Lions Christmas Cracker – with a good stuffing of the cheating Mitsukoshi

With a respite in the seemingly endless torrential downpour, albeit temporary, that has seen Taiwan become sodden and drenched over the last few weeks, BML action returned to the Bai Ling B pitch, despite a mail the previous evening saying the game was on the A pitch. The random words of “piss up”, “couldn’t”, “a” (twice), “organise”, “brewery” and “in” sprung readily to mind as the Red Lions assembled, looking like they meant business. The opposition, however, looked like they were Rogue FC, in that with just a few minutes to go before kick off, there were fewer than 9 players getting changed, including the old fat guy who makes your humble narrator like he’s been on a Slimfast diet for the last 6 months.

The starting line up for the Lions was Christian “Scrachi” Peluso and Paul “Ginger Elvis” Hemingay at full back, with Charles as one of the two centre backs. In midfield, Mirko the Carp, Salah, Ian “Jimmy Glass” Billett and Fred were chosen, with Panda and Joliet “Suck my balls” James up front. The other centre back was Ant “only if you stick them on my head” the Mamil (Middle Aged Man In Lycra). Your humble chronicler was once more chosen for his epic goalkeeping skills.

Despite the rain, the B pitch – at the beginning of the game at least – was surprisingly playable, yet as Mr Liu blew his whistle to start the game, so too did God see this as a signal to start the rain once more. Of these two unbeaten teams, it was the Lions who looked hungrier, dominating possession in the opening stages, the midfield looking calm and collected, given more time than perhaps a better team would have offered. Despite the possession though, there was very little pressure on the opposition’s goal for the first few minutes. Even less action, of course, was afforded the Lions keeper, who was well protected by the back four. Ant “only if you stick them on my head” the Mamil made some of his trademark crunching tackles to ensure the two decent (if they stopped cheating and blatantly diving) Mitsukoshi players on the pitch could not get through.

Mitsukoshi was essentially reduced to cheating by diving and the shouts of “Ai” which Mr Liu refuses to penalize, despite the fact that if he actually showed a yellow card for it, might actually stop these bullshit attempts at getting a free kick or penalty. Thankfully today Mr Liu was having none of it, and was heard shouting “Play” on several occasions. Several Red Lions were also heard to make comments to the Mitsukoshi players lying in “agony” on the floor along the lines of “get up you cheating tosser”.

The Lions were threatening more and using their width (that is the width of the pitch, not the collective waistlines) which has been the key element of many Lions victories over recent seasons. Ian “Jimmy Glass” on the left was asserting himself, looking for one-twos up the line, with Mirko the Carp and Salah snuffing out the Mitsukoshi midfield. Fred on the right made some sauntering runs, not allowing anything past him. Up front, Panda was looking to hold up the ball, and Joliet “suck my balls” James also made sure that the Mitsukoshi defensive line understood this was not just a game, but a true battle.

With perhaps 20 minutes gone, the Lions took a deserved lead, as a combination of Fred and Joliet “suck my balls “ James won the ball, the latter the delivering a cross so delicious, it could have come straight out of Gordon Ramsay’s Christmas Cook Book. “Jimmy Glass” it was who applied the finishing touch to the move, sticking the ball in to the net for a fully deserved 1-0 lead.

If this goal was expected to unsettle the opposition, then it had completely the opposite effect. Despite the fat number 7 on the Mitsukoshi left getting a yellow card for blatantly holding on to Joliet “suck my balls” James as he tonked past, it was now Mitsukoshi who had the wind in their collective sails. And with Paul “Ginger Elvis” Hemingay injuring himself, supposedly with a pulled hamstring although it could be suggested that he wanted to limp off at 1-0, he was replaced by Genghis “Edwin” Khan. As he left the pitch, Ginger Elvis could be heard singing “I’ll be home for Christmas”.

Mitsukoshi were now pushing hard, the Lions defence under some pressure for the first time in the game, and our opposition was winning a series of corners, which were dealt with by a combination of the non-calling Lions keeper and Ant “only if you stick them on my head” the Mamil.

From one such corner, the call was given “AWAY”, so Jimmy Glass, mere centimetres away from the ball with an easy clearance opportunity, decided instead to leave the ball to go in to the danger zone. From the ensuing scuffle in the box, the ball made its way to the byline where Salah and a Mitsukoshi player both fell to the floor, and as the attacker tried to get up, he tripped over Salah’s foot, Mr Liu awarding the penalty.

