Friday night under the lights at Turf City for our season opener against Cosmo new boys, International Lions. Excitement coupled with a hint of sadness as it dawned us that this special place will no longer be there in a few months’ time. Probably an understatement to say last season was tough-going, but there was renewed optimism among the squad and a determination to get off to a positive start. It was actually the Lions who looked more dangerous early on, their midfielders looking good on the ball and creating space between the lines. GSAS kept good shape though and grew into the game as the half wore on. After a couple of half chances, Adrian battled well on the edge of the box and the ball broke to Mark just inside the area who poked it in for 1-0, which is how it stayed until HT. So far so good then. A tactical change brought Quirin into the game for the second half and he was straight into the action…and rarely out of it. Shortly after half time he forced a mistake from the Lions keeper, found Dee free in the box and, clinical as ever, he made it 2-0. Unfamiliar territory for GSAS but we were determined not to sit back and invite pressure. We continued to push forward and missed a host of good chances to put the game to bed, while limiting the Lions to mainly long-range efforts which were well dealt with by Nicolas in goal. 2 red cards in 5 minutes for the Lions effectively ended the game as a contest and we saw out the last 20 comfortably to claim the 3 pts. Special mentions to Dee, Julian and Nick H for very strong performances, and not forgetting Q who made the second goal, was fouled for both red cards and managed to secure the inaugural dick of the day award for missing an open goal from 5 yards out (though to be fair there were a few contenders…). Quite the 45 minutes! Man of the match deservedly went to new CB NiK W for a commanding debut performance. Thanks to Int’l Lions who played some nice football on the night and look like a good addition to the league. Thanks also to Quentin and his assistants for a well officiated match and for getting the big decisions correct.
International Lions gathered on this Friday night for their very first game in the history of the club in the Cosmo League. Out of all the possibilities we thought of before the game, none of it included ended our first game with 9 players. A warm welcome to the league and a mindful reminders to all of our players. On second thoughts, could it have gone any different though for the team created by Nono and Ouss, very well known in the league by all referees...?! Int'l Lions started strong, dictating the game for the first 25 minutes with great control of the ball in midfield though lacking sharpness in the last 30 minutes. Unfortunately, the German were first to strike with Mark putting it into the net for a 1-0. Second half couldn't have started worse and our hopes of coming back got crushed as a miscommunication between our Goalkeepers and Central defender led to the second Germans goal. Frustration built up and in the span of 5min Int'l Lions saw both of their Center Back getting a warm welcome to the league with a red card each (last defender pulling jersey and second booking). The remaining 9 players gave their everything holding up the fort for the remaining of the game. Well done to the Germans who brought a very organized, structured and physical squad and best of luck for the remaining of the season. For Int'l Lions, a lot of positives for a brand new team with loads of players playing together for the very first time on that night.