After a long, intense but effective pre-season with coach colin aka “the slaughterer, we finally arrived at the start of a new SIFL Season.
With all the players arriving
in their new shiny outfits you could spot a raider from a distance while
driving to the pitch.. What a time to be a raider!
After trying on the new kits, an extensive warmup and of course the usual peptalk of the coach, the team was ready to eat some freshly baked croissants and destroy Olympique.
The whistle blew at 2pm sharp
and the new season had started. Olympique started with the ball but after only
5 seconds in the game it was good pressure of Kevin and Chris that got Raiders
possession of the ball. From there on Saigon raiders tried to get control over
the game. The strategy thought out by Coach Colin was clear; try to find one of
our two lightning-fast strikers. Unfortunately this wasn’t very effective
during the first 9 minutes of the game with midfielders Kevin, Chris, Ben and
Guido trying to find those strikers several times but without any luck. Because
of the lack of precise passing it looked a bit sloppy from the sideline. This
sloppiness disappeared when in the 10th minute of the game it was Hoggy who
found Emma with a nice ball through the defense, which left Emma one-on-one
with the goalie.
Emma definitely knows what to do with these kind of changes and he placed the ball nice and easy in the right corner. 1-0! The first goal of the season for the Saigon Raiders is a fact.
After the 1-0 it was actually
olympique who grabbed control over the game and kept pushing on the Raiders
defence through their right wing. It looked like our left wingback was still in
Nha Trang and the players of Olympique had a free entrance pass including
drinks into our 16 yard box. Luckily though, this free entrance only lasted for
a few minutes because on that moment our centre-backs “took their
responsibility” and rearranged our defense.
After the instructions the defence was solid and Flo, James, Scott, and Mark stopped almost every player who came close to our goal. If a player, however, managed to get through, there was always Mirko the Italian who is just an Italian and therefore hard to pass.
After some more rearrangements to the sloppy fieldplay of the Raiders, we got control over the game again and it was in the 19th minute when Kevin(?) sent Hoggy one-on-one with the goalie; Hoggy decided not to shoot but to try and pass the keeper. The croissant with number 1 on his back could only reach for legs and tackled him down in the box. A clear penalty and a yellow card.
After some target practice
during warm-up Hoggy was confident enough to stand behind the ball again after
his last (terrible) penalty in the final against Fighting Cocks. With no doubt
this time he placed the ball in the left corner. Keeper did not stand a chance.
From there on it was a fairly easy game for the Raiders. After another splitting pass, it was Emma again who went one-on-one with the goalie who again fouled our striker inside the box; another penalty. While it was the exact same foul as the other foul of the goalie, this time the referee kept his card in his pocket (“They don’t have a spare goalie”) and the number 1 croissant could stay on the pitch.
Mike this time took the penalty and of course scored. 3-0!
Saigon raiders kept on pushing and had some changes but without any luck.
There were only a few minutes to play in the 1st half when suddenly Fola got the ball in his feet on his own half. He decided to show everybody what he can do and just kept on running towards the goal, there was no french man at all who stood in his way and therefore ended up eye-to-eye with the goalie again. With a cheeky chip he defeated the goalie. 4-0!
This was also the half time score.
With some changes in the 2th half Martin, Adam and Sven came on the pitch, marking yet a few more league debuts and shots of Turkey. From that moment it was only the Saigon Raiders who attacked and the French had once again waved the white flag.
Hoggy found the goalie a few times. Martin had a clear chance eye-to-eye with the goalie but missed, and Fola just missed the goal with a belter to the far corner.
Like the saying goes in football; if you miss the chances you get, the ball will probably go in on the other side and this is exactly what happened.
A through pass from the midfielder of Olympique combined with a wrongly executed offside trap from our defence set the striker of Olympique in front of the goal. With all the time he thought he had he was trying to place the ball in the right corner but then there suddenly was Adam the Flying Brit who tried to stop the striker from scoring. With a slide tackle he did manage to touch a bit of the ball but also ‘touched’ all the body parts of the striker, clear penalty. Mirko couldn’t stop the striker from scoring; 4-1.
After the inevitable kick-off it was almost immediately Kevin Fox who found Fola on the right side of the pitch. Fola once again defeated the defender with a simple but effective move to the right and shot it hard alongside the keeper in the short corner, 5-1! What a way to respond to a setback.
This 5-1 was also the final score of the game.
James Q was outstanding in the
defence today and therefore got rewarded MOTM. Chris running off the pitch and
disappearing to the bench for a good 5 minutes, creating total panic in the
heads of Hoggy and Coach Colin, got him a well deserved Turkey.
Saigon Raiders started the season well with 3 points in the pocket. After the match it was time to relax, get a beer and watch the Saigon Vikings put up a great performance against Fighting Cocks. The match was great and probably the highlight of the day!