Saigon raiders vs Quân an Quân something
After a successful last season (3 out of 4 possible titles, second league championship in a row, 1st time VC winner since 20 years, smashed the opponents at the 7 aside cup, coming in 1st and 3rd, not to forget coming in 2nd place in the cup) Captain Clemens described this match to be the start of the preparation for next season.
After two easy wins at CVA, the team was craving for an opponent that can at least put up a fight. Luckily, we were invited by Quân An Quân something FC. A team apparently playing in the 4th Vietnamese Division and therefore a semi professional team?! We were invited to play at 2pm during the hottest time of the day, on the 14th—the hottest day of the month and in July—the hottest month of the year. Playground for this extraordinary match was …. the stadium close to the airport. Very convenient, if you consider that thousands of fans were flying in from all over the world.
So there it was, the match everybody was waiting for.
Raiders, with interims coach Craig, decided to play a classical 4-4-2, because: “yeah, we have a lot of new guys and we don’t really know how to play together so let’s just play the old formation. Everybody should know how to do that!“
With x/17 selected players Raiders actually had quite some new players. Luckily, our wise coach as well brought our very experienced (read: old) players (Aron, Nano) to compensate for the young/new players.
The match started in a fast pace. Raiders were pressing against the Vietnamese team, who showed good passing, control of the ball and tactical knowledge. I’d consider this team the best we played against since the Viking cup. A real challenge.
Matter of fact, it was us who attempted to score first and tilted the stats towards the expats’ side. Danial Hogg Hoggy attempted to score but got stuck at the keeper. During the first half, it was hard for us to keep possession of the ball. The heat definitely played to the advantage of Quân An Quân something FC. It was no less than Captain Clemens who passed perfectly from just behind the half way line in Jonas’ runway. He was aiming for the ball. Unfortunately, the attempt to smash it volley into the far corner was thwarted by the new shoes and sticky grass.
Halfway through the first half I’d say the Vietnamese were the better team but raiders were fighting with all they got and giving QAQS FC a hard time to score. I believe it was a change made by interims coach Craig that brought a little confusion into our back row. 2 out of 4 defenders is just too bald.???? A slight negligence in our defence brought the 0:1. Raiders behind.
Unexpected by the audience the game didn’t lose edge. Matter of fact, it got more exiting. The turkeys gained more and more confidence and passes became smoother and more precise. It was just a matter of time before raiders would score. Just before the halftime break the long expected happened: captain Clemens passed the ball to Jonas, who passed it on – through the opponents legs- to Dan Hogg who finished as cold as ice. Calm into the bottom right corner. Half time whistle. Perfect timing.
The raiders went into the break with confidence and hope to win this game. The opponent was clearly disturbed by the halftime score. They probably didn’t expect us in such good shape.
The second half started. And the raiders were there. After Hùng and Rob won the ball close to the left side of our box the Raiders started raiding. A perfectly played goal as you’d see it in the 3. Vietnamese Division. The passes went from Rob to Mike, Mike to Clemens, Clemens to Flo on the right wing, from there the ball went to Dan Hogg who pushed it down to the goal line to send it across the box where Jonas slid in and changed the score. 2:1! It was happening. Truly a team-effort goal. Coach Craig’s words meant nothing until we felt it! It was game on! Most respected and leading by great example was captain Clemens (CC from now on). The effort he put in was exemplary and reflected on the whole team. Everyone was fighting for each-other. After the 2:1 it was the Vietnamese who were looking to score again. It was no other that Aron “The Wall” Schuftan and “the guy who let the Raiders out” Hùng who delivered consistently great effort and effective defending. It took a while but at some point the Vietnamese broke through and equalized. QAQS FC didn’t play better though.
Just minutes after, Raiders scored again. It was -once again- Hoggy who didn’t seem to be falling into the same hole as in the first half of last season (0 goals, 0 assists). 3:2 Raiders. Once again it felt like QAQS FC was only playing when they were behind -weird tactic. I bet ICC (Interims coach Craig) could do tactical wonders in that team.
The Vietnamese seemed to play for goals now. MOM Aron and Hung once again gave all they had and kept the Vietnamese from scoring. As well as Arjen who showed a solid performance. It was the …. min when our defense couldn’t handle the pressure anymore and QAQS FC equalized once again. The match got more intense and physical and the Vietnamese realized they might actually loose this game. Especially Chris gave the opponents a hard time. His flicks and tricks clearly confused them.
In our team it was indeed Guido, who was fighting a lot. For him it was slide tackle after slide tackle.
His comment after the match explained his preferred MO quite well: “yes, indeed, i was sliding a lot today, but you know, it doesn’t happen that often, that we play on such a smooth surface where you are able to do that.”, he reasoned for more time spending lying on the ground than running.
10 ish minutes to go… it was CC who decided that we would win this game. As fast and furious as throughout the whole match, he attacked the Vietnamese’s defense and won the ball. Luckily he kept a cool head and saw Sven “Silver Surfer” Höhle standing alone at the penalty spot. No defender within miles. As well as CC, SSS (Silver Surfer Sven) kept his nerves and finished in the bottom right corner. 4:3
The last minutes consisted of us keeping the ball. QAQS FC rarely came close to the goal. Thanks to our well organized defenders. Final whistle. Arms raising Raiders won 4:3. Well deserved.
To summarize the match, suffice it to say that we played a good match, even though we were starting with some new players, it was freaking hot and we conceded 3 goals. It was a great team effort that gave us the upper foot over a strong Vietnamese team. A deserved win for the Raiders. Great effort and teamwork made this first win of the season the more valuable.
MOM: Aron + Hung