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Lions 4 - 1 Mitsukoshi

The Red Lions romped their way to a second successive BML victory at Da Jia on Sunday, romping home against a very poor Shin Kong, aka Mitsukoshi, team, despite playing over half the match with just 10 players.

 

The match started brightly for the Lions, Chancy “Oh Captain my Captain” Cooke adopting an attacking 4-3-3 formation, with Ant and Kim Sun Il at the back, flanked by Tetsu and Carl, one of the sweetest midfield combinations of all time in Mirko, OG and Bryan in the centre, with Polish Rob and Jaime playing as wide attackers and Thomas  Costa up front. Mao, for just under 45 minutes at least, was in goal.

Those fine, short passes that Chancy likes the Lions to play were indeed finding their intended recipients, as Mitsupussy found it difficult to come to terms with the Da Jia pitch and – perhaps also – their trainer’s rather intriguing yet incomprehensible tactics. The fact that the team has lost their two best players also did not help the team that managed a victory and a draw against the Lions in the last BML campaign.

OG, Bryan and Mirko combined beautifully on many occasions, OG seemingly covering every blade of grass on the relative short and narrow pitch within the first 5 minutes, keen to get the ball and lay off a killer pass. Thomas, up front, was also looking more hungry than he did last week, with Jaime laying off some nice passes to the Lions’ attacker, fighting for every ball, getting past his defender on more than one occasion.

At the back, Tetsu was making some strong but extremely fair challenges, Kim Sun Il and Ant playing a high defensive line that the opponents found difficult to deal with.

In a show of their attacking intentions, Carl took a long throw in to the Mitsukoshi penalty area, causing danger and confusion inside the opponents’ ranks, and the Lions were unlucky not to take advantage of this. But it was just a foretaste of things to come for the opponents.

Bryan was getting stuck in, making some well timed tackles in the middle of the park as Mitsukoshi attempted to get the ball forward and create some pressure on the Lions’ goal themselves, but as is often the case, he was being fouled as soon as he had taken the ball off the opponent. And from one of these fouls, the Lions took the lead. From just inside the Mitsukoshi half, OG floated a pin-point ball in to the opponent’s penalty area for Bryan to rise like a soufflé and power a header past the hapless keeper to make it 1-0 Lions.

Mitsukoshi’s trainer decided that this was a good time for the beginning of three first half substitutions, an interesting tactic which, if it was designed to confuse the Lions somewhat, failed miserably.

Shortly after it was 2-0 as once more the midfield trio combined beautifully with Jaime, the pass finally putting Thomas Costa through on goal for a one-on-one with the keeper. He looked like he was about to blast it before thinking that perhaps your humble chronicler would fine him, before changing his mind and slotting it home, the Lions in full control of the match.

Mitsukoshi was shell shocked by this, and made their second, and then their third substitution, leaving them with a grand total of, errr…, no more subs. They did, however, manage to put the Lions under a little pressure, gaining a series of corners which were dealt with all too easily by the Lions defence.

At the other end, the Lions corners all seemed to go wrong as well, with Bryan and Jaime failing to deliver the ball in to the danger zone, but it was not going to matter.

Another goal was on the cards, and it was duly delivered, again by Thomas Costa after another pass weighted so deliciously, it could have come straight from Chef Ramsey’s kitchen.

3-0 and it was game over.

But it wasn’t.

With the clock ticking down to half time, the Lions continued to push, losing the ball with Tetsu a long way out of position, Mitsukoshi playing a long pass which, given his relatively short stature, flew several inches over Kim Sun Il’s head, for the attacker to run on to. He came in to the penalty area, played the ball past the Lions’ keeper who maliciously took out the attacker, the ref having no alternative but to blow for a penalty and send off the Lions keeper.

Mao, needless to say, did not like this decision much.

Jaime was placed in goal, Mao crouching behind the goal to try to gauge where the penalty was going to be placed, Mr Liu and the referee both telling Mao in no uncertain terms that he was expected to leave the area behind the goal. Mao telling Mr Liu and the referee in no uncertain terms that a yellow card would also have sufficed. Mr Liu replying to this suggestion that Mao was, loosely translated of course, having a fecking laugh. Probably knew that Mao would have saved the ensuing penalty.

Mao told Jaime to dive to his left, so Jaime dived to his right, the penalty duly delivered as Mao predicted, Mitsukoshi pulling back a goal right on the stroke of half time.

The second half onslaught from Mitsukoshi failed to materialize, the Lions’ opponents not playing smartly, not at all taking advantage of their one-man advantage. Initially playing with a 4-3-2 formation, Chancy changed it to a 4-4-1, with Thomas Costa the lone attacker.

The first 15 minutes of the second half saw absolutely no action at all. That is to say, your humble narrator saw absolutely no action whatsoever, heading instead to the petrol station to buy the first of his rounds for being sent off. However, I am also reliably informed that Mitsukoshi was as weak and lacking in ideas as they were for the remainder of the game.

Jaime in goal was forced in to a dive at the feet of the oncoming attacker after one through ball, showing Mao how to get the ball without smacking the crap out of the attacker. He also took a cross nicely, showing the soon-to-be-suspended keeper how to hold on to the ball.

Polish Rob was brought off, replaced by Sergay, Panda was brought on for Thomas Costa, Charles replacing Mirko, Clovis replacing the empty can of beer in his hand with a fresh, full one, quietly singing “Happy birthday to me” to himself.

As the match entered the last few minutes, it was the Lions who looked more dangerous, with Panda deciding to lay off the ball to Bryan instead of shooting, but still chasing down every ball. Sergay too put his defender under immediate pressure, winning the ball in the right hand corner, causing no end of trouble to the Mitsukoshi players who just had no answer to the sheer onslaught of power that the Lions were enforcing upon their opponents.

And from that same area came the final nail in the Mitsukoshi coffin, Bryan – who had shortly before been shown a yellow card for a nothing challenge – laying a low ball in to OG who swept the ball gracefully and effortlessly past the keeper to make it 4-1.

The opponents now knew that they had been pussy whipped, the Lions showing once and for all that they don’t need to have 11 men on the pitch to be able to perform to their potential.

All players, with perhaps one exception, fought tooth and nail for this priceless victory, which was totally deserved and which will no doubt fill them with confidence for the game next weekend against the reigning champions, Hong Min.

Last Updated (Monday, 05 December 2011 04:32)

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