place in the ranking. The game was more difficult than expected due to the quality of the Suryoyes’ players. But in the end, we fought more to obtain the result and put all our team spirit, commitment, strength and talent. The table says that we are not the best team in the league, but the table can only consider certain parameters. The table does not display all the love, passion and dedication we put in every time we wear that glorious green shirt; for that, we are second to none.
For FCI, November has been a fantastic month also off the pitch, with the news that soon the team will have a new player/supporter.
On Saturday, 19 November, we witnessed another chapter of the never-ending rivalry between FC Irlande Ladies III and the Bufc Ladies Brussels.
The match starts with a minute of silence to remember Noel Egan, one of the founder members of FC Irlande.
It might have been the burden of the team’s history, but the first half of the derby is not one of the FCI’s best performances. Bufc opens the dance by scoring a magnificent free kick at the 16’. Later a penalty is awarded to Bufc, but Mariana beautifully stops it. Despite some good passages, FCI cannot create really dangerous scoring chances. At the end of the first half, Eva makes her debut as a goalkeeper, substituting for Mariana.
FCI returns for the second half with more focus and a change in the module, switching from 4-3-3 to 4-4-2, using Océance as a pivot to create more space and opportunities for Liza. As a second striker, Océane can give some excellent passages to the left and right midfielders. From Océane’s feet start the most dangerous FCI scoring opportunity of the match. A long ball finds Liza, that controls the ball and shoots from the edge of the box. Her shot is wide for a few inches. The second Bufc goal comes from a moment of confusion in the FCI defence, cynically used by the opponent. While FCI cannot turn into a goal a free-kick from inside the penalty area that finishes on the opponent’s wall. The game ends with the third goal of the Bufc at the 89’.
The derby ends 3-0 for Bufc. Still, plenty of time for the return match, but we already have to work for the game at home to end with a positive result.
Despite the disappointing result, we must always recognise and learn from the positive signs seen during the match: the ability of the team to switch and adapt to a new module following Francesco’s instructions, the ability to remain with the head in the game, the excellent cooperation and complementarity between the two strikers Liza and Océane, and the outstanding performance of our debutante goalie, Eva. Some more training on the throw-ins might be necessary during the following weeks.
But we had to wait until the end of the match for the worst part of the night when arrived at the buvette we found out that there were no sandwiches for FCI III. The players showed an unbelievable attachment to the club, not stealing the sandwiches of FCI II that was still playing against F.C. White Star.
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.
After the season’s first win at the Cup game earlier in the week, FCI Ladies 3 faced FC. Saint-Michel in an away match and was looking to continue the winning streak. And from the moment the team arrived on the pitch, very concentrated and full of good energy, it was clear that there was something in the air – and “it smelled good”.
FCI got a good start for the match, creating some great occasions and putting pressure on Saint-Michel’s defense. Despite the good initial push, the match remained 0-0 but with FCI creating more dangerous chances with good passing and through-balls while the team’s solid defense took care of the opposition’s attacks. Towards the end of the first half, however, FCI lost the focus for a bit which gave Saint-Michel more control over the game. They created some pressure and then, in an unfortunate aftermath of a corner kick, they scored the first goal of the night and went to the half time in 1-0 lead.
However, FCI was determined not to let this cold shower upset them for too long. The team came in very strong on the second half, showing more skill and commitment than ever before during this season. It all culminated around 60′ with Antonia passing the ball through the defense line to Sanda who surprised Saint-Michel’s keeper with her calm and calculated shot into the right corner of the goal, giving FCI their very deserved first goal. This was the final push that the FCI needed to take fully the driver’s seat in the match: with excellent passing, teamwork, and individual talent, FCI pushed the match into the opposition’s end of the pitch. Next goal was hanging in the air.
After many barely-missed chances it was finally Liza, during her debut at L3, who passed the whole Saint-Michel defense and scored FCI’s second goal about 10 minutes before the end of the match. After that, all that remained was to stay calm and focused and make sure that Saint-Michel would not be let back in the game. And FCI’s defense, strong as iron, held until the end. At the final whistle, the party was ready start: it was the second win of the week for the team, but the first one in the league. We finally “brought home the bacon”, aka 3 points.
