FC Irlande Vets 2

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Vets 2 were slow to get to grips with the earlier KO. And that was demonstrated to some extent on the pitch. At least for the first half. Ken, our weather shaman, prayed to the weather Gods and stopped the rain at around 2.30. I think I speak on behalf of everybody, we were thankful for that.

The referee was an absolute gem. All he needed has a baguette and a string of garlic round his neck to go with his beret like cap. According to Oscar, the chap was almost 80. So that’s dedication for you. Turning up in such weather.. He was pretty good I have to say, perhaps a touch severe, and you could tell he was a cantankerous old bastard at times, but no real complaints overall.

The line up.

Ken
Patrick Luuk Laurent Alan
Joris Bart
Jorg Jacob Pascal
Oscar

Terry and me were on the bench to provide strength and depth. Terry had a nice blanket (kindly provided by Ken the witch doctor) to keep his wee legs warm. Matt, our délégué for the day, was also present and correct. Paddy MC was ever present and spurring on the lads with his encouraging sideline shouts. Not sure they were listened to mind you. Especially in the first half.

The game started fairly spritely by the Irish. Nice build up play followed by a neat cross into the box. Jorg managed to latch on to it. However the keeper managed to get a hand on it and turn it round the post. Then Entente suddenly woke up and started to string lots of decent passes together. We stepped off the gas and were against the ropes.

Some errors were made and after 20 minutes we were 4 nil down. It was surreal. Never seen anything of the like. Fortunately, a lucky own goal made it 4-1 and then we woke up a bit and Oscar finished well to make it 4-2. Then as the half came to a close we let in one more which was a little unfortunate but well taken by their guy who had scored 4 of the goals. It was a crazy half and one we will find hard to forget.

The second half was a different story. We made a couple of subs and decided to mark their striker, which was ably and delicately handled by Luuk. We begun the second half very well taking the game to them. Pascal moved the right side of midfield and started to cause problems, with Jorg moving to the other side. Terry, Bart and Joris got stuck in and we literally dominated the half. Going close at least 5 times. Finally we got another back with a peach of a goal from Tel. Kens blanket must have had magical properties. Anyway, we didn’t let up until the end. We gave everything, but couldn’t claw back the goals. Shame really, but it wasn’t our day. Good attitude all the same.

Thank god for buvettes. Beers ensued and spirits were lifted by a hearty stew kindly prepared by Laurent. Very nice stuff. Loved the onions stuffed with cloves. Nice touch that. To celebrate his birthday, David also brought some tasty dishes from his part of the world. Very nice fare all in and thank you gents for preparing it.

MOM. Our very own urbane Terry Waite esquire. Bien mérité.

Don’t forget that next week we have a bye.. Which to the unitiated means no games. Enjoy ikea and domestic bliss.

On a sunny early November morning, FCI Vets 2’s ruthless warriors made the long trip to the other side of town to face Pharma. Pharma’s season-to-date results were a mixed bag of good and bad, including a recent draw vs mighty Watermael, so we were curious to see how it would play out. We had support from a couple of Vets1 guys, plus even overseas’ reinforcements to make up for the usual school holiday lot of absences and we felt ready to get back to winning ways. A wise man in Vets2 said once that if you score more goals than the opposition, you usually win. Armed with such trivial banalities, as well as some other irrelevant comments from the captain, the team started warming up.

 

Some players were late, but the officially appointed referee was even later. So much so that he didn’t even show up and it was one of Pharma guys who had to whistle. As starting line-up we had Laurent in goals, Patrick, Rob, Terry and Luuk as back 4, Jörg, Bart, Joris and Alex as mid 4 and Pascal and then Oscar further up, with a strong bench of Dave, Carlos and Jeff.

 

We started dominating and, against what has become almost a tradition we didn’t concede in the first 5 or 10 minutes. In fact we didn’t concede at all in the first half, and Laurent only had one soft header to deal with. We were easily passing the ball from defense on to mid-field, where Joris had plenty of space to create havoc for the opposition. And havoc we created. After a couple of missed chances, Oscar put a pass down the wing to Luuk, who was bored at left back and had decided to explore the rest of the pitch. Luuk cut inside past 2 defenders and curled a shot out of reach for the keeper. 1-0. Shortly thereafter Oscar was chasing a long ball and managed to hold off their tall center back long enough to pass to Jörg, who had run in support and coolly scored from inside the box. 2-0.

 

At half-time we were all optimistic to win. Jörg, Alex and Rob came off and Dave, Carlos and Jeff came on. Luuk even tried to swap sides with Patrick because he was still bored. Little did he know what was coming.

