Archive for November 29th, 2007

MISN – Winter Lachine 07-08 game 6 (vs. R.R.C)

Thursday, November 29th, 2007

Ricard, unofficial sponsor of MISN Impossible

MISN? What’s this?

Hello MISN,

On Saturday November 24th we played game nº6 of the Winter 2007-08 Lachine indoor league, vs. R.R.C.

After last week’s victorious 3-2 bout against Hellas, MISN Impossible was back on the winning track ready to continue their assault on the Division 2 champions title.  Our opponents for the day were R.R.C, a team with more or less the same record as us (3 wins and 2 losses). We were expecting a pretty open game.


Attendance-wise, it wasn’t one of our best weeks but we managed. Ludo was still M.I.A in France, Can still in Abitibi, and Danny had a work commitments once again. In addition, Jon had picked up an injury in the last game that will probably keep him out for at least 2 weeks, and Bardia was unavailable.

1) Absent long-term: Can, Ludo
2) Injured long-term: Tevin, Alex, Jon
3) N/A this week: Danny, Bardia

Here was our line-up:

Eric / Bruno
Nafee / Abbes

Logistically, this was a very early morning game and when I mean early, I really mean early. Like 9am-Saturday-morning early. Nonetheless, all of us were there and ready, except Jan, who fortunately came right on time to begin the match at kick-off. :)

We started with a clear control of ball possession in midfield, building up our offense progressively and trying to find penetrating runs and passes to set our strikers in front of the net. It was quite difficult however, because R.R.C. kept their defense under tight lock and was always ready to set off a counter-attack by keeping one or two forwards close to the midfield line. We kept the ball inside their own half most of the time, but unfortunately got punished on the first mistake we committed.

On an intercepted corner-kick, R.R.C  launched the counter towards the left wing. Combining passes in our half, and eventually landing in front of our goal in superior numbers, a striker got loose of the marking and deposited into the net, sidestepping Jan. 0-1.

This was really tough luck because (as usual), we had been producing most of the chances in the game. A few minutes after conceding the goal, a corner-kick for MISN was taken by Marco, who waited to spot Santi’s run inside the box. Marco’s low passes was hit by our Argentine winger, but his right-footed shot was over the bar! Meanwhile, Güven was trying his best to hold the ball on the edge of the box, and feed it to the sides (or fooling the pass and attempting the shot), but the R.R.C defense/keeper was doing a hell of a  good job in deflecting/parrying the shots away. And once again, despite our domination, we conceded a goal on our next immediate defensive mistake.

In R.R.C‘s offensive zone, a misjudged pass by one of our players immediately set off the counter-attack. With a pass to the center, a 2 vs. 2 situation soon became a 3 vs. 2 with the addition of yet another R.R.C striker. Kevin had to lose his man to go challenge the ball, ensued a pass to the left, then back to the right for an open man in front of the net. Nafee couldn’t get back on time, and the R.R.C striker executed a low instep shot on Jan’s first post. 0-2.

At this point, we were undeservedly down by 2 goals. Rage and frustration was building up amongst our troops,  which eventually resulted in yellow cards for Nafee and Marco. Nevertheless, our repeated efforts on the opponents’ net eventually came to fruition, and we cut back the goal deficit by one.  

From a kick-in from the right by Marco, a looped cross was sent in to Santi on the 2nd post. Santi’s header was parried away by the keeper, however our Argentine winger managed to on the rebound and have another stab at goal. Once again, saved by the keeper (!) but this time the ball looped up, and Santi lunged at the free chance, slamming it home from point-blank range with an open net. 1-2!

Eventually, the half came to a close on the 1-2 scoreline to the advantage of R.R.C. We were still very much in the game, especially because in terms of ball possession and scoring chances, we were dominating our opponents. We just needed to focus more in defense, and take our chances on goal.

At the restart, we continued pushing forward and eventually got our reward. With Güven obtaining a feed on the right wing, deep into enemy territory, our Turkish striker faked the pass to the center, utilized the dummy to dribble his marker, got towards the goal line, back on his right foot, and BAM! Slammed a ripping shot towards the opposite post! A great goal from an almost impossible angle!! 2-2!!

Minutes later, we made it 3-2! Out on the right wing, Güven faked a run to go deep to fool his marker, came back towards the center and armed a precise left-footed shot low into the right bottom corner! Olé!! We finally had the lead!!!

