The first half started in a very competitive mood and both teams struggled to rule the game. The ball was moving back and forth with few effective approaches. Although towards the end of the half, 1TM started to make chances, Nippon managed to close it with 0-0. However, in the early 10-15 minutes of the second half, 1TM managed to get 2 goals from both amazing shots slightly outside of the penalty box. This was followed by another goal scored by a good header in a very crowded competition in the air which unfortunately dropped into Nippon's goal. Nippon never gave up even though they had 3 goals to go after. They made tireless efforts and made a few very close shots which were defended by the GK. 1TM managed to close the game with a clean sheet by showing their great technique and ball possession. Great game and well played! Thanks for the ref who helped to manage this very clean game.
1TM’s first Friday Night Lights (FNL) of the season saw us take on a tricky opponent in Nippon F.C. Despite their league position, everyone in the league knows that they possess lots of quality and can give any team a challenging game on their day. A combination of work, injuries and Covid meant it was a busy week at 1TM HQ, but Tally worked his magic again to assemble a strong squad. The match started off with 1TM looking enviously on as the Nippon players set up an extraordinary piece of filming equipment that was sat on top of a huge tripod (a bit of googling revealed that it’s a camera that uses AI technology to track the ball (we were all impressed when the South African ref used to bring headsets for the linesmen and got his magic spray out - this was next level for amateur football). Cue spot of PDPA banter and the game was ready to start. Both teams started brightly in the opening exchanges. 1TM were looking to exploit opportunities from out wide whilst Nippon looked to break quickly on the counter. Both sides created chances and saw good efforts drawing decent stops from both keepers. It was a fairly even match as the whistle was blown for half time. Tally’s half time message was clear, continue to relax on the ball, be positive and the chances will come. 1TM picked up the pace in the second half and reaped a reward for their efforts within 5 minutes of the restart. Some good build up play saw the ball find its way to Sharples out wide, he played the ball inside to Sherlock who tried to gather the ball on the edge of the area but was fouled in the process. The referee played an excellent advantage as the ball broke to Nate and he rifled it first time into the top corner leaving the Nippon keeper with no chance. A great finish for 1-0. The second goal came shortly after. 1TM’s front three worked tirelessly all night to win the ball back and forced a throw-in inside the Nippon half. Flat White’s long throw was flicked on by Nate and Tinks, who was just inside the area, turned and hit a half volley that flew into the far top corner. Another worldie for 2-0. 1TM won the ball back straight away and after some good passing exchanges, the ball was crossed into the box and that man Nate got his head to the ball before the keeper and defender and looped into the net for 3-0. Nippon typically didn’t stop trying to get into the match and pushed hard to get a goal. The back line of 1TM was in no mood for conceding with Frando and JCG, reliving their old Rangers CB partnership, in fine form. Well played to Nippon, who gave us a really tough match. It was played in the right spirit and took a couple of special goals to edge it. A big thank you to Urs and his team of officials for their good work too. Massive thanks to the players who came down at the last minute to bolster the squad and Taishi San and Mrs Snail for supporting. MOM Nippon F.C - Jo MOM 1TM - Nate MOM DOD - Dev again Lucky Charm - Mrs Snail