 

Pharma made 2 changes and the 2 new guys were really good. One was a centre midfielder who could dribble himself and would have been brilliant if he had passed the ball (which, luckily for us, he mostly didn’t do). The other was a right winger that replaced Luuk’s boredom by a moment of panic, followed by a serious performance as a “reducer” (see match report 3 weeks ago). These 2 new players turned the tables in the game and Ireland found itself defending for most of the 2nd half. A serious defensive exercise by the back 4, supported by Bart and Joris, plus some of Laurent’s magic in goals (great saves jumping to that top right corner or with his feet…) helped keep Pharma at bay. Offensively we were less active than in the 1st half, but still managed to have some dangerous moves. In one of them Oscar went running down the right and took a shot (or was it a pass to Dave?) which the keeper managed to save… for the ball to rebound on one or two of his defenders and end up in goals. 3-0 for Ireland. For the rest of the game, we continued to defend and Pharma eventually scored from a penalty, after there was a handball in the box. Still, we finished at 3-1, happy with an overall solid team performance.

 

The after-match drinks this time included listening to a bizarre selection of French music on the bar stereo and cheering FCI 2nds on to a well-deserved victory while the autumn sun was setting. All in all, a great day for Ireland in Forest. As for Vets2, looking at previous seasons, it usually takes us 2 or 3 months to get into the swing of things. Was today the long-awaited turning point of the season? We’ll see, but for now it was a nice victory.

 

PS: Regarding the wise man’s theory, it was proven wrong today, as it is indeed possible to win scoring only as many goals as the opposition…

 

 

11-2, 9-4, 2-9 … Chinese betting odds? For Vets2 not to concede a goal before 5 minutes? No, unfortunately these were some of the results that our opponent Watermael had racked up so far in the season. So, as if it was not already difficult to find enough eligible players for this first Toussaint holiday game, it had to be against a juggernaut that is steamrolling through the season.

Throwing in the towel and going for a forfeit would probably have been the sensible option. But we are FC Irlande Vets, so we prefer the hard and proud way.

Every stone was turned, most of them several times, and in the end our captains had managed the small miracle in assembling 2 teams for the day. Big round of applause for both the brave captains and everybody who stepped in from retirement and other life related situations normally keeping them busy in the weekends. We even had 2 vets debuts in Axel and Diogo, and a vets comeback by Enda.

And finally the weird repeating occurrences of sun and warm temperatures on match days had been replaced by the more familiar bipolar Belgian weather. Rain, sun, wind, hail, repeat. All set for the match.

The venue for the day was the old and prestigious stadium Trois Tilleuls/Drie Linden, once built for the football club Racing Club de Bruxelles, about 10 times the capacity that was needed. It was full only on the opening game versus AC Torino on 11th November 1948. Yes, the very same Torino team that perished in a plane crash just 4 months later, in March 1949.

Back to Vets2, who found themselves in a changing room as big as the bar in Nossegem, with a massage table and a big tactics blackboard. Both remained unused on that day.

Oscar presented the challenge of the day – finish the game with no injuries. He remained realistic about the task ahead, but he wanted to at least give Watermael a run for the money. A big roar rose up as the Vets2 warriors drove to the pitch as being led by William Wallace. (this may only have happened in the writer’s imagination)

Lineup was something like a 4-4-1-1:

Ken (GK)

Alan-Enda-Bart-Patrick

Paddy-Joris-Axel-Alex (cue some confusion)

Diogo

Captain “Braveheart”

No subs. No injuries, please.

Game started with a composed approach by the greens, keeping the team shape and working hard on and off the ball. It quickly emerged that they had a skilled player in number 18 (oh no, not again… after THAT number 11), and Alan had a busy time as he was mostly active on our left side. There was something George Best like over him, as he would dribble someone (could have been Alan, but we name no names), stop and dribble the same player again. And again. Later it was told he was a futsal player, apparently that’s what those indoor playing fancy pants do.

Anyway, it did unfortunately not take as long as we had hoped before they scored the opener. A through ball on our left, a precise cross that was cleverly headed in by “the balded one”, another skilled player in the home team. But as much as all the opposition teams have found amazing ex-professionals to terrorize us, we have also found a resilience which has seen us come back from difficult spots before. No heads dropped yet.

Up front Oscar was leading the line and chasing balls, darting around their defenders and

keeping them busy. And he was receiving a fair share of knocks, which the referee either did not see or did not care about. He was mostly standing still in the center circle anyway, so probably not interested.

Up to this point the game was not too unbalanced, our midfield was working hard and tried to play quick balls forward as this seemed to be a way to breach their defence. Axel had a physical ruggedness combined with a decent eye for a pass. VanMalcot genes, so it seems.

But there were more goals in this game. And the second was a clever lobbed shot from far out, after keeper Ken was spotted out of position. (he later complained that all the lines in the box were confusing, but keepers are good in finding excuses)

Several decent combination from the greenies did not lead to great chances, the goal did instead come from a moment of brilliance from Oscar. He chased a ball that was strictly already lost, forced his way between the rugged defenders and as soon as he was goal side of them he unleashed an unstoppable shot that stroked the cross bar before stretching the net. Just like for William Wallace, giving up is not an option for Oscar.

