Nivellois Aclot -Bs
The first day of the new season. During the trials and tribulations of multiple lockdowns and the heartache of last year’s aborted campaign, it felt at times as though this day would never come. And so the spirits were understandably high amongst the Fourths as, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, we merrily made our way to the sun-soaked Nossegem arena. Determined to start the ball rolling towards (inevitable) promotion, the boys in green were to produce an impressive performance, outrunning and outplaying the somewhat lacklustre opposition on their way to a commanding 4-1 win that was rarely in doubt.
Starting in our tried-and-tested 4-2-3-1 formation, Irlande controlled the game from the off. In possession, we spread the play well and stretched the opposition defence, with wingers Mihai and Draga wreaking particular havoc down the flanks. Out of possession, we showed a tenacity and desire to win the ball back such as to warm the hearts of the captains. It was this tenacity that led to Irlande’s early breakthrough, as Thomas battled to win the ball in midfield before laying it off to Fabian. The latter proceeded to feed a delectable pass down the left to Draga, who slotted it in from a tight angle for the first of what would prove to be numerous debut goals. 1-0.
Irlande’s second came from a set piece. Alex attempted to place the ball in the bottom corner from a free kick just outside the box. His (admittedly rather tentative) effort was spilled by the opposition keeper into the feet of the onrushing Draga, who smashed it into the roof of the net. 2-0.
While Irlande’s back line of Diego, Roberto, Santi, and Felix was rarely troubled, dealing with any opposition threats seemingly with relative ease, Nivellois did manage to pull one back against the run of play. A pass through the middle saw their striker one-on-one with Matteo, who made a characteristically incredible save down to his left only to see the follow-up knocked past him. 2-1.
If Nivellous felt they managed to turn the tide and get a foothold in the match, they were rapidly disabused of that notion, as Irlande regained the two-goal cushion only moments later. The unstoppable attacking force of Fabian and Draga once again combined, and the latter blasted a daisy-cutter of a shot past the flailing Nivellois keeper to complete a spectacular debut hat-trick and send the adoring crowd (consisting primarily of uncle Costi) into rapture. 3-1.
The second half proceeded in much the same manner, with Irlande so dominant that Matteo confessed to feeling rather bored in goal. It seemed as though the fixture would be put beyond doubt when Irlande were awarded a penalty and Manu, showing the confidence and maturity of his years of ABSSA experience, stepped up to take it. Alas, he was to see his effort clip the side of the upright, as he let out a roar of untold anguish.
Never fear, however, for Manu was to redeem himself in style shortly thereafter. Receiving the ball with his back to goal, he performed his signature turn before threading the sexiest of through balls behind the opposition defence and into the path of Fabian, who nonchalantly rounded the keeper to finish. 4-1.
All in all, a marvelous start to the season for the Fourths, and an extremely solid platform on which to build over the coming months. A special mention also to Diego and Goncalo who (while not quite scoring a debut hat-trick) put in extremely solid performances in their first competitive game for the Fourths.
Satisfying though it was, the day was tinged with more than a hint of sadness, as we said goodbye to our favourite frogs, Fugo (or Helix depending on your inclination). Hugo and Felix have been beloved and valued members of the Fourths, both on the pitch and, perhaps even more importantly, in Funky. They will be sorely missed <3
Goals: Draga x3; Fabian