On Sunday, 18 February, after a weekend spent without football but testing their skills as Elite Agents, FCI comes back on the pitch to challenge FC Kosova Schaerbeek.
The start of the match is not one of the greatest. Thanks to the game’s first action, Kosova obtains a corner kick that will lead to the game’s first goal after only 2’. Maybe still shocked by the strong start of Kosova, FCI conceded another goal due to some confusion between the defence and the goalie, bringing the result to 2-0 at the 10’. After these nightmarish 10 minutes, FCI raises its head and starts playing. Adjusting positions on the pitch to control Kosova’s ball circulation better shows to be a good tactic, particularly the man-marking of Anna on the number 15, the source of the most insidious passages of Kosova. FCI created various scoring opportunities thanks to the attacking combinations between Liza and Cath. In particular, on three occasions, FCI strikers, with the complicity of the opponent’s goalie, go close to scoring a goal that would reopen the match. Despite the good chances, the first-half finishes 2-0.
FCI starts the second half as it ended the first, focused and determined not to concede other goals to Kosova, trying to find a way towards goal to open the match. FCI almost succeeds in its purpose and closes the second half without conceding a goal, but at 84’, Kosova find the goal that closes the match with the result of 3-0.
This match closes the terrible series of matches against the top three teams in the league. Even though they all turned into a loss, we are satisfied with the team’s overall performance, especially in the matches against Waterloo and Kosova. If we put into practice what we learned during these challenging games, we can bring some points home. As many football coaches say, the matches from now on are all finals that must be played with courage, focus and determination.
Player of the match: Alex
On Sunday, 4 February, FC Irlande Ladies III played against the second-in-league Waterloo Lions, potentially first, considering that they have two matches less compared to Maccabi, which is, as of today, at the top of the league.
In the mind of the team, the Napoleonic experience in the away match was still vivid. Despite these memories, FCI wanted to give everything during the match, fearlessly playing against one of the best, if not the best, teams in the league.
The first 20 minutes of the match are played impressively well by FCI, evening the odds against Waterloo. Despite the opponent’s excellent technical skills and accurate net of passes, FCI keeps its head up and fights back, trying to be dangerous and find space, especially on the wings. However, at the 22’ and 26’, Waterloo scores its first two goals of the match. After these two goals, FCI pulls itself together again and prevents Waterloo from scoring additional goals during the first half.
The second half starts dramatically. Just entering the field, Waterloo scores two other goals at the 46’ and 49’, bringing the match to 4-0. Maybe due to fatigue, extra-field injuries or Waterloo’s extra motivation, FCI seems to struggle to stay in the game. And Waterloo scores its fifth and sixth goals of the match, respectively, at the 71’ and 75’. But, unlike Napoleon, FCI does not surrender and scores a consolation goal with a free-kick taken by Liza, on which the goalie does not impeccably intervene. The goal might seem useless in relation to the final score, but it is important for the team’s morale, and every goal scored may be crucial at the end of the season for the relegation battle.
The Maccabi match result (6-0) and this one (1-6) could be numerically similar, but the team’s performance could not be more different. Other than the goal scored, in this match, FCI was more solid and effective both in the offensive and defensive phases, able to develop various interesting playing combinations. As in the away game, Waterloo had to do something peculiar with their goalie (not as strange and peculiar as allowing the goalie to go to the toilet during the match). This time, Waterloo just changed the player in goal while the game was still on, but as last time, we did not take advantage of the situation.
Player of the match: Alicia
Saturday, 27 January, FC Irlande played against Maccabi Brussels, a fast and technical team that got relegated from P1 last season.
The match starts on a bad note for FCI by granting a penalty to Maccabi. However, Freja stops excellently the shot. Maccabi puts constant pressure on FCI’s defence, mainly thanks to its speed on the wings and in the passes, leading to Maccabi’s first two goals that come in rapid succession. Two shots from outside the penalty area, impossible to stop. The third and final goal of the first half arrives from an own-goal.
The second half does not differ much from the first one, with the same number of goals conceded, even though in a different manner. FCI tries to play a bit and not exclusively defend, but finding space in attack is not easy, and except for some offensive incursions, no major dangers are produced. The match finishes 6-0 for Maccabi and some apprehension due to Freja’s conditions.
The match could have gone horribly worse, considering how difficult it was just to arrive there. It was not an essential match to win, but it is always important to play this type of match to have the possibility to face a technical and challenging opponent and try to do our best, knowing that we put our heart and spirit on the field, and some of us, also their head. The match should not considered a step backwards compared to the game against Saint Michel but a part of the process and progress.