2-1 and they were visibly concerned.

But it has to be said, their 3rd goal was excellent. A short pass forward from their midfield, and then a very tricky through ball between our central defenders that was more like an average Vets2 shot. Controlled mid air with the thigh and then a controlled lob over Ken who tried to run out to close the angle. One has to acknowledge quality, and this was quality.

At this moment the idea of getting something from the game started to dematerialize, a bit like when the memories were disappearing in the movie Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Or the image fading away in Marty McFly’s picture when he kissed his mother.

The rest of the game was probably entertaining to watch, less so for the greens who now were in damage control mode. A couple of the goals were in fact presents (Bart, we remain silent), so we could maybe have kept the score a bit prettier. But in the end there are no minus points in football, a loss is zero points and that’s it.

On a lighter note we had support from Matt Williams who had been to a scan and learned that his knees are in excellent condition. Currently the odds are 7-1 for him to appear vs the Brits. Fingers crossed, Matt.

Vets2 did not hesitate to seek to the bar, and glasses were raised several times for all good reasons. This group will not give up, and next time they will have to work a lot harder for the win that is for sure!

MOTM was Oscar

COYB*IG

*B=Vets

By: Ken Haetta

This time, our coach change the speech before the game. No need to warm up and we can concede goals during the first 5 minutes. I would say it was a good speech, because everybody was doing the opposite.

Good pressure, great pass (from the back to the middle, yes it was an amazing start …) between lines and some interesting option upfront. After 25 min, we decide that it was enough to contradict the coach. Honestly, it was not the case, ITT score a very nice and surgical goal.

From that moment, we totally lost our football for the next 10 minutes. It was the perfect timing for the halftime.

A good speech and positive comment from everybody. We decide to start the second half as we did  during the first one, but the second half was the longest one we “play” since the beginning of the season ( at least 45 min).

 

There were a lot of discussion, pause and discussion on every 5 min. The defense stay strong like a rock with our Goalkeeper on fire and a present and concentrated defense. The midfield decide to push higher and Oscar stays Oscar.

Receiving a fault ( even he still confirm that there was fault). We choose the perfect timing to score a goal with an amazing, not incredible free kick  from the left side….. with offside, no sorry no offside. After 5 min of discussion, the opponent convince the referee that there was offside.

But we convince again the referee that there was no offside, so the goal was validated. (I would agree that there was no offside and that Oscar’s goal was valid). The opponent was so edgy, that they score a second goal within 5 min.

We never give up and decide to play man against man at the back and let Spiderluuk free on the pitch. We had some good chance but we were not able to equalize. Itt Gecko stay strong at the back and score the 3-1 in the last 10 minutes.

It was may be on of the best team we play this season, and our first “official” (special dedication to our Captain) home lost.

We get 4 Man of the Match, but the most important was to support our 1st ladies team against the best team in Belgium “STANDARD DE LIEGE” for ever.

On another gorgeous day to play football, adding yet another argument to the Belgian application to become the next holiday destination in Europe, Vets 2 found their way to a familiar venue, Rosières, famous for hard fought battles, great wins and some humiliating defeats at the hands of our favourite opponents, as well as for the pet cemetery nearby, to face Lorraine, a team that had been relegated last season and wanting to find their way back to where they thing they belong. Searching deep in the ocean of whatsapp contacts, Captain Oscar managed to replace injured players and stars on loan to Vets 1 by a new goalie, Javier, and by the tactical understanding of the game and the language skills of today’s reporter (if he was looking for quality, he had been searching elsewhere). So the Irish started with a mix of new, Javier in goals, and old (as in household names) Patrick, Alan, Laurent and Damo in defence,  Bart, Terry, Jacob in midfield, Jorg and Pascal on the wings supporting the lone ranger, Oscar. On the bench, Ken, António, and, just-in-case-someone-breaks-a-leg, Joris. Huge crowds came to support the BIG but in the end preferred to watch the first team on the opposite pitch. Speaking of preferences, Matt chose to watch old farts in shorts instead of young girls and soccer moms in bikini at Walibi. Just saying…..
 