In the corresponding fixture last season, it was Mao who got sent off for a blatant foul, and Joliet “suck my balls” James who went in goal. Mao told the replacement keeper where the penalty was going, but this suggestion was, of course, ignored, and Mitsukoshi scored. This time Mao told himself where the ball was going, ignored himself, and Mitsukoshi scored. 1-1.

With game back on, it was end to end stuff, but neither team threatened the two goalkeepers, and each defence/midfield cancelled out the opposing midfield/attack. But there was a final twist in the tail for the half.

As the first half drew to a close, the Lions got a goal kick. With just 15 seconds left, Ant “only if you stick them on my head” the Mamil wanted to take the kick, but Mao assured him he knew what he was doing.

12 seconds to go, Mao was heard to shout “Mirko”. Mitsukoshi knew that this was the one player the ball was definitely not going to, and so left him alone in space.

With 10 seconds left of the half, Mao played the ball upfield with an inch-perfect goal kick to Mirko.

8 seconds remaining, and Mirko flicked the ball with a deft touch, offering a centimeter-perfect pass to Jimmy Glass on the left wing.

He ran for three seconds, before delivering the most millimetre precise cross in to the path of Joliet “suck my balls” James.

Mr Liu checked his watch, cleared his throat, and put his whistle in his mouth as Joliet “suck my balls” James powered the ball home to restore the Red Lions slender lead. As the Mitsukoshi players looked around for someone to blame, the net still rippling from the force of the ball, Mr Liu blew for half time.

The Lions made a couple of changes at half time, Charles being replaced by Kim Sun Il, Ichi the North Korean border guard (who was rather late arriving at the pitch) replacing Fred, and Mirko the Carp being rewarded for his vital contribution to the Lions regaining the lead by being brought off, Godfather his replacement. Mora also came on, Panda making way for El Frijolero.

As the rain got stronger, so too did the opposition, and with the Lions attacking, looking for a third goal to seal the game, Mitsukoshi was also dangerous, especially on the break. The cheating number 6 player took a dive outside the Lions penalty area, once again Mr Liu not interested in any of this bullshit.

At the hour mark, Joliet “suck my balls” James was taken off, replaced by Tim “Brutus” Brown. Standing on the sidelines, Joliet “suck my balls” James was heard whingeing about the lack of fire power up front, and questioning the substitutions strategy of Godfather, wondering too in typical brash, American loud fashion as to who from the Lions team was worthy and able enough to put the ball away.

As the Lions kept up the pressure, Mitsukoshi broke down their left wing, Genghis “Edwin” Khan initially playing the opposition onside, and in the confusion that ensued, both he and Ant “only if you put them on my head” the Mamil decided to go cover the left winger, that cheating tosser of a number 6. The only issue with this was that the same player that Mao hacked down (thus resulting in the aforementioned red card last season) was left all on his own in the middle. All the cheating twat of a number 6 needed to do was centre the ball. Which he did. Your humble scribe this time decided not to take him out in the one on one, probably because he was still sliding in the mud, and as the Lions keeper tried in vain to stop, and find his footing, the Mitsukoshi attacker had enough time to also position himself for a shot in to the open net, to level the scores once more.

2-2 then and for a moment it was looking like the momentum had shifted.

Mitsukoshi was now pushing forwards, and as the Lions keeper collected the ball, it was the cheating Mitsukoshi attacker who tried to kick it out of his hands. Mr Liu correctly blew for a free kick, Mao being protected also by his defenders who made it abundantly clear, as a scuffle broke out between perhaps 8 or ten players in total, to the uber-aggressive cheating Mitsukoshi tossers that they did not appreciate in any way shape or form any hassle of their keeper. Indeed, if anyone was going to hassle the keeper, it would be them.

Fifteen seconds after calm had returned, one of the Mitsukoshi defenders finally made it to the Lions penalty area, and restarted the hassle. Mr Liu motioned to the defender to shut the fuck up and get back to his defensive duties.

Shortly after this, Mitsukoshi played the ball down their right wing, and somehow the attacker ended up in a one on one against the Red Lions keeper, your humble chronicler this time making a reflex save from the powerful shot to turn the ball away for a corner.

Mitsukoshi still threatened though, and once more the Lions keeper needed to be alert as the ball was played in from the left. With Kim Sun Il and the cheating twat of a number 6 also following in, Mao slid in and cleared for a corner. As he was about to jump over his keeper, Kim Sun Il was pushed in the back, thus making contact initially with Mao, and ending up going arse over tit, landing head first in the mud. As he stood up, spewing obscenities and copious amounts of mud, he was most definitely black enough.