Player of the match: Alicia
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
From the outset, the tone of this match was set, with fervent supporters, rhythmic drums, a hint of green smoke bombs, and the anthem, “FIGHT, WIN, FCI”, making it clear to Moreda that our sole objective was victory!
Our ladies squad kicked off the game with intensity, dominating from the opening minutes. Thanks to the strong and consistent pressure, we earned our first corner just seven minutes into the game. Despite a perfect shot from Pri, the ball failed to find the back of the net. It didn’t stop us, and our strong focus paid off two minutes later, forcing a mistake from Moreda and resulting in a penalty. Nawal executed a flawless shot, sending the ball into the net. We continued the first half with this 1-0 lead. Through right positioning and movements, we maintained control of the ball, creating numerous dangerous opportunities. Unfortunately, our long balls and high-energy team led several offside whistles from the referee, stopping us from any further goal. Our defence remained resilient, leaving Moreda without any scoring opportunities. The first half concluded with Moreda’s goalkeeper getting injured after facing one of our many goal attempts.
After the break, Moreda gained confidence, giving us some difficulties. It was the first time in the game that we experienced pressure from their side, coupled with a strong defence. But our motivation persisted, and we found the balance between energy and aggressiveness. Moreda halted a swift and threatening run from Dilara in the 70th minute. It was too risky, and it resulted in a yellow card and a free kick that resulted in a nice attempt by Nawal, yet the ball went straight into the hands of the goalkeeper. Three minutes later, our powerful offensive caused trouble for their defence, culminating in a foul on Beaty and a severe consequence: a red card! Once again, Nawal executed the free kick, this time finding Pri’s head to secure another goal. The final 15 minutes played out at 11 vs 10. Despite numerous occasions and a few corners, we couldn’t find the way to a third goal.
Ending the game with a 2-0, what a result to close out the year – not a gift from Santa Claus, but the result of the strength and dominance of our team! We conclude 2023 with our first well-deserved win of the season, poised for more victories in 2024, and ready to celebrate in style!
Player of the match: Priscila
It was an early wake-up for FCI that travelled to Wallonia to face Jodoigne. After the infamous match against Moreda, we were looking forward to playing some nice football and enjoying the game while, of course, trying to make the best out of it.
The match is very even from the start, with FCI creating some dangerous situations in the attack: in the first minutes, Dilara breaks free and manages to take a shot, but the ball goes wide. FCI puts their hearts, heads and even their faces in the game, as Bea proves in the early minutes by stopping a powerful shot at the edge of a box with her face. After the initial shock, it luckily turns out that beyond some blood and bruising, the injury doesn’t seem too severe. Nevertheless, she needs to leave the pitch, and FCI has to regroup to adjust to the situation. The game continues with chances at both ends and FCI plays well as a compact unit and does not allow the opposition too many clear chances. Yet some bad luck and other events lead to Jodoigne scoring just before the end of the first half. The first half then finishes 1-0.
With just one substitution left, FCI starts the second half aiming to come back into the game. However, this does not happen as Jodoigne manages to score three more goals in a relatively short period of time. The last one is a penalty, which is too powerful and precise for Cliona to stop. Despite it, FCI pushes on and manages to create more scoring occasions, especially towards the end of the match, but still none go in. The match ends 4-0 for Jodoigne.
While the result is obviously not what we hoped for, it was a good game to play on a nice sunny Sunday morning. And we could most definitely notice how much of a difference a proper, good referee can make by keeping the game fair and under control (he managed to sound kind enough even when requesting Bea “not to bleed on the ball”). Plus, we got some sandwiches and hot chocolate at the warm and cozy buvette. Now the gazes are very much already turned towards next weekend already when it’s time for a revanche against Moreda.
Player of the Match: Beaty
Played in a polar cold, the match against FC Moreda Uccle on Saturday, 2 December, was crucial for the relegation battle. Like FCI, the opponent was the only team not to have won a match this season and was determined to get some points.
At the beginning of the first half, FCI is surprised by FC Moreda’s aggressive start. Due to the chaotic attack of the opponent, FCI needs some time to enter the match and start playing. After this initial confusion, FCI finds confidence and focus and starts pressuring the opponent’s defence. Moreda’s defence carries out a coordinated and aggressive offside tactic that makes it extremely challenging to run towards the goal without being constantly whistled offside. Despite this tactic, Ida finds the right ball for Cath, who scores at the 28’. But four minutes later, FC Moreda scores the equaliser thanks to a through ball that cuts off FCI’s defence. FCI tries to be dangerous and scores its second goal of the game, but the first half ends with the result of 1-1.
