FC Irlande Ladies 3
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.
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
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
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
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)
All fixtures and results
FC Irlande Ladies 3
- Coach : Francesco Naccarato
- Coach : Richard Rak
- Coach : Marie Morelle
- Captain : Marilena Zammit
- Captain : Sophie Lopez
- Captain : Alex Mccaffery
Top goals scorers
- Liza Dmitrieva 4
- Béatrice Ericson 1
- Marianne Van Weynbergh 1
- Catherine Ellwanger 1
- Ida Velthoven 1
Top goals assists
- Alex Mccaffery 2
- Adeline Thys 2
- Catherine Ellwanger 1
- Ida Velthoven 1