On Saturday January 26th we played game nº14 of the Winter 2007-08 Lachine indoor league, vs. J.S.S.
After our victory against Boca Juniors last week, we were officially on a 2-match winning streak. One thing that was sure about our previous match is that we didn’t play well, in fact we didn’t play well at all. Nonetheless, we walked away with the 3 points (so capital for team confidence and to improve our situation in the standings) and today we were going for a repeat, with the clear intention of continuing our run of victories for as long as possible.
Our opponents for the day were J.S.S., a team just below MISN in the Division 2 standings (with 16 points, 5 wins, 1 draw, and 7 losses, as well as 41 goals scored and 45 goals conceded). We weren’t expecting formidable opposition, but we sure as hell weren’t going to commit the same mistake as last week, when we underestimated Boca Juniors and almost paid a heavy price.
Attendance-wise, we had a good turn-up this time. We were counting on the presence of at least 11 players, with perhaps 1-2 extra players coming in at the last minute, but it actually turned out that 2 of our confirmed individuals (Saad and Saber) were a no-show, so we ended up with only 3 substitutes. Compared to our Xmas holidays horrendous roster problems however, this was more than enough.
|1) Absent long-term:||Tim|
|2) Injured long-term:||Tevin, Güven|
|3) N/A this week:||Saad, Saber, Alex|
Here was our line-up:
We started the game, and immediately took control of the ball possession. We played the first 10-15 minutes essentially into our opponents’ half, but could not find the breach to open the score. That wasn’t due to lack of opportunity though…
Here is a full list of our scoring chances in the first quarter. Passing around the ball (combining through Nafee, Can, then to Santi across the goal), the sphere ended to our Argentine winger in excellent position on the left, but his one-time finishing shot was onto the foot of the keeper, and a very good chance went begging. A few minutes later, Can was sent through on the left wing, one-on-one with the keeper, but his instep finish to the right post found the keeper ready to neutralize the danger. Two very close chances missed!! Marco, Kevin, and Bruno also had a few shots on net, but they were either parried by the defense, or wide of the target.
Eventually, pushing forward Bardia took a shot which was deflected by the defense. Waiting for Nafee to make a run onto the 2nd, our Iranian playmaker crossed a very nice ball onto which our Moroccan winger connected with a diving header! A spectacular, but also very accurate move, because the ball slipped into the left post of the goal eluding the keeper’s vigilance. 1-0 MISN.
A few minutes before the end of the half, J.S.S. tried a penetrating pass on our right wing but found the foot of Marco ready to deflect. The ball landed to Santi with acres of space in front of him, and only one defender to contend. Taking his time, our Argentine winger sidestepped the first marker, slowed down, took the ball past another defender (who had made the run back), then from the left and using the inside of his left foot, he coolly deposited the ball onto the right post! A great individual effort, and 2-0 MISN!!
The half ended on that scoreline, marking the end of 25 minutes during which we had produced some very good plays. We needed to keep up our efforts, maintain our vigilance in defense, and perhaps improve the accuracy and speed of our passes, to take quicker shots in front of the net.
We continued our efforts in the 2nd half, trying to get close to the goal to clinch the deal. Marco moved up to a striker position to give our forwards some time to breathe (we had only one subs for forwards), and almost increased MISN‘s lead by another goal. His one-touch combination with Nafee and Bardia set up our Italian winger on the edge of the box, but his angled effort was parried away by the keeper.
About 10 minutes into the half, Can obtained the ball on the left wing and attempted to get a shot on goal, but found the opposition of a J.S.S. defender in front of him. Shielding the ball and keeping it under control, he resisted to a few challenges of his marker, managed to turn around and slip the ball across the goal on the right wing. On came Santi completely unmarked, to deposit the ball in extension into the empty net. 3-0 MISN!
With a 3-goal lead, we were now in the comfort zone and could let go of some pressure a little bit. Our opponents on the other hand were now forced to expose themselves more, push a few of their players up, and give us a few counter-attacks to exploit. Unfortunately our accuracy on a few of these left something to be desired, and Santi had a few one-on-one opportunities neutralized by the keeper, as he couldn’t turn around on time for the finish.
With about 10 minutes left, J.S.S. came back in the game in a somewhat surprising fashion, given that they passed the ball from right to center, and one of their defenders took a one-time instep shot that had enough power and precision to surprise Jan onto the left post. 3-1, but that J.S.S. player was left way too much space for my taste…
As a result, we felt a little bit under pressure for these final minutes, but the good defensive work of Jon, Kevin, Marco, Eric, Bruno, and Nafee (as well as the saves of Jan when needed, although he didn’t have a lot to do today) kept danger at bay.
Eventually ref called full time, and MISN walked away with its 3rd straight win in 3 games!!
3-1 final score
A good win boys! We played an intelligent game throughout, not taking too many risks and defense, and eventually got rewarded for our offensive efforts despite a few initial misses in the 1st half.
Our 9 points in the past 3 games feel like a great morale booster, as we now have the confirmation that if given the proper number of players, our team can go out there and play the game it knows how to play. More importantly, we are just receiving further confirmation that our current ranking position really doesn’t reflect the true value of MISN, and that we really have what it takes to bring home the cup when playoffs arrive.
We have now laid 3 bricks for our 2008 skyscraper, and by the looks of it, the December/January times of cement shortage are over. Let’s keep this up.
Posted in MISN Impossible |