FCI enters the pitch in the second half, determined to attack and avoid the offside trap. Marianne, Ida and Catherine manage multiple times to cut Moreda’s defence. Still, a great performance by the opponent’s goalie and not enough coldness in front of the door make the match remain 1-1. On the 60’, Ida finds a rift in the opponent’s defence and scores the goal that allows FCI to lead the match. A risky tackle in the penalty area allows FC Merode to obtain a penalty that is outstandingly stopped by Freja. From this moment, the second half is a long series of scoring chances for both teams. Finally, the last two minutes were chaotic, unseen and probably unrepeatable. FC Moreda is awarded a penalty at the 88’ that scores and finds the winning goal at the 90’. The match finishes 3-2 in quite a colourful way. In the end, we counted two red cards for us, one for Francesco and one for Alex, obtained in an extremely different manner.
This result might be one of the most disappointing ones in FCI history. Except for the first 10 minutes, we played well and, at times, dominated the match and deserved to get more than we did at the final whistle. All further comments will stay at the Funky; the only thing to do now is channel the anger and resentment for the matches we have ahead. The revenge will be in two weeks, and we have to make them understand what FC Irlande means.
Player of the match: Freja
On Sunday, 26 November, FCI played another great and exciting match against Nivellois.
Our ladies III start with focus and intensity, dominating the game for the first minutes; proof of that is the two shots in the 4 first minutes (by Liza and Anna). And in the following minutes, we keep shooting to the goal a few more times, also building a solid defence. Unfortunately, at the 22’, our striker Liza gets injured and needs to leave the pitch. A few minutes after Liza’s injury, Nivellois manages a counterattack and finds its way to the opening goal at the 26’. Nivellois creates another dangerous action, arriving with one of its players face to face with Marina, who blocks the shot with her feet. Despite the goal conceded, FCI keeps attacking and putting pressure on Nivellois. Marianne shoots from distance, but the opponent’s goalie stops the ball, producing a rebound. Ilana and Beaty arrive on the rebound, but the goalie succeeds in stopping the ball again. Antonia also tries to find the goal, but her attempts are unfruitful.
The first important action of the second half is created by Marianne, who runs into the box and shoots, but the goalie sends the ball out. A few minutes later, Marianne sends a nice cross into the penalty box, but no one is able to reach the ball. FCI also tries to score from set pieces with Dilara and Beaty. The last 10 minutes are quite intense. The opponent notices our fighting spirit and tries to waste time. This results in a yellow card for them, but they do not manage to make us lose focus. From the bench, we hear, “2 minutes left, give it all!!” and the team does. Unfortunately, FCI does not turn the scoring chances into goals, and the match ends 0-1.
We smelled the goal a few times and, hungry to score, we fought till the end. More and more, in the last 3 matches, we are not only defending, but we are also attacking and gaining control of the game. We had to concede some dangerous scoring opportunities as a consequence of attacking more. Our attacking pressure was so intense that Nivelles had to reinforce their defence in the second half.
Player of the match: Dilara
On Sunday, FC Irlande faced FC Ronvau Chaumont, a team 7th in the league. Except for some raindrops, the Belgian sky gave us some rays of sun and a perfect afternoon to play football.
FCI starts exceptionally well and takes control of the game from the first minute, and through passes and right movements, it creates dangerous opportunities and troubles for the opponent’s defence and goalie. Already in the initial phases of the match, we were smelling the goal that arrives at 9’. From the development of a corner kicked by Cath, Liza deviates, scoring her fourth goal of the season. A few minutes later, Liza takes advantage of a goalie’s mistake, catches the ball and shoots. But her attempt misses the goal. A foul conceded close to our defensive box allows Ronvau Chaumont to equalise the result from a free kick exquisitely executed by one of the opponents. After the goal, Ronvau Chaumont enters the same, and on multiple occasions, Marina saves the result with some outstanding blocks.
The break allows FCI to sort things out and regain control of the match. Compared to the first half, the teams concede less space and fewer dangerous scoring opportunities created by both teams. The second half is proof of solidity and consistency of intensity. Also, during the second half, Marina stops all the shots coming her way.
Unfortunately, FCI does not find the winning goal, but the reaction after the goal conceded, especially at the start of the second half, is an important sign of how the team managed not to lose its head and heart.