Football has many unwritten rules, some of them were demonstrated yesterday at Rosières, as you will see below, eager reader. One of them states “Football is a game of two halves”. So true, but in the case in display here, the first half was 5 minutes long, while the second lasted for the remaining 65 minutes of the game. Confused? So were Vets 2 yesterday: paying attention to Oscar’s words before the game “let’s start the game focused, let’s not concede in the first minutes as we always do” the team did exactly the opposite and within 5 minutes the score was 2 nil down: the first after their striker nr. 11, picked a long pass, ran by Alan Norton as if he was on a bike to put it in, the second a shambles between Laurent and Javier, both under pressure by the same striker, with the ball finding its way into the net. Were our heads down, thinking WTF? No, because then the second half started (please read above). And we put on a string of passes in midfield to make use of Jorg on the right, who had a tremendous game, over and over again passing through their defence and creating chances, either by crossing to the second post, either (and more successfully) by passing the ball low to the edge of the box, where our first shot by Terry came from. Then it was Oscar, and Pascal (twice, one of them after three passes inside their box, in a lovely move) who tested their goalie (did you see that most of our shots were on target, only a few went wide?). After a few attempts the deserved goal finally came by Oscar, 2-1 and game on.
Lorraine, to be honest, look solid in midfield but shaky at the back. The real problem was their attacking duo, a 1,95 m tall striker, confident on the ball and clever in his positioning, and the above mentioned nr. 11, who remained too fast, too skilful and overall too energetic to the Irish defence. In a good connection with their left winger, he managed his way in the box and scored a third before half time. By then Patrick had already got injured and had been replaced by Antonio, and Javier had made two or three miraculous saves to keep us in the game.
Halftime came and the spirits were high. It was obvious that we were in the game, our passing game in midfield was paying off (the Bart-Jacob-Terry trio was in total control) connecting well with Jorg on the right and Oscar, who had moved to a more leftbound position. At that time, another change in tactics was being discussed on the sideline, examining the possible success rate of the introduction of a reducer in the game. For the ones less familiar with advanced football tactics and the concept of the reducer, it’s a position aimed at reducing (hence the name….) the impact of a player in a game, usually an opponent, this time targeting the famous nr. 11, although Mourinho famously used the same tactics with his own team in Inter Milan when he moved Samuel Etoo to the right full back position (and arguably doing the same now in ManU placing Rashford on the right side of the bench). Speaking of full backs, Damien was winning the battle of the left side of the pitch, while Antonio did the same on the right, adding his poise to the game and initiating the move that turned out to be the 3-2: Laurent to Antonio to Bart, to Jorg, who got in the box yet again to cross it low to an incoming Terry who netted it nicely, doing a “Dave Verdon”. Now what’s a “Dave Verdon”, you ask? It’s a goal scored by the guy who thinks he’s the oldest man on the pitch! The man himself missed the momentous event as he was watching the firsts thrashing their opposition.
So, 3-2! After our second, we went for the equalizer, which should have come from a Maradonesque move by Oscar,  dribbling their whole defence to see the ball passing 5 cms of the wrong side of the post. Having failed to score, another unwritten rule of football kicked-in: “if you don’t score, you will concede”, and so we did, courtesy of “you know who”, a Brazilian player who had failed the cut to the first team of Flamengo a couple of years back, migrating to Belgium as a consequence (not true, but adds a tropical flair to the story, doesn’t it?). 4-2…. when, all of a sudden, in another collective move, Jacob does a “Ian McConnell”! Yes, a “Ian McConnell”! (to the not so familiar with FC Irlande footballing practices, a “Ian McConnell” is a goal scored by the player who’s ACTUALLY the oldest on the pitch). 4-3, and only 10 minutes to go. The tension on the sidelines was as thick as the non existent fog, can we pull it off? In the end we couldn’t despite the change in tactics (and subsequent introduction of the reducer, aka Ken), because someone (need I say more?) decided to run through our defence another 4 or 5 times, scoring the fifth on one attempt, hitting the crossbar on another and giving  Javier the chance to shine yet again in a superb dive. Final score, 5-3.
In the dressing room, the mood was light and cheerful, helped by the continuous inflow of  Jupiler, Leffe and AA drinks, as well as the vision of Jacob’s very classy shirt with light blue thin stripes- fashion is a statement, right gentlemen? Layers of mystery piled in when Alan refused refused a beer, and then a Leffe, as well as when Oscar saw himself voted MOTM, honours outside his reach even when he scores 3 goals in the same game.
The festivities continued through the evening and late night at Casa Miguel, please check whatsapp for pictures and recordings (I think there’s a YouTube viral success in one of them).

Seldom will the post-game beers have tasted as sweet as last weekend and seldom will a draw have been hailed – quite as justifiably so – as a win as this one.

 

It was that time of the year again when hundreds of excited sports fans travel to Nossegem from far and away to celebrate the high mass of competitive and high level sports that is a Vets2 home game. Hundreds of parked cars lined the streets near the ground as well as the parking area created specifically for this occasion and across the street from this area was an actual camp site where hundreds more could be seen sitting by campers and caravans, cooling boxes and lunch packs at the ready, killing time before the main event at 3.30. To stem the tide of anticipation, bored crowds can spell trouble, Nossegem city council had even organized a minor event in the form of a cyclocross race known locally as the “Patattencross” or internationally as the, ahum, “potato cross”.