Readers of this report may well think that it was one-way traffic, but this is not the case. El Frijolero was constantly looking for the ball, making himself available, yet when he had the opportunity to shoot, decided instead to lay off the ball. Ichi the North Korean border guard too was looking dangerous, bringing width to the game as the centre of the field became more and more bogged as lake size puddles formed.

Indeed it was the Lions who adapted to these conditions better, and when the ball got stuck in the water, they showed the skill to get the ball out of there much better than they previously had against Hong Min.

The game though was entering the final five minutes and it was beginning to look as though both teams would have to settle for a point each when another Jimmy Glass cross was met, this time by Godfather who rose like Jesus Christ at Easter to direct a power header in past the hapless keeper for the Lions to go in to the lead for the third time this match.

And the action was not over there. In fact, there was still time for a red card for what was probably the most innocuous challenge, Mr Liu’s patience finally tested as the Mitsukoshi player attempted to hold back Jimmy Glass. And with Mitsukoshi now down to ten, gone was their resolve.

But the Lions were not finished, and as Mr Liu once more counted down the seconds before blowing the final whistle, Ichi it was who scored a scorcher from distance, the ball screaming in to the back of the net like a North Korean ballistic missile.

4-2 the final score, the Lions getting ready for the evening’s entertainment at the Fu Bar for the Christmas party. And with the Dentway game cancelled for the Sunday, needless to say, it was an alcoholic affair. Ant the Mamil got his wish granted. It’s not yet been ascertained, however, if Joliet James got his.

 

And the moral of this story children is plain to see...

And the moral of this story children is plain to see…

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Red Lions 1 Hong Min 1

Some might see it as two points lost. Others may see it as a point gained, but whichever way you look at it, there can be no denying that the Red Lions were involved heavily in a battle with Hong Min, the champions of 2010-11. Many Red Lions will no doubt be waking up with battle scars after a hard-fought game, with each and every player in the squad playing a significant role in making sure the Red Lions remain unbeaten so far this season.

With Godfather electing on a 4-4-2 formation, the Lions starting line up was Christian “Scrachi” Peluso and Paul “Ginger Elvis” Hemingay as full backs, with Charles and Ant in the central defensive positions. In midfield, Ian “Jimmy Glass” Billett and Ichi took the wings, with Andy the Bear and Godfather in the middle. Up front were Jaime and Fred. Your humble chronicler was once again to be found in goal.

The rain was never going to make this game an easy or pretty one, but perhaps it did suit the Red Lions a little more, and with this knowledge the defensive line was pushed up to allow any through balls to – hopefully – be picked up by the Lions keeper. But for the opening few minutes, the Lions didn’t even get a sniff of the ball, Hong Min happy to play possession, passing it around at the back, looking for an opening on the wings. The Lions midfield and defence though were alert and waiting for the runs of the Hong Min attackers, and so very little action was to be seen in the initial period.

The Red Lions central midfield of Andy the Bear and Godfather was kept busy, shutting down the opposition and making tackles, forcing the opposition back to try to start another attack, Jimmy Glass on the left wing was making some excellent runs, and linking well with Ginger Elvis at the back. On the right, Ichi and Scrachi also seem to have developed an understanding, although perhaps one could suggest that they were a little too close to one another on occasions. Up front, Jaime was his usual no nonsense, gung ho self, making sure that his opponents were very much aware of his presence, with Fred also in no mood for generousity.

But the first goal mouth action of note was at the Red Lions end, after a good through ball on the Hong Min right wing allowed the number 33 to be played in for a one on one with Mao in goal, the Lions keeper making the save before the ball was cleared to safety.The Lions opposition was on the offensive now but Charles and Ant kept their concentration high, making important, strong and fair challenges to keep the opponents at bay.

The Lions attacking chances were few, but on one occasion half way through the first half Jimmy Glass whipped in a pinpoint cross from the wing to Jaime who rose like a salmon with what looked like a free head to power the ball past the useless hapless keeper. Your humble narrator is firmly of the opinion that he would have saved this one too. 1-0 Lions, and perhaps not fully undeserved.