FCI has totally left behind its back the match against Kosova and is ready to gain more points and play with more confidence the rest of the matches of the season.
Player of the match: Marina
On Saturday, 11 November, we face SC Beauvechain, an opponent with confusing statistics. Also, it was the first time this season that we played on a muddy grass pitch. However, neither of these scared us.
We started focusing and quickly blocking the opponent’s first dangerous actions. Marina’s first action (and not the only one) was an amazing jump, clearing the ball and right after even a rebound. But that was not her only Superwoman jump of the evening (such a welcome back to the pitch!!!). With Marina on the pitch, Freja risks her usual position to a new attacking role like in this match, a role she showed to be well skilled, almost as well as her storytelling talent.
We had some difficulties in moving the ball up from our area. Sometimes, the long balls did not seem to reach our teammates, and it took us a few minutes to control the different behaviour of the ball in these pitch conditions. We also overcame this soon. We also created some dangerous action, one to remark: a block at the goal line by Alicia, clearing the ball out that Pri recovers and, dribbling a couple of defenders, brings the ball in front of the goalie that stops it. Despite our efforts, 2 goals reach our net (at 12’ and 39’), one with a headshot and the other from a rebound, and we go to the break with 2-0 on the scoreboard.
From minute 45 to 90, the team was even more focused on the game, giving it all in. In the beginning, we received a fault against. Marina’s knees saved the free-kick directed to the goal. The green ladies push stronger, and we get some interesting offensive actions: a great cross from Dilara to the opponent’s area; Freja receiving the ball and running into the box; Ilana receiving a through ball from Marianne, Ilana in front of the goalie that block the ball and put Ilana on the floor. Finally, we found the goal at 69’ thanks to Marianne. The last 15 minutes were a delight to watch from the bench (unsuitable for people with cardiac problems). We fought every second, dominated the game and had some chances to score; unfortunately, the opponent (min 83) found their third, closing the final result, 3-1.
Despite the result, I saw smiles and heads up, proud of ourselves. This last bitter savour was mitigated with a new model of DIY sandwiches.
I want to remark that we did not concede any goal from a corner for the second match in a row. We will bring many points home soon if we continue with this fighting spirit. Vamos FC Ireland! Many players got votes, just a sign that everyone’s performance in the scene was outstanding; let me mention them: Eva, Sophie, Alex, Alicia, Marianne, Anna, Beaty, Pri, Dilara, Mazz, Marina.
Player of the match: Marina
After three long weeks, FCI was finally back in action. Following the disappointment against Kosova, it was clear we needed to find the way back to playing our own game as a team. And that’s what we set out to do with our new/old formation and focused attitude as we welcomed R. Union Lasne Ohain to our home pitch.
FCI started the match rather nervously: Lasne Ohain were playing well together, creating dangerous pressure on FCI’s defence, which, after 10 minutes of play, resulted in a handball and a penalty for Lasne Ohain. However, what could have been an early setback turned into a stellar performance by Eva, our goalkeeper for the match: she was able to coolly dive in the right direction to stop the penalty, with the defence clearing the ball out. Yet, Lasne Ohain were relentless: they were able to keep the momentum on their side and scored their first goal soon after. Two others followed – but FCI didn’t give up and was determined to stay in the game. With each action, FCI was reading Lasne Ohain’s game better, defending as a compact unit, and even creating some good combinations in the attacking half.
In the second half, FCI was more and more in control, pushing Lasne Ohain back and not allowing them many dangerous occasions. One of such was saved by Alicia from the goal line, and while Lasne Ohain were able to score one more goal, the second half was a lot more even one. Towards the end, the FCI’s attack put a lot of pressure on Lasne Ohain’s defence, and Liza was able to create a scoring chance by shooting from outside the box.
The match ended 0-4 for R. Union Lasne Ohain, but the FCI ladies can be proud of their performance on the pitch. Against Kosova, we got exactly the same result, yet the two matches couldn’t be more different: this time, FCI was working as a team, keeping the distances shorter and the team spirit high. We didn’t let the score affect us but continued to play for each other, talking more on the pitch and giving it our all. And what is well worth mentioning is that our Achilles heel – corners against – were dealt with determination this time: Lasne Ohain had lots of corners (more than any of us could count), yet we didn’t concede directly from any of them. With this disciplined, solid performance, FCI is back on a better track with most of the season still ahead of us.
And what better way to celebrate such a match than with food? Luckily for us, Dakota had put her heart and effort into baking a huge pile of tasty pancakes that were the best possible prize for us (plus, we got sandwiches too, so it was quite a double prize).
