June 20th finally saw BEFC's return to action after a 4 month hiatus, against none other than Division 1 Champions Pumas.
BEFC had a very promising start with 2 early chances following direct play into space, but Ririo Bato could not convert on the volley. Unfortunately Pumas got settled into the game more, trying a similar tactic to BEFC with long balls over the defense line and by winning set pieces inside the BEFC half. This worked on 2 occasions, as a loose ball after a corner was picked up by the Pumas winger and curled into the net, and after a long ball was flicked on for the Pumas winger to slot in the second. Pumas came close with a few other chances, but in the end it was BEFC who reduced the margin after a fine ball by center back Ken Hamaya found Kenta Nagasawa in space once more to set the half time score at 2-1.
Pumas piled on the pressure in the second half, and BEFC struggled to get into promising attacking positions. The defensive line led by Ken Hamaya and Akito Shimizu worked incredibly hard to limit the clear cut chances Pumas could create, and managed to well until a well placed ranged effort put Pumas 3-1 into the lead. While attacking play was made difficult in most of the second half, BEFC got a bit more momentum late in the game, getting back to 3-2 after a deflected pass put Ririo Bato through clear on goal. No magic comeback would be celebrated however, as Pumas scored a final goal from a corner kick in the dying moments of the game.
A tough opponent to restart the TML season in difficult conditions. The MVP nominations left no doubt in who stood out for BEFC, as Ken Hamaya's defensive discipline and attacking contributions from the center back position were hailed by everyone. This makes Ken Hamaya the Adecco BEFC MVP for the second time this season, both against Pumas!