 

As a result, parking near the ground was about as scarce as a flowing attacking move around Old Trafford, which meant that FC Irlande stars and opponents alike had to endure a longisch walk through the massed ranks of fans in order to reach the pitch. Most players had paid heed to Patrick’s and Oscar’s admonition to get to the ground in time. Pietro, however, could not park anywhere near the ground and in an effort to make up for lost time decided to sprint across the patch of cultivated land behind the Nossegem stand only to … pull a muscle. Having only just recovered from an injury and missed the previous game, it was a harsh blow to Pietro to have to pull out of another one. Legal counsel for FC Irlande are currently examining the merits of a potential tort case against Nossegem city to seek damages.

 

Vets2 had no fond memories of the encounters with Chenois in the previous season, having lost both, and were hell-bent on getting a result against a team that had proven to be pretty good but by no accounts unbeatable. While the team had certainly defended well in previous games this season, the number of chances created left quite a bit to be desired so Oscar decided on a more attacking line-up, preferring a 4-3-3 to the usual 4-2-3-1 formation, the idea being to push more players forward when in possession. The line-up was very much familiar to the home crowd, though Paul Janknegt (on loan from Vets1) was handed a Vets2 debut on this beautiful late summer or early autumn day. Roberto was back from London and started as sub.

 

Paul

Patrick – Laurent – Terry – Alan

Bart

Joris – Damien

Jörg – Oscar © – Pascal

 

R: Roberto

 

It would soon become clear that Chenois, if anything, had become an even stronger team than last year and for much of the first half this contest bore a worrying resemblance to the first rounds of the famous boxing match between Messrs. Stallone and Lundgren in the hit movie Rocky IV. The Irish would not, unexpectedly and inexplicably, come back to win the bout and cry out for Adrian, but, as will become clear, the outcome of this particular contest would be every bit as thrilling. Indeed, after having conceded early on, a brilliant finish in the top corner after a daring run through the Irish defense by one of Chenois’ top players (no. 6), the men in green spent most of the first half in the ropes, trying frantically to ward off the barrage of blows dealt by the opposition. Truth be told, the Irish had started the game quite lethargically and the opposition were given too much space around the pitch, especially in midfield where Joris, Damien and Bart were struggling to contain the Chenois midfielders, which meant pressure on the Irish defence was massive and constant, Paul J having to come up with several great saves to ensure the men in green were still in with a chance. Having said that, the defence led by an excellent Terry and Laurent from the centre and manned on the wings by a very solid Alan and Patrick worked tirelessly all afternoon to deal with the threat posed by Chenois’ attacking force, especially the no 13, a former P2 player it would become clear after the game.

 

The early goal served to shock the team into reaction mode and for a spell the Irish were building neat moves down either wing involving Jörg, Pascal and Oscar. One such move saw Oscar through on goal after a brilliant through-ball by Pascal, but the shot went just wide of the post. Pascal had another long-range effort stopped and a few corners were earned that yielded no real chances, but in the end the half ended with Chenois leading by a goal.

 

A brief but decisive consultation between Oscar and Ken (Age Haareide) Haetta, delegate for the day, led to the decision to revert to the familiar 4-2-3-1 formation with Roberto coming on for Pascal on 36 minutes, Rob moving into the number 10 position and Damien moving wide, a move that would prove providential later on in the game.

 

The second half proved – literally – to be an uphill battle, the men in green trying to claw a way back into the game and Chenois looking to finish off a dazed opponent. What had seemed inevitable for long stretches of the games happened 10 minutes into the second half, when a Chenois striker finished a neat move for the 2nd goal. Now, many teams may have caved in at this point but not the Irish. Having nowt to lose and all to gain, the men in green stepped it up another gear and tried to turn the tables. When Terry went on a great run down the Chenois right flank and combined neatly with Oscar, the latter found space in the box and rifled a  very nice low shot past the goal keeper. 1-2, and game on! Chenois were only mildly rattled and continued to look for the goal that would effectively kill the game but time and time again the Irish defence and Paul came to the rescue, in fact the entire team put up an incredibly gutsy performance to stay in contention. The unexpected reward came towards the end of the game when Vets2 earned a free-kick in the centre circle, where many heroic battles had been fought by the Irish midfield, one of which nearly left Joris a few joints short of a full set. Bart’s long ball over the top was missed by a Chenois defender and sailed towards the left side of the six-yard box, where all of sudden Damien – bruised and battered after another brutal encounter, with a “tool box” at home – materialized; milliseconds after the ball was in the back of the net, leaving not just the opposition stunned to be honest. A great goal by all accounts by Damo – “no typo” as swiftly assured by Director of Football Paul Staunton after the game – though at the time of going to press it was not quite clear whether Damo actually lobbed or Ibra-kicked the ball into the net. Then again, who cares ! Two-all !!!!