Our lead however, was unfortunately short-lived. With R.R.C attacking in numbers in the MISN half, the ball dropped back for a long-range shot. The attempt was deflected to R.R.C‘s main target man, who tried to turn around and shoot again from our right side. Another deflection ensued, Jan came out to challenge but missed the interception, the ball spun out of control and, believe it or not, with the backspin (unless some defender/striker touched it… I didn’t see it very clearly) slowly rolled into the net as everyone watched dumbfounded. A last-ditch tackle by Kevin couldn’t keep it from crossing the line. 3-3. ARGH!!

But wait, we still had momentum going to our advantage. That last goal could have stopped us dead in our tracks, but on the contrary it fueled the fire that was already burning in proximity of the R.R.C penalty box. With MISN breaking through into their opponents’ defenses, a first shot was deflected, prompting the keeper to come out to challenge Santi in the center. Our Argentine winger attempted a flick and the keeper saved again, but couldn’t prevent the ball from dropping to Güven on the left side! Powerful low shot into the bottom left corner, and 4-3 MISN!!!!

It was now a matter to stay very concentrated in defense, to stop the hemorrhage and not allow any more stupid goals. With R.R.C in our zone, the ball cycled through a series of players, eventually dropping to a striker on the right. The R.R.C man tried to place an accurate shot onto the far post, but Marco’s header was there to keep it out, one meter away from the line!

Minutes later, a great combination forward brought Marco towards the left wing, with Nafee dropping the ball back with a dribble, and then looping it over towards our Italian wing-back. Güven made a run in the center and Marco promptly flicked him the ball on the volley, but our Turkish kebab… ehm striker couldn’t control the pass in time for an accurate shot.

It was then that Nafee earned his 2nd yellow card of the match. Deep into our defensive zone, MISN was under pressure and trying to clear the ball away from danger. It landed on the right wing to Nafee who, instead of clearing it away, attempted to control and dribble but was dispossessed of the ball. Running after his “thief”, Nafee clipped him in the legs and forced Bryan to send our Moroccan playmaker take an early shower. With 10 minutes to go in the game, this was a set-back which we decidedly didn’t need.

Now, for many teams (and against stronger opponents) this could have meant physical and psychological collapse. For MISN, surprisingly this meant the opposite: within less than a minute after conceding the red card (in fact, on the ensuing free kick taken by R.R.C, if I’m not mistaken), we made it 5-3! On the ensuing FK, the ball was deflected away and immediately set up Santi for the counter-attack on the left wing. Our Aregntine winger ran like Speedy Gonzales (Santi will tell me  that he’s Mexican, not Argentinian, but I don’t care I’m still using him as a metaphor :smile: ) and at the end of his run, poked the ball onto the keeper’s first post!!! GOOOOOOOLAAAAAZOOOOO!!

We now had a 2-goal advantage, playing 6 against 7, would you believe it? No? Good, because it didn’t last very long: with R.R.C continuing to push, pass, and shoot, the ball was deflected by our defense, eventually prompting a pass back for a long-range shot. The R.R.C defender armed an instep right-footed effort, whose outswinging trajectory ended into the left side of Jan’s net. Bummer. 5-4.

Again however, with still one man down and against all expected odds (despite the fact that we were still the better team though), we managed to break our opponents’ defenses once again! Another lightning counter-attack by MISN set up Güven and Eric with a good 2 vs. 1 opportunity. Leading the defender believe he was going to pass, our Turkish striker held the ball and got to the edge of the box, ripping another accurate shot past the keeper into the left bottom corner. 6-4!!

The final 2-3 minutes of the game were intense. MISN obtained yet another chance on a counter-attack, advancing towards the goal: from Marco to Santi, trying to spot a pass, to Güven, holding the ball, and dropping it back to Marco. Our Italian wing-back was however on his weaker left foot, resulting in a bad shot over the bar.

In the final minute, MISN conceded a foul on the edge of the box. The wall was formed, but the ball surprisingly passed toward the right! Kevin threw his leg forward to deflect, managing to thwart the chance. It is then that ref called the end of the match, giving MISN the victory and a well-deserved 3 points in an intensity-laden emotional match!