It was a fantastic match from the whole team with stellar performances all around but especially from the players of the match, Alicia and Eva, the former clearing every attack coming her way and the latter dominating the game in the midfield. This match really showed how much work and effort all the ladies have put into training and matches, as we are now slowly starting to reap the results. FCI played strong as a team, with each and every player showcasing so much commitment, grit (or “sisu”, as the Finns would say) and determination that it is evident that the two victories of this week will not be the only ones this season. Special thanks also to the L2 guest stars, Mariana and Francesca, whose tremendous saves and sharp dribbles, respectively, helped guarantee the victory.
Two wins from two matches called for a proper celebration: it started with the locker-room singalong of “We are the Champions”, continued with sweet convivial moment at the local buvette, then took us to Funky Monkey and finished in Le Corbeau, where the bravest danced until the early hours.
On Tuesday, 1 November, FC Irlande Ladies III faced R.C.S. Nivellois A in its first cup match in an away game.
[R.C.S. Nivellois 0 (2) – 0 (3) FC Irlande Ladies III – Ade, AJ, Alex]
From the first few minutes, the match gives us many emotions. Amina has the chance to shoot at the goal from the penalty area; unfortunately, she has the ball on her weaker foot, so for the opponent’s goalkeeper was easier to block the shot with a dramatic save. After a few minutes, Dakota receives a ball in the face, and due to the strong impact, she has to leave the pitch and go to the hospital to check her jaw condition. FCI has another excellent opportunity to score thanks to Sanda’s run on the left-hand side of the pitch, which puts the ball in the middle of the area, but just for some inches, Amina does not reach the ball. The first half finishes 0-0, with FCI showing defensive solidity and offensive initiative.
The second half starts with R.C.S. Nivellois attacking, putting good pressure on FCI’s defence but not creating clear goalscoring opportunities. The rest of the second half is mostly dominated by FCI, with two excellent scoring chances for Sanda and Ade, who, wreaking havoc on the left and right wings, find themselves in the opponent’s box but cannot convert their shots into goals. Marianne also can score thanks to a free-kick from the edge of the box, but her shot ends slightly to the side. In the match’s last minutes, it is again R.C.S. Nivellois to attack, obtaining some corners but not scratching FCI’s defensive wall. The game finishes 0-0, and we go to the penalties lottery.
FCI starts the penalty shootout. The first to take the responsibility to shoot is Antonia. Unfortunately, her shot ends on the side. R.C.S. Nivellois’s goalkeeper takes responsibility for her team’s first penalty, her terrific shot crowds out Olatz, that can do nothing to block it. 1-0 for R.C.S. Nivellois. Ade is the second FCI’s penalty taker and scores without any difficulty. The second opponent’s penalty is kicked too central, and Olatz sends it over the crossbar. 1-1. The third penalty is entrusted to AJ, shot and goal, but the referee has not whistled, and she has to retake the penalty… same calm, same side, same result. FCI is now leading, but R.S.C. Nivellois has to take its third penalty. Olatz touches the ball that goes on the post and finishes in the net. We remain on an even score, 2-2. Marianne goes for the penalty, but her shot goes over the crossbar. Now R.C.S. Nivellois has the chance to lead again, but Olatz stretches on her left and blocks the shot. We remain 2-2. The fifth player to go for the penalty for FCI is Alex, our match’s captain, who perfectly coverts the penalty. Fifth penalty for R.C.S. Nivellois, Olatz hypnotises the opponent who sends the ball high over the crossbar. The match finishes 3-2 for FCI, who obtains its first victory of the season.
What a week for FCI; after our beloved training ball has returned home, we can celebrate our first victory and continue our path in the Coupe De Brabant. It was an epic game with lots of fights, changes and emotions that we managed to control and lead to the hoped results.