Player of the Match: Eva
At Waterloo, FCI did surrender. On Sunday, 1 October, we met our destiny in quite a brutal way. The history book of the match was always repeating itself: through balls, long balls to cut the defence out, extremely challenging to stop their accurate net of passes.
Waterloo, we were defeated, they won the game. But we promise to fight forevermore. We could not score if we wanted to (even when there was not the opponent’s goalie on the pitch), knowing our fate was to be beaten by them. Finally, facing our Waterloo.
We tried to hold them back, but they were stronger, and it seemed that our only chance was to give up the fight. But we would only refuse, and even though we did not feel like we were winning when we were losing, we gave everything we could.
We lost 10-0, I suppose (we lost count at some point), and some of us were almost stuck in Waterloo, but we were facing a team that was much stronger than us, none of us got injured, and we probably played under one of the last sunny Sunday of the year. Not only we should learn from the tough game we played but also from our opponent and their triangles and efficient passing.
As Francesco said, our season will start with the match against Kosova, and as we showed against Saint Michel, we can get some points home against teams that are more or less at our level.
Player of the match: Alicia
The colder-than-usual temperatures recorded on Saturday 14th, October not only (probably) marked the onset of autumn but also, and more importantly, the true beginning of the season for Ladies 3. With a record number of players available, a strong squad was put together to face FC Kosova Schaerbeek and hopefully conquer precious points.
But we were aware that the opponent, victorious in their last match, wouldn’t make it easy on us. “This will be a tight match, so we need to stay compact and be focused from the first minute”. With Francesco’s reverberating words, FCI took to the field and started the much-needed warm-up. That was when a familiar (but way more tanned) figure appeared in the distance and greeted everyone with the candid voice we all missed: it was António!
This surprise set the tone for a powerful beginning. Dominating the game for nearly 20 minutes, FCI clearly made the passes “mean something” by exchanging the ball firmly and communicating in “many different languages”. The team tried to find spaces forward, and the offensive triad Béa-Liza-Antónia was able to create some danger.
However, despite the great quality delivered by FCI, Kosova found the space to score their first goal by getting the ball over Mariana at 24’. This unfortunate moment came as a shock for our team and the many supporters who came to watch. The game resumed with a seemingly stronger Kosova putting pressure on our defensive line, but our defenders and mid-fielders succeeded in blocking several attacks and shots. Nevertheless, the second goal for Kosova originated from a corner kick 10 minutes before the end of the first half.
Determined to challenge the 2-0 result, FCI started the second half with a more compact formation. But five minutes in, another goal was conceded from a corner kick, almost identical to the one of the first half (and, in fact, previous matches). FCI seemed to be struggling more during the second half, although a few offensive actions, among which a brilliant shot from a free kick by Liza, made us dream. The defence side counted on the relentless support of the whole team, with Eva risking her own life to (successfully) block a shot. If the result wasn’t already unfair, given the quality of FCI’s performance, another goal by Kosova at 80’, much in the same style as the very first goal of the match, sealed the final 4-0. The ten last minutes were dominated by FCI again, with Dilara carrying the ball forward and helping the offensive line. If the game had lasted more than 90 minutes, for sure, we would have seen the result turning in our favour.
The aftermat(c)h came with a certain feeling of frustration and no sandwiches. For a split second, we thought that it would have been a good idea to bring the extra sandwiches we got from the match that didn’t happen the previous weekend, but most of them were consumed after Monday’s training and neutralised during the subsequent days by our beloved captain Mazzi. But then, Dakota saved the day by serving delicious pancakes (thank you, Dakota!), which were later topped up by a surprise round of free beer.
Despite the result, it is undeniable that FCI is getting more comfortable with triangles and diamonds. The take-home messages, along with all the lovely people who came to support us, give us hope for better days. And trust us, the best is yet to come!
Player of the match: Dilara
On Sunday, 24 September, FC Irlande Ladies III faced Maccabi Brussels A, a club relegated from P1 last season.
The two halves of the match against Maccabi feel like two different games. While in previous matches, we tended to improve throughout them, this match was the opposite.
During the first half, FCI succeeds in remaining compact and focused, not leaving too much space for the opponent and responding to Maccabi’s physical challenge. Despite the opponent’s attacking pressure, FCI also creates dangerous scoring opportunities. Especially Bea, thanks to her speed and promptness, creates havoc on Maccabi’s defence and causes problems for their goalie. For the first time this season, FCI finishes the first half without conceding any goal but losing two players due to injuries.
