The biggest challenge of the weekend was not playing against R.A.S. Jodoigne, second in the ranking or taking part in a Christmas tree-throwing competition. The real challenge was the early alarm clock on a Sunday morning.
The game played on Sunday, 15 January, did not go how expected, not for the final result (that at the end says 2-0 for Jodoigne), but for the performance of FCI. The match was tight and balanced, and FCI levelled the playing field against one of the best teams in the league, showing compactness, focus and quality.
In the first half of the match, FCI does everything it needs to do. Tight defensive lines, ball of the wings, challenge and control of the ball in the middle of the field. As a result, the opponent has trouble arriving in the penalties area and finding the goal. Jodoigne’s goal comes from a rebound, on which Jodoigne’s strikers arrive first after an incredible stop from Marie. But the first half is not only defensive actions. The clearest scoring opportunity of the first half comes from Bea’s cross from the right, on which Amine cannot arrive for a few centimetres.
FCI maintains the focus and occupies the opponent’s half of the pitch for the first part of the second half. To score, you need to shoot, and Liza takes this assumption seriously, trying to find the goal every time she is around the penalty area. FCI keeps attacking, and now that corners are an important string to FCI’s bow, the team can also create danger in those situations. So, a corner is awarded to FCI. Anna puts the ball on the first post, where the ball is challenged. Madde finds the coordination to hit the ball. A great shot, but Jodoigne’s goalie blocks it and deflects it over the bar for a few centimetres. It would have been the goal of the equaliser, and it would have been extremely deserved. This match also sees one of the season’s most spectacular and difficult Marie’s blocks. Marie flies to block a free kick that seemed destined to get into the net. In the final part of the match, Jodoigne’s second goal arrives, closing the match 2-0.
FCI confirmed the progress shown in the previous match against Black Star. The feeling is now that the team has control of the ball and the actions, consciously and consistently creating scoring opportunities and putting into practice what was learnt during the training and the first part of the season. As Antonio said, “some defeats feel like a win,” and this defeat falls under this category.
On Sunday, 2 October, FC Irlande Ladies III played against R.A.S. Jodoigne Women B.
The game was tough and physical, and FCI was forced to play mostly a defensive match. The clearest scoring chance for FCI III arrives during the first half, with Sanda entering the opponent’s penalty area and trying to score. A series of corners will follow that, unfortunately, will not convert into goals. The first goal of Jodoigne arrives at the 16’. During the first half, FCI managed to neatly defend, nullifying all the offensive effort of the opponent.
The second half starts with Jodoigne’s second goal (47’), with the third goal coming from a free-kick scored at the 60’. Not many chances to go to the opponent’s penalty areas, but a lot of fights in midfield to get the ball. The match finishes with the fourth and last Jodoigne’s goal at the 93’.
Winning is not important, it is the only thing that matters. Well, after today’s match, all the players of FCI III know how false this assumption is. 4-0 defeat, and we could not be prouder of how we played, all the fights to conquer the ball, and the effort we put in every action.
As highlighted before, during and after the game, FCI III is blessed with an amazing team spirit on and off the pitch. But it is also worth mentioning individual performances. Marie and Sandra, both of them voted as “best player”, guided and motivated the team throughout the game with their “up”, “you know where the ball is going”, and “amazing, girls”. They were the pillars that allowed the team to remain tight and play with solidity. And remember to NEVER be behind Sandra.
Honourable mention also to Noami and Sophie, that sacrificed their physical integrity for the team. Get well soon!