This was probably our best match of the season, not only for the final result but because it was the first match in which we created more goalscoring changes than the opponent, using in multiple occasions our wings, we had more control over the circulation of the ball, and we did not concede any significant offensive occasion to the other team. This was our first victory, and, for sure, it will not be the last. We keep on improving every week, and the results are starting to come. This match will be an excellent bust for our next games and an incredible motivation to train and work even harder.
A huge thank you to L1 and L2 players (Olatz, Marianne, AJ and Ade), who were fundamental for the victory and took the responsibility to shoot the penalties.
This victory is especially for Dakota, who has to go to the hospital after being hit by the ball. Fortunately, nothing’s broken, so we will see her soon on the pitch.
On Sunday, 23 October, FC Irlande Ladies III faced on the home pitch Football Club Schaerbeek.
The first half begins in the worst way possible, with FCI conceding the first goal during the game’s first minute. Despite this initial cold shower, FCI remains focused and plays a fantastic game for the following 25 minutes: neat in defence and good circulation of the ball in attack. But at 27′, FCS scores its second goal and its third and fourth goal in the last 10 minutes.
The second half starts as well with an early goal of FCS, but as in the first half, FCI does not lose its head and keeps on fighting and playing despite the harsh results. Just in the final minutes of the FCS scores again at 85′ and 87′. The match ends 7-0, the heaviest defeat for FCI so far.
A tough and, at times, nervous match that showed our willingness never to give up. Even when we were 5-0 down, we ran like hell, giving all we could. Some of our best offensive movements and combinations arrived when already the match was, in theory, compromised. But we know we must use every second of the game to improve, try and play; the final result doesn’t matter.
After the tragic loss of one of our training balls on Wednesday, FCI players had to face another shock before the match receiving the revelation of our secret weapon: Alex as a striker. In that position, she shows her ductility and spirit of sacrifice playing in not her usual position (but considering Alex’s today’s performance, she will play there quite often).
Another round of applause to Chenai, who played her first match as a goalkeeper and got elected as the best player of the game.
On Sunday, 16 October, FC Irlande Ladies III faced on the home pitch FC Kosova Schaerbeek.
In the first phases of the first half, FCI had great chances to take the lead. The first was a good shot made by Alice from outside the box, and the second was an excellent opportunity for Eva, who, alone in front of the door but quite defiladed, did not manage to score. But as the wise say: “Gol mangiato, gol subito” (Goal eaten, goal conceded); and at the 25’, Kosova scored a goal following a corner. At the end of the first half, Eva was elbowed in the face and blacked out for a few long moments, but she was ready to get back on the pitch at the beginning of the second half.
The second half was intense and demanding. A lot of running and fights on the wings gave some corners but no goals. The opponents were paying particular attention to Eva. Vigorously stopped, she found herself again on the grass, this time with nothing serious, just complaining about the treatment. FCI did not concede any other goal. A magic trick of Olatz on the goal line and a crossbar gave us some shivers down our spine. The match ends 1-0 for Kosova.
At the end of the match, many disappointed faces were around, especially Sophie’s (see pictures as a reference). Indeed, we have arrived at a point of the season when we really can smell a victory, but it seems to slip through our fingers. Antonio’s cursing on the bench makes us understand what a great opportunity today’s match was.
Ready to work and train (corners and throw-ins), we head for the following games to fight for the three points (or at least to do our best).
On Saturday, 8 October, FC Irlande Ladies III faced FC Femina White Star Woluwe Women D in an away game.
The first half of the match was fairly equilibrated. The first emotion of the game was given by Sanda, who, putting pressure on the opponent’s defence, had a brilliant chance to score. This kind of episode was more frequent in this match compared to the previous ones. The offensive line was more coordinated in its movements and provoked the White Star defence into making mistakes. The combination between this attacking pressure and the neat defence led the first half to the result of 0-0.
The second half does not differ from the first: great defensive tactics and pressure from the offensive players. Twelve minutes into the second half, White Star scored the match’s only goal. Despite the goal, the team remains focused and puts the mantra of staying close and tight into practice. Some shots were conceded but neutralised by Marie.