6-4 final score

Güven (4)

Santi (2)

Yellow cards:
Nafee(2)=red card


An incredible match boys! We established our domination right from the beginning, but due to a tight defense by our opponents we couldn’t produce. Instead, we conceded two goals on coutner-attacks, which could have put this game heading decidedly the wrong way. We never gave up however, and through incredible determination pulled back from behind to win the game, scoring even two goals undermanned!

At the end of the day, while we can be happy about the 3 points, we should auto-critique ourselves and conclude that:

  1. Getting a player sent off (and therefore suspended) shouldn’t happen.
  2. Over the past few games, we are conceding way too many goals. It is time to patch up our defense, and stop making mistakes that may eventually be very costly. 

Cya next week.


Kaka-Golden Ball: Latest Indiscretions Suggest 400 Points for the Brazilian Midfielder

Thursday, November 29th, 2007

Ballon d’OrNot a success, but an absolute triumph: while all rumours now indicate with near certainty that the Golden Ball (Ballon d’Or) award is nobody’s but Kaká‘s, details trickle through regarding the distance between 1st and 2nd spot, and apparently it’s huge. Latest indiscretions suggest the Brazilian AC Milan midfielder obtained a total of over 400 points, way ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo (2nd), Lionel Messi (3rd), Didier Drogba (4th) & Co. If results are confirmed, Kaká would be the 10th player ever in history to have managed to FIFA World Player of the Year-Ballon d’Or double (the last one being Fabio Cannavaro in 2006).

The first Italian player it seems, is Andrea Pirlo (5th), which is a nice recognition for the irreplaceable playmaker of Italy and AC Milan. Completing the Top 10 we find Ruud Van Nistelrooy (6th), Zlatan Ibrahimovic (7th), Cesc Fabregas (8th), Robinho (9th), and Thierry Henry (10th).

The absolute dominator of 2005, Ronaldinho, dropped down the ranks and finished 12th, while between ranks 15 and 20 we ought to find some more Italian players, namely Pippo Inzaghi, Paolo Maldini, Gigi Buffon, and Gennaro Gattuso. The 2006 Ballon d’Or winner, Fabio Cannavaro, reportedly didn’t make the Top 20.

The officiality of the ranking will be unveiled on Sunday December 2, on the French TV channel TF1. As a reminder, this will be the first Golden Ball awarded to the ‘Best player in the World’, with no distinction as to the player’s nationality or the league he currently plays in.

Kaka with the Golden Ball, PhotoShop artistry at work

Champions League Day 5 – AC Milan Through to the Next Round, Lazio Now Need a Miracle

Thursday, November 29th, 2007

UEFA Champions League logoWith Inter and Roma already through to the next round, it could have been “carton plein” for Italian teams in the Champions League. Alas, only Milan achieved their objective today, and there’s going to have to be some serious miracle work for Lazio to pull through in the last round.

In Lisbon, Benfica was a real tough nut to crack for the Rossoneri, but in the end the 1-1 final score is enough to send AC Milan through to the next round, and eliminate the Portuguese team. All goals were scored in the first half: first Andrea Pirlo, then Maxi Pereira, two amazing shots.

Meanwhile in the other match at the Stadio Olimpico of Rome, the Biancocelesti earned the lead against Olympiakos thanks to Goran Pandev, but then had to concede the Greek team’s come-back throguh Luciano Galletti and Darko Kovacevic. Qualification to the next round is now extremely difficult for Lazio: they need a win against Real Madrid (at the Bernabéu!) and at the same time Olympiakos must get at least a draw vs. Werder Bremen (victorious 3-2 against Real today).

Champions League day 5 - Benfica 1-1 Milan, Lazio 1-2 Olympiakos

One of the ugliest AC Milans of the season grabs the points it neeeded, through 90 minutes (almost) of Lisbon suffering. The 1-1 final score is enough to send the Rossoneri through to the Last 16, but boy was this a hard game for Carlo Ancelotti: the Italian coach’s facial expressions during this match (along with those of Adriano Galliani) were an entire spectacle by themselves.

The whole gameplan of the Rossoneri for this match, given the must-win situation of the Portuguese club, was to score an early goal and then spend the remaining 70-80 minutes controlling the game. They almost got their wish, because 15 minutes into the game Andrea Pirlo struck gold: obtainining the ball from 30m, the Milan playmaker took a few steps then let a ripping shot sink into the right-bottom corner of the net. Awesome delivery by Pirlo, and 1-0 Milan.

