Lorraine RFC 2
19th February 2022 saw one of the most deserved, hard-fought and team-driven wins of the season for FC Irlande. Still threatened with relegation, the boys in green knew there would be no room for mistakes against a highly in-form La Lorraine side, ranking 2nd before kick-off and on an impressive winning streak.
The boys in green had a very conscientious and diligent start under the sunshine and high winds of Nossengem (quick edit : Where is Nossengem ?). They strived for a clean passing-style style football, while being pragmatic and not hesitating to hit hard and fast in counter-attack. That good start was rewarded halfway through the first half as Ama, well set by a Ryan-Julian combination down the left-hand side, angled in a perfect low cross towards the penalty spot which found an opportunistic yet clinical Gaby. 1-0 to Ireland.
Following that opening goal, FCI remained compact and industrious, although having more and more difficulty holding the ball, and somehow losing that midfield control. In goal for Ireland, Tancrède nonetheless remained completely out of trouble as La Lorraine did not manage to break even once through the green back four. It is only at the very end of the first half, in a split second, that a La Lorraine striker managed to get past three FCI players on the edge of the box and triggered a sudden first post shot, catching Tanc and the whole FCI team unaware. 1-1 at halftime.
The greens came back into the second half with the same dedication and diligence. Aware of their superiority on the ground, they in addition turned the frustration of the equalizer into that extra bit of togetherness and hunger. That soon paid off as a cheeky flick from Dastan at the heart of La Lorraine’s box forced his counterpart to a commit a handball mistake. Penalty. Tension was then maximal, also in light of the 2nds’ recent misfortunes with penalty kicks. A cold-blooded Julian nonetheless brilliantly converted the try, fooling the gigantic LL (Cool J ?) keeper with a clean shot down the bottom right-hand corner of goal. 2-1 Ireland.
The remaining 25 minutes of the game saw a harsh and disputed fight in midfield, as a few heated LL players were sometimes guilty of dirty and dangerous gestures. An extra-cautious ref ended up distributing both teams the equal amount of yellow cards (3), in a game which he otherwise handled well. La Lorraine approached Ireland’s goal maybe once or twice in this final part of the game. They however never managed to create a single real chance, thanks to a rock solid team-block a back four. FCI finally held the result and secured a vital win with guts and amazing team spirit, almost certainly (though not mathematically) guaranteeing its Abssa 2 position for next season.
(Also, Matteo got elected MOTM and DOTM in the same game, a very rare performance ! This accomplishment can be compared to winning an MVP award and a DPOY award in the same season)
On that beautiful autumnal day, the 2nds played in Rosières against la Lorraine 2, with the evergoing ambition to get their first victory of the season. The game started quite well for the boys in green, with good pressure in the midfield giving the impression there was only one team on the pitch. Quick and long passes easily found the space behind their last line. After some first dangerous but unfruitful situations in the box, a long ball by Brioche saw Gabe make a run and deliver a cross to Benji who skilfully shot the ball in the back of the net with a neat volley. 1-0 for Ireland.
This then led to the unfortunate repetition of the previous games, with lower intensity and lack of concentration. Not more than 5 minutes later, a poor pass from our box ended up directly in the feet of their striker who just had to run few meters and had all the time in the world to shoot. 1-1 at half time.
The second part of the game was very different with a much more balanced and open game. Both teams had some good chances to take the lead but keepers and strikers’ clumsiness kept the score as it was. Misfortunate also came in, as an injured Clément had to get out. Due to an injury Luis was also limited in his movements only few minutes after he appeared on the pitch but had to keep his position as no more substitution was possible. The reshuffled team suffered in the end of the game, with multiple chances for the opposition to score. Heroic defending and a bit of luck led to a deserved point but still no desperately needed victory. Final result 1-1.