 

And so the game finished on a high for the men in green. Full credit to Chenois for showing true sportsmanship after a game that should have been won and would have been won deservedly. Chenois are a great side, with, arguably, only 2 great players, but when the other 9 range from either good to (mostly) very good, you are still in for a tough game indeed as a team. The men in green stumbled to the sidelines to have a picture taken after a truly brave performance and after having won a point that was deserved for the sheer effort and determination shown by each and every Irlande player on the pitch.

 

Paul J deservedly won MoTM by a large margin, with Laurent (outstanding since the start of the season) a well-deserved runner-up. This draw felt like a win indeed and it may just be the point to kick-start the season for Vets2.

Last Saturday saw Vets2 travelling to Cornac Utd in high spirits. The sun was shining, we had beaten them twice last year, (once a hard fought win; once an easy rout with some assistance from Vets 1 players), we had a strong squad (though missing Terry who had been claimed by Vets 1 and got MOTM) and most, importantly, there is a frietkot next to the pitch.
Soon after arrival, however, things started going south. Alex was lost in public transport at the other side of the city and Pietro had to pull out due to an injury he got at training (rumour has it it was linked to a poor pass by Bart). That meant we had no subs and the following line up
Ken
Patrick​​Luuk​​Laurent​​Alan
Bart​​Joris
Jorg​​Jakob​​Pascal
Oscar
And the first minutes didn’t show any improvement. A well taken corner kick by the opposition resulted in Vets 2 being 1-0 down after 2/3 minutes. Perhaps our marking could have been better but the corner was well taken and their tallest guy headed it in really well.
After this set back, Vets 2 started playing football. Luuk managed to convince Bart and Joris that instead of our usual approach of hoofing it to Oscar and hope he makes something out of it, we should try to play football with short combinations through the middle. And this approach worked really well. Luuk did an excellent job playing the ball to midfield from where we could feed our wingers Jorg and Pascal. At times, this possession game even allowed Alan – who was playing at left back – to move up close to the opposition’s goal. With the exception of a through ball on Oscar (called off for offside) and a shot/cross by Alan that was put wide by Jorg, we did not create that many chances though the opposition was clearly on the back foot.
Their attackers, particularly their right forward, remained a threat throughout the first half; also because our “footballing” contained an element of risk, especially when Luuk tried to dribble from his center back position, lost the ball and then let go a sigh of relief when their attacker put it wide.
Towards the second part of the first half, the pressure started paying off. A nice combination involving Alan, Joris, Jakob, Pascal and Patrick resulted in a shot by Jorg that went just wide. A bit later, Bart put Pascal through on goal but their goalie stopped the ball outside the penalty area and with his hands. To our surprise, the goalie was only given a yellow.
1-0 at half time it was but Vets 2 continued the second half as they finished the first one. Thanks to the good defending by Luuk, Laurent and Bart, Joris could move higher up the field and Alan and Patrick also moved up higher on their wings, at times playing as left/right wingers rather than backs. While Vets 2 put a lot of pressure on the opposition, we did not create many chances as the nice midfield football meant we could not put our striker Oscar in a goal scoring position (in fairness, their central defenders did a good job covering Oscar).
With the exception of one counter by the opposition that resulted in a header saved by Ken with an arm reflex, all the action was on the opponent’s half. Our best chances were probably when Jorg was through on goal alone but put it wide and when a cross to Oscar was just too high but it turned out not to be our day and the game ended at 1-0.
All in all a very good performance by the team (arguably the best football we have played in the past years) which was also reflected in the voting with basically everybody getting votes. Bart was MOTM with Jakob being a good second. Yet, we didn’t score (and we didn’t win) it might be better to return to Plan A for the next games and simply hoof it forward hoping that Oscar does something with it.

At the Start of Autumn it usually rains in Belgium. So the Captains had to come up with additional goodies to lure the best players to sign up for the game. The captain succeed in his mission with the promise to bring good weather and organise a BBQ. It worked. We had a very strong starting team indeed.

Goals : Ken
Defence : Pietro, Laurant, Luuk  Demo
Midfield: Bart, Joris, Pascal, Jorg, Jacob (Terry)
Forward : Oscar (Alex)

Missed for the game and BBQ : Alan N

Before the game started the captain had done his homework and informed us on the insightful outcome of a deep dive analysis based on the game results of the Vets2 teams from the last couple of years. The outcome of this analyses will probably put football in a complete new perspective and will change the game for-good. Cruyff, Pele and Eusebio would be jealous to only know a little bit of these insights. Therefore I will summarise the outcome here for everybody to keep it in mind  and bring it along for each game :

1) If you score 2 or more goals you have a good change of winning the game.
2) If you do not score, your probability of loosing increases.
3) If you concede 2 or more goals there is a high change of you loosing the game.