If one analyzed the match situation at this point, he could have predicted an easy victory for the Rossoneri and he wouldn’t have been wrong: on top of getting the early lead, Milan had completely dominated their opponents for the first quarter of an hour. Controlling the wings due to the inexplicable slowness of the Portuguese side midfielders, and setting the pace in midfield while closing down any available space for the opponents, all this without one of their core players even (Massimo Ambrosini, replaced by Cristian Brocchi).

Then… the collapse. What’s even worse, a collapse in a the field zone which up until then had given the biggest insurance to Carlo Ancelotti: the midfield. First, Clarence Seedorf started operating at half capacity, probably due to a slight knock which made Rossoneri supporters fear he’d actually have to come off. Then, the Benfica players slowly realized that by pressuring their opponents very high on the field and not allowing Pirlo any space, most of the Milan initiatives would fail before they even started. Kaká was the only unaccountable factor in this equation, with his constant changes of pace, but there’s only so much the speedy Brazilian could do if he didn’t receive the support of his teammates.

Thus, the Portuguese team started earning scoring chances of their own. First in minute 19, when a fast counter-attack set up Nuno Gomes on the right, who then trickled a pass through for Maxi Pereira completely unmarked in the center! Fortunately for Milan, a last-ditch effort by Kakha Kaladze allowed Dida to recover the ball before Pereira’s shot did any damage. This was only the set-up to the inevitable though: a minute later, Benfica got their equalizer: through on the right, Maxi Pereira faked a right-foot shot before putting the ball onto his left foot, and from the edge of the box let an absolute ripper smash straight into the top left corner of Dida’s goal. Unstoppable, 1-1.

The half eventually came to an end, with Milan still suffering and trying (unsuccessfully) in every possible way to come back to the domination they had exerted in the first 15 minutes, not before Maxi Pereira had yet another scoring chance on the right wing, but blasted his shot on Kaladze’s leg for a corner.

In the 2nd half, Ancelotti decided to apply some defensive patches to his line-up, and inserted Paolo Maldini for Serginho on the left wing (the Brazilian was deemed insufficient in his efforts tonight, especially when needed for covering work). Brocchi had to exit the field due to some back pain, leaving space for Yoann Gourcuff also. Unfortunately for Milan, the fresh meat did little to change the game’s momentum, decidedly to the advantage of the hosts, Even Gennaro Gattuso started losing easy balls and messing up passes, sign there obviously was something wrong here tonight. On top of Kaladze, only Alessandro Nesta seemed to save himself from the general embarassment, closing down the Benfica attackers when he could.

The half continued pretty much the same way as the first, with Milan defending (in however way they could) and Benfica trying to get the winner. Ancelotti operated one more change by inserting Massimo Oddo for Clarence Seedorf (one more defender in), but the chances kept pouring in. First Rui Costa (saved by Dida), then Petit (another great Dida save, then Nuno Gomes scored the rebound but in offside position), and then Nuno Gomes (half-volley from Maxi Pereira’s cross, straight at the keeper). It was litterally an all-out-assault, and it was only when José Antonio Camacho (the Benfica coach) finally took out his last defenders (to insert strikers Ángel Di María, Oscar Cardozo, and Freddy Adu) that AC Milan could stick their nose out of their half and be dangerous on counters. In the 90th and 92nd, Kakà had two perfect chances to bury the game, but his diagonal effort and open-net header respectively were wide of the mark. Eventually the referee called for full time, and Ancelotti could let out a giant sigh: his team was through to the playoff stage.


 S.L. Benfica
[Match Highlights]
 AC Milan
GOALSCORERS: 15’ Pirlo (M), 20’ Maxi Pereira (B)
BENFICA (4-2-3-1): Quim – Luis Felipe (75’ Di Maria), Luisao, David Luiz (88’ Adu), Leo – Katsouranis, Petit – Maxi Pereira, Rui Costa, C.Rodríguez – Nuno Gomes (75’ O.Cardozo). (bench: Butt, Edcarlos, Nelson, Nuno Assis). All: Camacho.
MILAN (4-3-2-1): Dida – Bonera, Nesta, Kaladze, Serginho (46’ Maldini) – Brocchi (51’ Gourcuff), Pirlo, Gattuso – Kaká, Seedorf (73’ Oddo) – Gilardino. (bench: Kalac, Cafu, Favalli, Ronaldo). Coach: Ancelotti.


