2024 starts for FC Irlande with the match against FC Saint Michel, and it could not have started in a better way. The team did not seem to start the match with optimal premises: one week without training, polar cold and lots of extra calories accumulated during the Christmas break. Or maybe they were the premises we needed to be extra focused on the match, and with Antonio on the bench, the team had an additional motivation to perform well.
The first half against Saint Michel is one of FCI’s most remarkable and best halves ever played. The first scoring opportunity comes from a corner kick with FCI trying to score on the first post, but the opponent’s goalie blocks the shot. The intensity, the focus, and the excellent play lead to two FCI goals in ten minutes. The first goal is produced by a combination between Freja and Beaty, with Freja assisting Beaty in scoring her first goal for FCI. The second goal borns on the right wing, from where Bea puts the ball in the penalty area and finds Ilana in the right position to get the rebound and score her first goal of the season. Saint Michel also tries to find its way to the goal, but all their attempts are stopped by Marina or crash against FCI’s defensive wall.
Ignoring the two goals scored and maintaining the intensity and focus are the keys for the second half and managing to bring the bacon home. Saint Michel is obliged to score and re-open the match. Compared to the first half, Saint Michel puts more pressure, but FCI does not stay in defence passively waiting for the opponent but goes in front to score the third goal. Saint Michel scores at the 81’ following a corner, making the last ten minutes electrifying but too late to equalise the game. The match finishes 2-1 for FCI, which conquers the second victory in a row and catches Saint Michel at the eleventh position on the table.
What a great way to start the year and the second half of the season. With the victory in the last two matches, we can look at this season with different eyes and be proud of what we did. We are pleased with our achievements but still hungry to obtain more. In the next matches, it doesn’t matter how hard they will be, we will try to do our best and bring some points home with more confidence, thanks to the progress we made and the results we got.
Player of the match: Marina
FCI Ladies III closed this magical FCI weekend that saw all the three ladies teams remaining undefeated, playing, on 10 September, a crucial match against Saint Michel. It was a hot match, not only for the infernal temperature but also for the meaning behind this game. Last year, the match against Saint Michel represented our first win in the league, and also, this season, it represents a good opportunity to make some points.
FCI starts the match focus and maintains control of the match in the initial part of the first half while Liza is warming up her feet with some shots towards Saint Michel’s goal. But a moment of blackout in the FCI defence allows Saint Michel to score the match’s first goal. This goal hits FCI emotionally, and the team seems to lose focus and compactness. Consequently, Saint Michel starts attacking more and finds the second goal. Saint Michel goes close to the 3-0, but Eva, thanks to her traineeship as a goalkeeper, saves the ball on the line. Saint Michel shows to be able to be dangerous in other occasions but Freja, at her first game with FCI, stops them.
The second half starts with the results of 2-0 for Saint Michel. FCI finds again the spirit willing to overturn the score. After taking a ball on her face and a quick break to recover, Alex draws an outstanding pass to launch Liza, who, in front of the goal, cannot miss the chance to score. Galvanised by the goal, FCI puts more pressure on Saint Michel’s defence. On the left side, Ade provokes a mistake of the opponent’s defenders in the penalty area, where Liza takes the ball, dribbles the goalie and scores the equaliser. Liza, in a state of grace and the brightest star that could adorn our Christmas tree, scores again, completing her hat trick. In the match’s last minutes, FCI concedes a goal from a corner-kick, almost identical to the one of the previous match. The final whistle ends the match with the results of 3-3.
The match was an emotional roller-coaster. We went from losing to winning and at the tying. It’s the first point of the season, and we are happy about it. Still, an aftertaste of disappointment is undeniable, especially how the match developed and the last goal arrived. Today’s constant was Freja between the goalposts, who miraculously saved the team on multiple occasions. Details will determine the result of our matches this season, constant focus and dedication will be the keys to bring the result home.
Player of the match: Liza