Equipped with this new knowledge the team was extra motivated to deliver upon the new insights. In contrast to our last game we where well up for it in the first 15 minutes. Some strong passes from Pietro on the right leaded to the first chances. Jorg on the right wing had an amazing day a slalomed trough some defenders to give an excellent cross. However the first half ended 0-0

The motivational speeches during half times prepped us for an other good half. The second half though did run a bit less smooth then the first half. The opposition was getting stronger. Defence however did an excellent job. Laurant put in some sharp slidings and Bart put in a strong tackle which was by accident seen as a fault by the referee. Jorg who had a very strong performance had probably the best chance of opening the score for the Vets2. He just missed. In the last 5 minutes Joris had a good shot on goals as well. The ball perfectly aimed at the lower crossing was put out by the goalkeeper with his fingertips.

So, we ended the game with a 0-0 draw. This was a fair score confirmed by club legent Antonio N who was supporting vets2 this day.

We however celebrated the draw as a win and the beer was flowing richly. The best part of the day came at the end. The team had voted 4 man of the matches by coincidence.  So more beer and more celebrations.

Vets 2 had an early kick off (12.30) out in Anderlecht for their first away game of the season. Expectations were high after starting the season with a 3-1 win last week. Only 12 names on the team sheet with a couple of players carrying colds (Bart and Joris) but still a good, solid squad: Ken in goals; Pietro, Luke, Terry and Laurent at the back; Joris, Jacob, Antonio and Pascal in midfield and Oscar and Jorg upfront.

 

Vets2 starting off incredibly sloppy! in fact, the first 10 minutes of the game saw almost every player making mistakes – poor control and bad passing! This culminated in a defensive error gifting Aema vets their first goal. A poor pass by Joris in midfield gave the opposition the option of a ball over the top to test Irlande’s defence. The long high ball was totally misjudged by Terry which allowed their forward in to finish and go 1 up. Oscar made an immediate change by switching (I’m a wanderer) Luke with Laurent. Wake up time for Vets 2. Antonio suffered a hamstring injury and was replaced by Bart who ended up playing left back. Luke was switched again to left midfield now – he certainly gets around!

 

This proved to be a turning point in the game though and Vets 2 woke up and finally started playing some football. Soon we were back on level terms when Oscar finished off a fine move and kept his composure in the penalty area to draw us level. Half time 1-1 – spirits were up.

 

Irlande dominated the second half but lacked creativity in the attacking third. Against the run of play, Aema went in front again from a cross come shot outside the box. We all watched in slow motion as the ball dropped into the net as a ‘pedestrian’ Ken back peddled. Back the Irish came again though with Oscar once again proving his man of the match award with another goal after a persistent run in the opponent’s box. 2-2 with 18 minutes to go – the win was there for the taking. Vets 2 put the press on the opposition but could not penetrate effectively to create a clear scoring opportunity. Aema’s defence were all over the place when Oscar was fouled on the edge of the box, no whistle from the referee but the ball fell to Pascal who should have run straight at goal but ‘fair play’ Pascal kicked the ball out of play since Oscar was down -we are such a fair team……at times too fair!

 

Aema’s attackers (6 and 11) were still causing problems though with counter attacks. To our surprise one such attack stretched our defence and after a cross the ball ended up on the edge of our box, their captain spun and hit a high shot into Vets 2’s net – 3-2 to the home team! After all our domination, how could we concede 2 goals! Once again we went chasing the equaliser but time ran out and we were left dejected – we certainly deserved a point from this match! We all felt that we could and should have won this game.

 

Since there was no bar on site, Vets 2 retired to a bar across the road called the Mew Faufadet. Spurs v Liverpool live on tv and leffe blond on draft set the scene for a nice few post match drinks. On top of that we had the best service ever with free salami, nuts and a bar maid with piercings, tattoos and a pair of pecs to match them! We thought she deserved a place on Vets 2 whattsapp but Bart had great difficulty in pressing the right button to get a photo – there was even some spillage at this point! Never a dull moment with Vets 2!

After a long break and an international competition which show that not every team members has the same analyse of what is efficient football and nice football, Vets 2 meet at Nossegem for a new season.

« New »can also be applied to the captaincy with Oscar who succeeded to Bart.

New policy too in the pre-match speech when Oscar insisted about positive and constructive encouragements and talks during the match. A new way of communication in which Alan didn’t understand than it could also be applied to the opposition (mention in the second half of the match)

New strategy too : our new captain took his inspiration in the world cup with a certainty : success will come with a strong defence and fast players upfront who will surprise the opposition, whatever the aestheticism of this strategy. So to achieve this plan, Oscar decided to copy the actual reference in his player selection.

Starting Line:

N’Golo KENté

Pietro BIENVENUmtiti Adil RamiCHOT Terry WAIThauvin Raphael VarALAN

Hugo LJORIS Kilian MBARTpé

Damo HEGARTuidi Pascal HERMANdanda Antonio PavarGIU

Oscar SANCHernandes

Of course, this starting team is completed with a strong bench:

* Paul JORGba

* Thomas LeMATTHEW

* Jacob HANSEmbélé

The opposition of the day (Jettoise amicale) was composed by a strong attack but a brittle defence; a bit like Uruguay.