In the other match of the day, Lazio lost at home against Olympiakos, and are now seeing the next round of the Champions League sail far far away. And to think that everything started on the right track for the Biancocelesti, who had gotten the lead thanks to Goran Pandev. However, the Lazio train rapidly derailed, because the Greek team had left the goals of Luciano Galletti and Darko Kovacevic on the Rome station tracks. A Kovacevic who coincidentally, not so long ago, was playing precisely for… Lazio.

It became rapidly obvious that this was going to turn into a very nervous match, way too nervous to expect to see any beautiful plays really. Both teams multiplied errors in the offensive zone, scared of trying one-touch football for fear of losing the ball and leaving the defense exposed. This match was too important to be lost, for Olympiakos in particular because the Greeks would have been quite happy with a draw in the end, given that their opponents on the last matchday were Werder Bremen at home, while Lazio had to contend with Real Madrid in Spain. As a result, very little happened for the first half hour, Stefano Rocchi and Goran Pandev way too isolated in the Lazio attack.

At minute 30 however, the Biancocelesti managed to take the lead with their first real shot of the game: a long ball forward was flicked by Stefano Mauri onto the path of Rocchi on the left. The Lazio striker seemed to have saved the ball on the line just in time, for a backpass to Goran Pandev in the center and an easily deposited open goal. Replays later showed however that the ball might have been over the line. No matter though, 1-0 Lazio.

Delio Rossi’s men were now in an advantageous position, in that they could put the game on ice and exploit the spaces left to them on counter-attack. However, Olympiakos’ reply didn’t take very long to come, it was so fast in fact that they barely had time to be emotionally shaken by conceding the lead: in the 35th, Lazio lost the ball to Lomana Lua Lua, who spotted Ieroklis Stoltidis in the center. Aleksandar Kolarov was hypnotized by the ball and forgot to mark his left-side: how surprising that is exactly where Stoltidis’s pass went, and Luciano Galletti had little trouble beating Marco Ballotta on the first post with a hard but accurate shot. 1-1.

The half ended on a tied scoreline, not before Lazio had a slight chance to regain the lead through Pandev, but Antonios Nikopolidis got the deflection. After the break, Lazio came back on the field clearly with offensive intentions. First Guglielmo Stendardo was a hairbreadth away from getting a winning tap-in with an open net, had it not been for Christos Patsatzoglou’s intervention following a Cristian Ledesma corner-kick. Then minutes later with Lazio pushing up, Mauri made a deep pass for Pandev in space, but the Macedonian striker’s shot was too weak to worry the Greek keeper,

In the 64th however, pitch black night descended onto Lazio: from Stoltidis to Predrag Djordjevic on the left, deep run down the wing, pass across for Darko Kovacevic, goal. 2-1 Olympiakos. Lazio pushed all their troops forward to get the equalizer, to no avail. Now the entire Biancocelesti hopes for next round qualification lie in the improbable win against Real Madrid at Santiago Bernabéu, while Werder Bremen must not win against Olympiakos in Matchday 6. For Delio Rossi, I’d say it is time to start praying…


S.S. Lazio
[Match Highlights]
 Olympiacos CFP
GOALSCORERS: 30’ Pandev (L), 35’ Galletti (O), 64’ Kovacevic (O)
LAZIO (4-3-1-2): Ballotta – Behrami (77’ Scaloni), Stendardo, Siviglia, Kolarov (63’ De Silvestri) – Mudingayi, Ledesma, Mutarelli (71′ Meghni) – Mauri – Pandev, Rocchi. (bench: Muslera, Firmani, Manfredini, Makinwa). Coach: Rossi.
OLYMPIAKOS (4-3-2-1): Nikopolidis – Torosidis, Zewlakow, Antzas, Pantos – Patsatzoglou (75’ Mendrinos), Ledesma, Stoltidis – Galletti, Djordjevic (93’ Mitroglou) – Lua Lua (56’ Kovacevic). (bench: Sifakis, Archubi, Nunez, Konstantinou). Coach: Lemonis.