FC. Saint-Michel A
It was THE game to win for FCI Ladies II. Facing Saint-Michel, a team with almost identical stats, both teams having gained 7 points in their previous 7 battles.
A strong squad of FCI was set to play the 4-3-3 with a full bench ready to support, and heroic Flavia, who volunteered to go in the goal in the absence of Mariana.
A long and structured warm up and encouraging speech from the coaches and captains followed just before the kick off.
It is hard to tell if it was due to the sudden first minute goal of Saint-Michel or other factors, but Ladies II could not maintain focus, gain or keep the ball in the first half. The girls went into duels halfheartedly and gave a rather timid impression as a team. Saint-Michel smartly exploited the passiveness of the opponent, earned the phycological advantage by showing stronger presence, and even though they did not create many dangerous situations, the first half of the match ended 0 – 2.
The second half started somewhat better for green, with Ladies II getting more into the game. Even after Saint-Michel’s 3rd goal, the girls in green kept fighting. The 1 – 3 was set by Jenny after a good run and dribble by Francesca, who gave the assist in the 75th minute. 5 minutes later Elena scored Ladies II’s second goal of the game by a well timed and great looking header after a corner.
Sadly, the remaining 10 minutes were not enough to turn the game or equalize and the match ended with a bitter 2-3 score.
Ladies II have talent and have shown this in previous games. The ladies will work very hard in the next weeks as they will face three top opponents in a row now. Improving technique, tactics, communication, and further nurturing team spirit and fighting spirit will all be key to face the best of the table. No doubt that the players, if they want it, are fully up to this challenge.
However, this game against Saint-Michel, an opponent with equal records, will remain a missed opportunity. They simply wanted it more.