Archive for February 17th, 2008

MISN – Winter Lachine 07-08 game 17 (vs. R.R.C.)

Sunday, February 17th, 2008

Ricard, unofficial sponsor of MISN Impossible

MISN? What’s this?

Hello MISN,

On Saturday February 16th we played game nº17 of the Winter 2007-08 Lachine indoor league, vs. R.R.C.

For the past 5 games, things were going really well for MISN. We had really turned around our bad run of form, raking up win after win, climbing up the team standings into 5th position. Hell, we were even 9 points away from the top spot, and some of us had actually started to believe that, with the help of a miracle, the champions title could even be a possibility.

Well, I guess we can all stop dreaming now.

Attendance-wise, we were still dealing with recurring problems. Kevin was segregated in Toronto completing his Master’s thesis, all the while Santi was still away in London. On top of that, Bruno had left Montreal for 2 weeks (work), Can was in Quebec City attending the carnival, and Alex in NYC enjoying his Concordia mini-Spring break time. Even emergency subs such as Imad (brother’s bday), AC (injd), and Jonny (family event) couldn’t make it.

Fortunately, we saw the return of Tim from holiday, and called up a friend of Bardia’s to help us out (Iman). Others like Saad and Saber also showed up to lend a hand, so in the end we were ready to start the game with 10 players: 7 starters and 3 substitutes.

1) Absent long-term: Bruno, Santi, Kevin
2) Injured long-term: Tevin, Güven
3) N/A this week: Can, Alex

Here was our line-up:

Keeper:
Jan
Defense:
Marco
Jon / Eric
Iman
Offense:
Nafee / Saad
Bardia
Tim / Saber

We started the game with good ball control, setting up our plays into the opponent half. We immediately produced a very good chance through Bardia, who got clear in front of the goalkeeper, but chose to try and dribble him instead of shooting. With the time wasted, the R.R.C defenders got back to clear and thus a valuable chance in front of the net went begging. Minutes later, Eric pushed up from his defensive position and broke through the R.R.C defenses, eventually powering a left-footed blast straight at the keeper. Another good chance, but still no cigar.

Sadly,  R.R.C opened the score on the first chance they obtained. Pressing down our right side, our defense got mixed up in the marking positions and allowed one of the  R.R.C strikers to slip behind on our left. The ball was promptly delivered to him, our last defender attempted to intercept but knocked his opponent sideways. The R.R.C player managed to stay on his feet however and slot the ball home low inside the right post. 0-1.

Conceding that goal was a cold shower for MISN, and really tough luck: we were now trailing by one, even though we had had the best of plays. We needed to keep pushing forward, but unfortunately our passing game was leaving a lot to be desired in the first period. We weren’t occupying every space of the field, attempting difficult dribbles in narrow spaces instead of simple passes opening wide.

As a result, we got a lot of ball possession inside the R.R.C half but not a lot of scoring chances to account for it. Saad tried a close-range half-volley which was blasted way over the bar, Marco tried a long-range one timer which went 1-2 meters wide, Tim had a few instep attempts narrowly wide… but other than that our efforts weren’t being focused very efficiently.

The half thus ended on a 0-1 scoreline. If we were going to turn this around, we needed to rapidly re-assess our game plan and play much better in the second period.

After the break, we started off with the right foot: we immediately produced two back-to-back chances through quick passing: the first one when Tim and Saad combined on the left wing, setting up the latter for a quick shot (over the bar); then minutes later when Nafee broke through the center, and attempted a shot which the keeper deflected. We were playing a little better nonetheless, which was a good sign for things to come.

Or was it? On a kick-in for our side, we risked catastrophe when Eric passed the ball straight to an R.R.C player, right in front of the goal!! The striker’s finish however hit the post and went wide, but boy did we come close to conceding another stupid goal.

Unfortunately, the ‘defensive-mistake’ shadow was still lurking over out team, and minutes later the inevitable (actually, let me rephrase that… the ‘PERFECTLY EVITABLE’) took place. Exploiting a fast break down our right wing, the ball was passed forward to an R.R.C player which controlled it with his back to the goal. With our defense shifting to cover the man, no one from our team (I guess that would have been the strikers’ job) thought about covering the arriving center mid at the half-line. Needless to say, that’s where the ball went, and the R.R.C player took a quick instep shot with his right foot, which rolled all the way inside Jan’s post for the second goal of the game. 0-2. Big fu**ing bummer.

The situation had decidedly gone from bad to worse. Our scoring productivity was still average at best, and we now found ourselves trailing by two.

At this point there were probably about 10 minutes left in the game, so we really pushed our players forward. We finally started to increase our shots on target statistic, but the R.R.C defense/keeper were standing close guard. Jon and Saad combined on a free-kick to set up our Moroccan winger for a shot, but it was saved. Then Nafee, Bardia, Saad and Marco had another few half-chances to shoot on net, but they were neutralized by the defense. R.R.C even had the opportunity to make it three (on yet another counter-attack), but fortunately Jan’s save kept out the shot of the opposing striker.

Eventually 3-4 minutes from the end, an event took place which could have changed the game (or at least the final minutes of it). Marco fed the ball to Saad on the right wing, and pushed up from his defensive position asking for the return pass. As Saad sent our Italian wing-back through, Marco found himself with acres of space and pushed all the way to the edge of the box ,before slipping the ball to Bardia in the center. In so doing, he got slammed to the ground by an R.R.C defender. The ref gave the advantage and let play carry on… but NOT LONG ENOUGH!!! Litterally, the instant another R.R.C defender got in front of Bardia to clear the ball, the ref blew the whistle… without realizing that the R.R.C player cleared the ball… INTO HIS OWN NET!!!! Boy what a screw-up, because with the score turning to 1-2 we could have really tried something in the final minutes.

It didn’t happen however. We obtained a free-kick which gave nothing, had one final big chance in the final plays, when a Marco cross forward found the header of Eric, anticipating the keeper in front of the net. Our center-back’s effort was however wide of the mark, and the ref brought the game to a close.

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0-2 final score

Scorers:
/

Yellow cards:
/

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In the end our opponents probably had 4-5 shots the entire match, 40% ball possession, but ended up walking away with 3 points, 2 goals, and a clean sheet. Really not a good effort from MISN. It is true that we were lacking “pure” strikers à la Can or à la Güven (all our players today were offensive playmakers, not finishers), but that is not excuse. We should have played better, and done a lot better with the chances we did create.

Anyways, we made some mistakes today but we live and learn. Our half-dream for first spot has been nipped in the bud, but there’s still plenty left to fight for in this season. Remember the PLAYOFFS CUP boys, that is our objective. Now more than ever.

GO MISN!!!!

-Marco-