It was a Herculean task to express in words the FCI match; impossible to convey the team’s intensity and passion. For FCI, it was an outstanding result and performance against the team that is third in the league and has shown impressive scoring capacity. FCI played almost perfect in defence, not empty spaces in the middle of the field, always helping each other and not giving much away to the opponent. On a few occasions, our hearts beat fast thanks to the attacking efforts that gave us strong emotions.
The path we walked was winding, and the team had put in lots of commitment and work to arrive where we are today. In the last two games, we played against two overwhelmingly stronger teams than FCI on paper, but we gave the impression of standing up to them.
Excellent first time for Francesco as FCI Ladies III coach.
On Sunday, 2 October, FC Irlande Ladies III played against R.A.S. Jodoigne Women B.
The game was tough and physical, and FCI was forced to play mostly a defensive match. The clearest scoring chance for FCI III arrives during the first half, with Sanda entering the opponent’s penalty area and trying to score. A series of corners will follow that, unfortunately, will not convert into goals. The first goal of Jodoigne arrives at the 16’. During the first half, FCI managed to neatly defend, nullifying all the offensive effort of the opponent.
The second half starts with Jodoigne’s second goal (47’), with the third goal coming from a free-kick scored at the 60’. Not many chances to go to the opponent’s penalty areas, but a lot of fights in midfield to get the ball. The match finishes with the fourth and last Jodoigne’s goal at the 93’.
Winning is not important, it is the only thing that matters. Well, after today’s match, all the players of FCI III know how false this assumption is. 4-0 defeat, and we could not be prouder of how we played, all the fights to conquer the ball, and the effort we put in every action.
As highlighted before, during and after the game, FCI III is blessed with an amazing team spirit on and off the pitch. But it is also worth mentioning individual performances. Marie and Sandra, both of them voted as “best player”, guided and motivated the team throughout the game with their “up”, “you know where the ball is going”, and “amazing, girls”. They were the pillars that allowed the team to remain tight and play with solidity. And remember to NEVER be behind Sandra.
Honourable mention also to Noami and Sophie, that sacrificed their physical integrity for the team. Get well soon!
On Saturday, 25 September, FC Irlande Ladies III faced, in the first of a series of Brussels clashes, Black Star FC.
FCI started the match with a bit of confusion, with the Black Star putting pressure on the team and obtaining a corner soon after the kick-off. FCI players organise on the pitch in a few minutes and demonstrate an excellent ability to control the game. FCI scores the first goal of the night with Antonia, which is disallowed due to a substitution made by the opponent team. A few minutes later, the first valid goal will be scored by Black Star at the 30’.
The second half begins 1-0, and FCI starts with the belief of catching up with Black Star. Except for some occasions conceded, FCI dominates the second half, and we can smell the goal was about to come. Following a corner, Teresa gets a penalty for a handball in the box. Madde places the ball on the spot and perfectly converts the penalty at 89’. Not much time left for other emotions, and the referee blows the final whistle ending the match 1-1.
The so badly craved and deserved FCI III first point has arrived, and it will represent an incredible motivation to keep on working.
It was the first match of the season in which FCI created more chances and game compared to the opponent demonstrating remarkable growth and improvement after one month of training together. Match after match, the players are more confident and talk more with each other. The increased communication is beneficial for both the defensive and offensive phase, with more offside tactic applied and more ball circulation to arrive at the opponent’s penalty area.
Even though disallowed, Antonia’s goal will always remain in our hearts.
On Wednesday, 21 September, FC Irlande Ladies III vs R.R.C. Etterbeek took place, the first home game for Ladies III.
During the first half, we saw a tight game. FCI put pressure on their defence resulting in corners and free kicks and giving continuity to its offensive manoeuvre. Some suffering in the defensive phase due to the Etterbeek incursions was solved with a small tactical change on the right wing. But in the last minutes of the first half, Etterbeek found its way to score the match’s first goal.
In the second half, FCI tests a defensive line with four players for the first time, proving to be solid and reliable as a back three. The second part of the game continues along the lines of the first half. Etterbeek will score the other two goals ending the match 3-0. However, the fact remains that FCI players made an incredible performance.
