FC Irlande Ladies 3

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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.

[Anna]

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

#1 September 3, 2022 R. Union Lasne Ohain B 3 - 0 Report FC Irlande Ladies 3
#2 September 9, 2022 FC. Ronvau Chaumont 6 - 1 Report FC Irlande Ladies 3
#3 September 21, 2022 FC Irlande Ladies 3 0 - 3 Report RRC Etterbeek
#4 September 24, 2022 Black Star FC 1 - 1 Report FC Irlande Ladies 3
#5 October 2, 2022 FC Irlande Ladies 3 0 - 4 Report RAS.Jodoigne B
#6 October 8, 2022 Femina White Star Woluwe D 1 - 0 Report FC Irlande Ladies 3
#7 October 16, 2022 FC Irlande Ladies 3 0 - 1 Report FC Kosova Schaerbeek
#8 October 23, 2022 FC Irlande Ladies 3 0 - 7 Report Football Club Schaerbeek
#9 November 1, 2022 R.C.S. Nivellois 2 - 3 Report FC Irlande Ladies 3
#10 November 5, 2022 FC. Saint-Michel B 1 - 2 Report FC Irlande Ladies 3
#11 November 13, 2022 FC Irlande Ladies 3 0 - 7 Report FC Walhain
#12 November 19, 2022 BUFC Ladies Brussels 3 - 0 Report FC Irlande Ladies 3
#12 November 27, 2022 FC Irlande Ladies 3 - FC. Suryoyés Bruxellois
#13 December 4, 2022 FC Irlande Ladies 3 - FC. Ronvau Chaumont
#14 December 9, 2022 RRC Etterbeek - FC Irlande Ladies 3
#15 December 18, 2022 FC Irlande Ladies 3 - R. Union St-Gilloise B

FC Irlande Ladies 3

  • Coaches : António Nobre
  • Coaches : Francesco Naccarato
  • Captain : Marilena Zammit
  • Captain : Sophie Lopez

Top goals scorers

  • Naomi Wood 1
  • Madeleine Ajax 1
  • Sanda Vantoni 1
  • Liza Dmitrieva 1

Top goals assists

  • Amina Tailouti 1
  • Antonia Leroy 1
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