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Match report FC Irlande – League of extraordinary gentlemen – 05/02/2022, kick off at 14h00

Setting: A sunny but freezing Saturday afternoon on a wobbly Irish pitch

Pre-match: Saturday morning started of in good shape as the sun decided to show its face for the first time this year. This disoriented our Angolan defensive strong man Bono who struggled to find his way to Nossegem not recognizing any of the streets in the sunlight. The build up to the game was strengthened by the 2nd team who managed to pull off a 1-1 draw following a strong 2nd half performance.

Changing room:

Our tactical mastermind Alvaro Fortun was back in the changing room this week after a supposed Covid exclusion (although based on his tan some suspect he was back in his beloved Malaga enjoying Sangria for a few days…). Alvaro set the scene with a strong speech of which I struggle to remember the details. The main point was most probably press, press and press some more. A small but strong squad was available for the game with only 12 fit players with Luke and Alvaro as additional subs on the bench in case needed.

1st half:

A surprisingly strong wind gave a significant advantage to the Irish as the first half kicked off. Ireland dominated possession from the start with early chances lining up for the squad. A first shot from distance from Ruddy after finally a good lay off from the ‘to be’ DOTM Ari van Norel was followed by the potential miss of the season (although we have many) by Cillian Mcdonouhy?? who aimed to keep his 1 goal 1 match scoring tally in tact. A long shot by someone in team ricocheted of the bar into the path of Cillian Mcdonouhugh?? who did not quite have enough time to adjust the angle of his left foot in order to tap the ball into the back of the net from 2 yards out. Thus the match continued at 0-0. The extraordinary gentleman were not that extraordinary at all as they did not manage to string more than 2 passes together thanks to the pressing of FCI. Several half chances followed for Ireland with crosses and corners until real danger was created by Ari van Norel. Some good passing play led the ball into the feet of Ari at the edge of the box and he slalommed his way past a few gentlemen before launching a short distance shot straight at the keeper. At the Irish end Maxi was getting bored and thus decided that instead of catching a simple long ball he would do some circus acting with his hands resulting in the ball needing to be cleared by 2nd time a father to be Sean P. Maxi later made up for this with a strong save on a 1 on 1 occasion. The first half ended in good spirits with the confidence that we could pull away with the win.

2nd half:

As the 2nd half started it seemed that instead of water the team had all received a shot of whisky as suddenly we were incapable of putting 2 passes together. Alvaro Fortun’s half time warming on the impact of the wind was not sufficient as the Irish found themselves on the back heal struggling to get the ball out of their own half. After 5 minutes the gentlemen found their way through with their first decent attack of the game and managed to score right away to their own surprise with a shot from around the penalty spot that wobbled in via the post. This goal shook the team a bit and we managed to get back into the game with pressure play. Not many chances were created so Ari tried for one of his many ‘I was kicked so I deserve a penalty’ displays which was not appreciated by the referee who gave him a direct yellow. As the Irish continued to press we managed to get back into their box a few times before the ref wistled for another foul. As usual everyone was shouting ‘heeee,hooooo’ and the ref gladly took this opportunity to put himself at the center stage of the game and to pick out Mr red card Ari and give him a 2nd yellow and send him off. This obviously angered the Irish bench and set off Mr. Staunton who was not shy about his feelings towards the referee and anything or anyone not Irish. One of the most experienced Ireland players on the field Sean P. did not feel that the red card was fair and thus brewed a mischievous plan to even up the game. By gently tickling one of the gentleman’s private parts Sean received a nicely played right hook on his chest which was more than sufficient for a straight red card for the concerned gentleman. This balanced the game as we continued with 10 v 10. During the last few minutes of the game the Irish kept up the pressure without being able to create much danger. As the final wistle blew we were left with our hands empty…

3rd half

Emotions were high during the 2nd half but calmed down after the match following a speech from Sean P. who re-established that we play in Abssa and that the most important aspect is that we are 1 team and that we should stick together and support each other instead of arguing between ourselves. Beers were paid by DAAAN with a strong centre back performance that saw him grab another MOTM vote followed closely by James B in 2nd place after an excellent 1st half performance at right back. The disappointing loss was clearly visible in the Funky Monkey bill which amounted to only 154 eur offered by our sublime ‘0 goals this season’ cappy.

We still have all to fight for this season so let’s take it game by game. To finish off with a big congratz to Sean on baby number 2 !

Match day 6: during this weekend’s game, Irlande FC 1 met Lxg Cinquantenaire away near Brussels’s historical parc Josaphat.

With what’s becoming their signature style, Irlande started with most of the ball possession but missed the opportunity to be dangerous. After a weak back-pass to the goalkeeper, they gave away a penalty and were trailing by one goal. Not to be undone, the Irish men continued to focus on their accuracy and maintaining high pressure. They were rewarded when BIG brother, Lennart, started and followed through with a play from the back to Bonaldi. A brilliant cross field pass was played to Arjan and Like a pinball machine the ball was crossed, at knee height, in the opponent’s box where Thomas P. placed it deep and firm into the opponent’s net. With five goals in six games the tabloids are polling our handsome Belgian assassin as “most likely to be the next 007”. Before the end of the half another unsure play at the back forced a quick save out of Maxime.

HT: 1-1 (out – Cillian, in – Javi)

In the second half, both teams had their eyes set on the three points at stake which was made evident by the change in pace and violence used to kick a ball. This is where our alpha male teammates; Bono & Arjan, proclaimed their authority and futilely debated with the other team and referee. They were both awarded with yellow cards. From one of the fouls Lxg Cinquantenaire scored with a low bouncing ball which slipped into the far end of the goal. The boys in green stayed resolute and made the most of a distant free kick taken by Arjan and bounced over a diving goalkeeper into the near corner.

The remainder of the half consisted of little goalscoring opportunities but included many hard-fought turnovers, kickoffs and 1-on-1’s. Rookie Javi and returning veteran Naim made their value known to the team by coming off the bench and filling the gaps where necessary.

FT: 2-2

After this weekend’s game Irlande FC remain top of the table on goal differential equaling Brussels British and Grez Aj with 13 points. Next game they are defending their top spot against 3rd place Grez Aj.

MOTM Arjan

All fixtures and results

#6 October 9, 2021 LXG Cinquant 2 - 2 Report FC Irlande Men 1
#20 February 5, 2022 FC Irlande Men 1 0 - 1 Report LXG Cinquant

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