Hibs somehow came away from this fixture with German-Swiss Allstars with nothing to show for it and it was all their own doing. The away side started confidently and had claims for a penalty for handball but Andrew had his hands in front of his chest and it was clearly unintentional and otherwise, GS didn’t threaten and with Hibs’ first fluent attack around the 15 minute mark they cut GS open. Boycey, Thorin and Dan combined to leave the central defender exposed and he chopped Dan down for a penalty. The GAS striker made his way back to the scene and got himself two bookings in seconds and when Dan scored it looked like a tough ask of GS to get points. Hibs created chances to get the second before half-time but Joe’s effort was saved and Thorin dragged wide but GS were by no means hanging on. Two enforced changes at HT but no lack of momentum as Hibs managed the game and Lippy was causing real problems on the wing and had a shot tipped over but then when in his own penalty area he, in his words, “thought I was going to smash it away”. Unfortunately, his diligent defensive work resulted in a mishit and the striker couldn’t believe his luck and GS were level from nowhere. Hibs got on with it and had chances. Jamie twice headed wide free headers and Charlie came on and tested the MoM keeper twice but couldn’t beat him. Hibs completed the self-destruction first by conceding a needless free-kick and then failing to mark either of the men at the back and suddenly GS were leading. Hibs continued to create chances with MoM Shaz driving them on but GS defended well and battled on to hold on for the win so well done to them because it must have felt good. Funnily enough, the Swiss won last year when they had 10 so let’s hope Nippon keep 11 on the pitch next week.
Q: What can you possibly dislike more than playing in the scorching heat of the humongous PSA pitch at 3pm? A: Playing with 1 man down for 80 minutes in the scorching heat of the humongous PSA pitch! Sadly, this is how this game unfolded... Starting off with a strong squad on the pitch and bench, we controlled the game and tried to keep the ball and opponent running. Unfortunately, Basti K pulled - once again - a muscle 5 minutes into the game which marked the first big blow to our game. 5 minutes later, Heinz managed to clear a ball by deflecting it off a Hibs player. It could not have been more obvious but none of the refs saw the deflection so it was a Hibs throw-in which was neatly slotted through to their pacy No. 9 and while dashing through our defence he was brought down. A little disappointing to concede, but no real complaints from GSAS…except from Hamza, who felt hard done by after an earlier incident and engaged in a completely pointless discussion with the ref. After he received the yellow, Hamza turned into something between McEnroe and Joey Barton and could no longer be restrained…the sending off was the logical consequence. The penalty was converted, GSAS down to 10 men with 80 minutes to play, and the lads were fuming… However, we tried to continue with the same strategy and even with 10 men we had the majority of control and possession, but without creating too much danger upfront. The bumpy pitch made it difficult to control and pass the ball neatly, so we still gave away the ball too easily and Hibs always always looked dangerous on the counter attack. At half time, GSAS decided to switch to a risky 3-4-2 formation and it eventually paid off with GI Dee steamrolling through half a dozen Hibs players and somehow finding the back of the net thanks to his sheer commitment and resilience. GSAS now pushing for the winner while Hibs always looking for their No. 9 to finish off one of their counter attacks but either our defence stood firm or Joe produced some fantastic saves. After 70 mins and GSAS was awarded a free kick, Viktor only had one goal: Find the head of helicopter-san Taka on the long post! Following a well executed ball, Taka leapt to unknown heights, and his header bounced over the keeper into the far end of the goal. 2:1 and the game was sealed. A deserved victory taking into account the fantastic morale of the team that never stopped pushing for the 3 points despite being one man down for almost the entire game. On the other hand, a sobering result for Hibs who also could and maybe should have used their chances better. Dee had a fantastic game once again, he really seems to love this pitch. But MoM to our Joe in goal for his impeccable performance and crucial saves, especially towards the end of the game, clearly securing our 3 points. Hibs MoM: No. 9. Thanks to Hibs for what was probably the fairest contest - taking our red card aside - I had ever witnessed. Zero nagging, zero complaining or calls to the ref…exemplary from both sides.