BEFC Lions began their third game still stinging from the defeat of the second game. In BFC Vagabonds, the Lions faced a team with a very similar style to their last opponents – this was the perfect match to demonstrate that the Lions had learnt from their previous mistakes.
Changing formation and strategy, the Lions started well with a much more solid presence on the pitch, and better balance between defence and attack. The first half was fairly even between the two teams, with only a few clear chances. CB Masaaki received the team’s first (and currently only) yellow card, for a vital challenge on the Vagabonds striker. Nothing came of the free kick, and the Lions kept attacking.
AMF Charles played a great through-ball to Captain Viran, whose half-volley was desperately blocked by a Vagabonds defender. However, the deadlock was eventually broken with a lucky goal. LW Jaisal sent in a cross which was turned in by an opposition defender. The referee rather generously awarded the goal to Jaisal instead of embarrassing the defender with an own goal.
Lions continued their good play into the second half, with some tired legs after Alex A pulled a hamstring 10 minutes into his debut, leaving us with only two substitutes. With less changes than previous matches, the Lions were able to gain a much better rhythm and understanding with each other. Vice-captain Kaz and Akito both did a great job in DM, holding position, breaking up play, and supplying the attack. Bateman playing on the right wing continuously terrorized the left-back and made some great chances, with at least one squandered by the most handsome player on the team (the captain).
As both teams got more tired, there were more fouls. Viran nearly knocked out a Vagabonds defender with an unintentional backhand smack which could be heard around the whole ground, and slide tackles continued to come in from both sides. The team showed the hunger and aggression that had been missing in the previous game.
Unfortunately, the team had to repay the karma gods for Jaisal’s dubious goal. After a corner was conceded by Mark, the resulting corner kick unluckily found its way into the net. There was nothing GK Arthur could've done about it.
Nevertheless, the team kept attacking, and Bateman continued his great game by smashing the ball at the keeper who got a hand to it as it hit the crossbar, bounced on the line and agonizingly span back into play.
The game finished 1-1, with the Lions playing much better than their previous game, but again knowing that they could have had their first victory with some sharper finishing. The team had wanted to get their first win in this game especially because it was the final game for CB Donald, who will be flying back to the UK this week. His unerring ability to inexplicably tackle any player on the ground, and decisively win all headers in the air will be sorely missed by the team, and therefore the whole team unanimously decided that this game’s Adecco MVP is Donald Freeke.