So, let’s talk about the quarter-finale… Heu… about the match.

During the first ten minutes, the game was mostly in our side. FCI players were a bit shy, refusing to go in contact of their opponent. So Jettoise used this liberty to keep his chance. But every time, a foot, a head or our keeper’s good positioning prevented theirs tries.

Full of trust, Jettoise played higher on the policy until the two-time punishment. The wingers, Damo and Antonio, and Oscar used their sense of passes to surprise the apathetic defence of Jettoise to keep Pascal in great condition to score twice. Two occasions = two goals: it never happened before in the Vets2 history (Information confirmed by our fans of the day and historians of the club: Paul, Jan and Terry). After this lesson of realism, Jettoise didn’t play so high and the first half finished just after a missed chance from FC Irlande to kill the game.

For the second half, our three subs joined the game and our midfield.

The rhythm was a bit higher than the first half (slower wasn’t possible…) with an opposition who tried to get back in the match. But our defence, one more time, didn’t let them trust that they can be back in the game. Every time, Terry’s placement, Pietro’s covering, Laurent’s tackles and Alan’s fighting spirit stopped their ambitions. And if this wasn’t enough, Ken was here, especially with an amazing dive on this left that T. Courtois wouldn’t have denied.

A third goal was the answer to finish this game in serenity. As a responsible captain, Oscar used the weakness of the opposition’s defence to open his goal counter.

After that, nothing special except three little events:

* In a desperate long shot, Jettoise scores a goal just under the bar to deprive FCI of a clean-sheet.

* Alan proved that Saturday’s sport isn’t every time the best moment to make some new friends.

* Matthew and Pascal started a Olivier Giroud challenge for the best miss of the day (The jury is still in discussion to choose the winner)

So, 3 – 1 at the end of the match. A decent two stars display to start this new season.

After that, it was time to return to Vets 2 traditions: shower, beers and, of course, MOTM: A good re-starting game for every team members; but Pascal was, so, in charge of the round of beer.

P.S.: As requested by Oscar, you can see that the word « France » has never been used during this match report!

All fixtures and results

#1 September 8, 2018 FC Irlande Vets 2 3 - 1 Report Jettoise Amicale
#2 September 15, 2018 Aema Veterans 3 - 2 Report FC Irlande Vets 2
#3 September 22, 2018 FC Irlande Vets 2 0 - 0 Report Fauborg – Brainoise
#4 September 29, 2018 Cornac United 2 1 - 0 Report FC Irlande Vets 2
#5 October 6, 2018 FC Irlande Vets 2 2 - 2 Report Chenois 3
#6 October 13, 2018 Lorraine 4 5 - 3 Report FC Irlande Vets 2
#7 October 20, 2018 FC Irlande Vets 2 1 - 3 Report ITT-Gecko
#8 October 27, 2018 Watermael CS 7 - 1 Report FC Irlande Vets 2
#9 November 3, 2018 Pharma SC 4 1 - 3 Report FC Irlande Vets 2
#10 November 10, 2018 FC Irlande Vets 2 3 - 5 Report Entente RACB 2
#11 November 24, 2018 FC Irlande Vets 2 - Saint George RCS 5
#12 December 1, 2018 Jettoise Amicale - FC Irlande Vets 2
#13 December 8, 2018 FC Irlande Vets 2 - Aema Veterans
#14 December 15, 2018 FC Irlande Vets 2 - Brussels British 6
#15 January 5, 2019 FC Irlande Vets 2 - Watermael CS
#16 January 12, 2019 Fauborg – Brainoise - FC Irlande Vets 2
#17 January 19, 2019 FC Irlande Vets 2 - Cornac United 2
#18 January 26, 2019 Chenois 3 - FC Irlande Vets 2
#19 February 2, 2019 FC Irlande Vets 2 - Lorraine 4
#20 February 9, 2019 ITT-Gecko - FC Irlande Vets 2
#21 February 16, 2019 FC Irlande Vets 2 - Pharma SC 4
#22 February 23, 2019 Entente RACB 2 - FC Irlande Vets 2
#23 March 9, 2019 Brussels British 6 - FC Irlande Vets 2
#24 March 23, 2019 Saint George RCS 5 - FC Irlande Vets 2

FC Irlande Vets 2

  • Team Captain : Oscar Sanchez de Leon

Top goals scorers

  • Oscar 8
  • Pascal 2
  • Damo 1
  • Terry 2
  • Jacob 1
  • Luuk 1
  • Jörg 1

Top goals assists

  • Oscar 3
  • Jörg 3
  • Terry 2
  • Pascal 1
  • Bart 1
  • Patrick 1
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