R. Union St-Gilloise
The 90 minutes started under a shinning sun and a blue sky. The game was intense from the first minute. The ball moved fast and opportunities were quickly created. After the first goal of l’Union at 14’, Rebby instinctively run to the ball left by the sloppy opponent’s defence and hit it hard, but the ladies were unlucky. FC Irlande fought hard to contain l’Union’s very good players, who nonetheless managed to pass the strong and committed defense at three more occasions in the first half. A single player scored three more times in the second half, letting FCIrlande proud of having fought together and build up good collective spirit, despite the defeat.
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.
Last Thursday, FC Irlande ladies 2 faced R. Union Saint-Gilloise. The weather on this Thanksgiving night was calm and serene, yet the attitude and effort ready to be given in this game was the complete opposite. It was going to be a tough game, as the opponent was first in the league. However, the ladies did not let this fact hold them back.
The opposition’s first goal occurred in the first half at minute 15. No other goals were scored on this half. This is due to each player giving great effort individually, but also being able to come together to defend and move in a formation as a team. This combination of a solid backline protected by a well organised midfield and attackers, was able to give a real run for their money to the top team in the league. A special thanks has to be noted for Sephora and Sara, who came to help ladies 2 in this tough match.
The ladies kept playing strong in the second half. The wingers and strikers ran tirelessly up and down the field, giving FCI opportunities to get a few good attacks and shots. Despite the determination of FC Irlande, Union Saint-Gilloise was able to score their second goal at minute 55. Then, a long shot to the goal at minute 70, resulted in the score being 3-0. The fourth and last goal came from a free-kick right before the end of the game. The ladies did not give up however, and fought with their heads up high until the final whistle. An example of this was Mariana, who persevered through the game despite an injury, and was able to make some great saves.
The most important development in the last few games can be seen in the shift of mentality and ability to play each battle with determination and focus. It is great to see the ladies gaining confidence in their abilities as individual players and as a team. Although the score on paper was not ideal, we can safely say it does not represent the quality or effort given by the ladies. The coaches, players, and the club can be very proud of the performance of FCI in this game.