In the first match at home, FCI showed defensive solidity and the ability to keep the ball in the opponent’s half of the pitch. Fewer shots were conceded, and more offensive occasions and pressure were produced. Therefore, the one played on Wednesday against Etterbeek was an extremely close match.
This time, a little bit of disappointment was in the air at the end of the match. Not because of the performance, but because the team, now more aware of its qualities and the progress made, knew that it deserved more.
How not to mention the incredible FCI Irlande supporters that, to the cry of “Don’t stop believing because I won’t”, encouraged the team throughout the game.
On Friday, 9 September, the FC Irlande Ladies football weekend started with Ladies III facing FC Ronvau Chaumont.
The match that took place yesterday, 9 September, was a challenging game against an opponent steadily putting pressure on the FCI. FC Ronvau Chaumont opened the scoring at 25’, making other 3 goals in the last 15 minutes of the first half at 30’, 40’ and 45’.Despite some incursion in the opponent’s half of the pitch, the first half finished with the result of 4-0 for FC Chaumont.
As in the previous match, Ladies III showed an impressive commitment and fighting spirit entering the field in the second half, not giving up despite the adverse results, encouraged and guided by the words and directions of the coach.
A change in the FCI tactics during the second half helped the team to defend better. Alice in midfield took care of the number 29 of FC Ronvau Chaumont fiercely growling on her ankles. Thanks to this move, the opponent became less dangerous, and the FCI could maintain a more solid defence. At 55’, the first goal of the FCI Ladies III season arrived. The goal-scorer was Naomi, elected player of the game, that in front of the goalkeeper, could not miss the chance after a beautiful assist (avec ses boobs) from Amina. FC Ronvau Chaumont will score again at 70’ and 82’ with a spectacular free kick, and at the final whistle, the match will be 6-1.
A work-in-progress team with lots of new players, conscious of the difficulties and pitfalls this season will reserve, FCI Ladies III constantly work to improve and be ready for future challenges. Another game played, even if it is a defeat, means more experience, team spirit and awareness in its own means.
On Saturday, 3 September, FC Irlande Ladies III played its debut match of the season against R. Union Lasne Ohain Woman B.
In the first minutes of the game, FCI created some excellent chances to score. Unfortunately, the team did not manage to concretise these chances into goals, and at 15’, the first goal for Union Lasne Ohain arrived. Thanks to good defending, FCI maintain the result until the end of the first half when Union Lasne Ohain found the second goal of the match at 48’.
Despite being 2 goals down, FCI started the second half with hunger, motivation and tenaciousness. Compared to the first half, during the second half, a significant improvement in positioning and timing was clear, allowing the team to play more in the opponent’s half of the pitch and put pressure on the opponent’s defence. The last goal of Union Lasne Ohain arrived at 79’. A light drizzle accompanied the teams in the last minutes of the second half, ending the game with the final goal of 3-0 for the home team.
The first game turned into a defeat; however, positive elements and room for improvement are recognisable. At the final whistle, FCI players seemed far from being demotivated, understanding that the final score does not say everything about a match. Despite being the first game played together for most of the team, FCI Ladies III has shown an incredible team spirit and commitment.
The season will be challenging, but FCI will fight on every pitch in every game with lots of will, courage and love.
All fixtures and results
FC Irlande Ladies 3
- Coaches : António Nobre
- Coaches : Francesco Naccarato
- Captain : Marilena Zammit
- Captain : Sophie Lopez
Top goals scorers
- Liza Dmitrieva 4
- Patricia Polgar 4
- Louise Hourman 2
- Antonia Leroy 2
- Amina Tailouti 2
- Naomi Wood 2
- Madeleine Ajax 1
- Béatrice Ericson 1
- Elena Rumenova 1
- Sanda Vantoni 1
- Anna Vilkman 1
Top goals assists
- Liza Dmitrieva 3
- Antonia Leroy 2
- Naomi Wood 2
- Amina Tailouti 1
- Dakota Schillebeeks 1
- Sophie Lopez 1
- Béatrice Ericson 1
- Eva Jacomet 1