The second half starts with the result of 0-0, but the draw does not last long. At the 48’, a penalty is called in favour of Maccabi. Olatz initially stops the shot, but Maccabi scores from the rebound. Five minutes later, Maccabi finds the second goal from a corner kick. The one-two hits FCI heavily, and remaining focused on the match becomes gradually more difficult. Another injury does not help FCI that starting the game with a full squad remains with only one change on the bench. Maccabi scores the other three goals, concluding the match with the result of 5-0.
The final result is highly disappointing, especially considering how we started the match. Obviously, we must learn from the mistakes of the second half, but we must recognise the effort and quality put in the first one. We also learned that Teresa has TWO ears, and she can use them really well. Thanks to these incredible tools that she has, she became the role model for everyone in the team willing to improve as much as she did compared to last season.
Player of the match: Dilara
A decimated FCI Ladies III faced, on 16 September, White Star Woluwe D, a tough match to play due to the quality of the opponent and the low number of changes available for FCI.
The script of the game is quite identical from the first until the last minute. FCI plays a defensive match, staying compact and focused on facing the White Star’s attack efficaciously. The defensive line, supported by the entire team, repels the attacks and frees the penalty area from dangerous balls. The determined and valorous defence has to surrender to a penalty. Gabi (I am sooo sorry, ladies) blocks a shot with her hand; the referee gives her a yellow card and awards a penalty to White Star, which does not miss the opportunity to score at 41’.
The second half starts with the result of 1-0, and FCI starts with the same team spirit and defensive intensity that characterised the first half. Despite FCI’s effort, White Star finds the second goal with an outstanding long-range shot at 55’. At 78’, Freja decides to do a kamikaze save, touching the ball with her hands outside the penalty box, which costs her a direct red card. With some adjustments in the formation, FCI keeps its compact defence and avoids taking another goal before the final whistle. The match ends 2-0 and with a White Star player sent off for her complaining (supposedly).
Throughout the match, FCI struggled to create offensive actions, find spaces forward, and maintain ball control. It was a match of sacrifice for everyone fighting and giving her best to help the team. Bright note: we did not take any goal from corners despite conceding quite a few.
Player of the match: Eva and Dilara (ex aequo)
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
Time has arrived to wear our green jersey, shin guards and boots again, ready to fight for this team we all love. It was not FCI season’s debut on 4 September against BX Brussels B, but this was the moment we were all waiting for… the first match in the league.
The first opponent of the season is a challenging one. BX Brussels B was playing in P1 last season, and it is supposed to be one of the best teams in the league. But, as proved throughout the previous season, FCI consistently delivers outstanding performances against strong opponents.
The beginning of the match is blocked. The teams cannot hurt each other and find their way to the match’s opening goal. The teams are well-organised and do not leave space for the strikers to sting. But, after the cooling break, BX Brussels finds two goals in quick successions on the 25’ and 28’. FCI has some chances to score the goal that will open the match again. In particular, thanks to Liza’s free-kicks, that allows FCI to put some dangerous balls inside the opponent’s penalty area, one of them almost finalised by Antonia. During the first half, we also witness a home supporter’s pitch invasion. It would be a regrettable fact if the invader had not been a lovely dog happily scampering on the field.
The second half starts with the result of 2-0 for BX Brussels, but FCI is determined to score a goal to get back into the game. As in the first half, the teams do not concede many scoring opportunities. FCI controls well in defence and goes up, trying to find some good shots. It is Béa to find the first goal of the season for FCI. With an incredible long pass, Alex finds Béa, who, with a long-range lob, gets over the goalie not perfectly positioned. (Béa claims to have scored with her eyes closed, and we like to think it is true). FCI goes close to the equaliser twice: first, with a free-kick from Liza that ends outside of a few inches, then with a shoot from Anna that from outside the penalty box tries to surprise the goalie. BX Brussels also goes close to scoring another goal, but the ball dancing on the line decides not to go inside the net. The match finishes 2-1 for BX Brussels, but FCI leaves the field with a solid performance.
The work in the pre-season training and matches has begun to bear fruit, and the new christmas tree formation makes the team more solid and consistent. Also, being the second season together for most of the players in the team, finding and trusting each other is easier. A bit more concreteness around the penalty area can make this season memorable.
Honourable mention also the unexpected wraps at the end match that set the bar high for future buvettes.
Player of the match: Alicia and Angela (ex aequo)