Hong Min responded immediately, turning the heat up on the Lions midfield and defence, but with the Red Lions back line remaining firm and very well organised their opportunities too were limited and they quickly ran out of ideas. As the half started to wind down, off went Andy the Bear with an injury, his replacement being Mirko the Carp who slotted in seamlessly to fill the void in central midfield.

The Lions keeper was called in to action once more though in another one on one situation, again making good contact with the ball before collecting the rebound as it bounced and skidded off this most slippery of playing surfaces.

Hong Min now looked truly as though they had no more ideas as to how to wear down the Red Lions defence, and for the final few minutes of the half, the Lions were playing the sort of possession football that is such a joy to watch, with plenty of short sweet first time passes to feet, movement off the ball.

Half time came and the rain increased in intensity for the occasion as the Lions trudged off the pitch. During the break the playing conditions deteriorated and the puddles that had appeared in the first half had now become lakes.

As the floodlights came on for the second half, the lights having been turned away from the goal areas even more than previously to ensure good illumination in the middle of the park, and total darkness for the 6 yard areas, it was the Lions who once again dominated the opening seconds of the final 45 minutes, keeping possession and playing short, sweet passes on the sort of surface where – perhaps – it might not have been quite the right tactic to do so. As the ball got stuck in the water regularly, the Lions failed to change their tactics to playing on the right wing, where the puddles were fewer, or even to the England national team’s pastime of route one football.

And as such Hong Min took advantage on several occasions. Many times, the central defensive combination of Charles and Ant was called in to action, standing tall as giants to make sure that there was no way through for the Hong Min attack. Hong Min were awarded a free kick just inside Lions territory which was floated in to the area, and it looked as though the Red Lions keeper had perhaps come too far, and was about to be lobbed from 50 metres, but your humble scribe flapped at the ball, getting the slightest touch which just took the ball off its’ original course on off for a corner.

Mr Liu was doing a good job as referee, with Hong Min handling the ball, but the Lions in possession, Mr Liu shouting “Play” to keep the game flowing. The Lions then lost advantage, the ball then came off a Lions hand, but Hong Min were in possession, Mr Liu once more reiterating his desire to keep the game moving by the lack of whistle action.

He certainly was not going to be sucked in by the blatant dive of the number 33 once more as he entered the Lions penalty area, lost control of the ball under a little bit of pressure from Ant, and then fell to the ground demanding a penalty. Mao would have had it anyway, as the shot would have gone to the Lions’ keeper’s left. Mr Liu signaled goal kick for the Lions, the back four of the Lions all repulsed by the cheating tactics of their opponents.

The Red Lions however were losing composure at times, panic perhaps setting in as they tried desperately to hold on to this slender lead. On several occasions the ball was knocked off for a thrown when it could have been hit up the field, or even sliced off for a corner, but despite knocking at the door, the entire team played its own role in ensuring the ball was cleared.

This is not to say, however, that there were not a few scares on the way, with one cross coming in from the Hong Min right flank, Charles going in with a diving header but also flying in a little too low, the ball skimming off his head and was goal bound until a reflexive save from the Lions keeper kept the ball out of the goal, spinning off for yet another Hong Min corner.

Time was beginning to run out, Godfather’s energy had already done so as he lay in a puddle with cramp. To preserve this lead, time wasting tactics were now employed by the Lions, as a series of substitutions were made, Mora coming on, Panda coming on and leaving his mark on a Hong Min defender within a matter of 11 seconds.

Several niggly tackles were now being committed by both sides, some poorly timed, some just because Hong Min are a bunch of uber-aggressive cheating twats.

With just minutes to go before the final whistle, and the Lions hanging on in there, Hemingay was penalized for a push in the back just outside the area. Mao in goal arranged the wall where he wanted it, but instead of staying where he was told to be, Ichi instead got pulled to the right by Jimmy Glass. The Hong Min attacker took full advantage of this gaping hole with his free kick. The ball was bent like Clovis round the wall and hit the inside of the post before rippling the net.

This seemed to affect the Lions, the heads seemed to drop for a moment, Hong Min now looking the more likely of the two teams to get a winner, but Genghis was brought on for the final two minutes, Tim “Brutus” Brown for the final 60 seconds, as the Lions stood firm for a most hard fought of points.

Paddy the Monk sizes up Clovis’ boyfriend

After the game the Lions headed to Frankies for post match drinks and banter, Paddy the Monk sizing up Clovis’ new boyfriend by giving him a good squeeze in the crotch. Mike Leonhard also turned up – his first public appearance in Taiwan since getting hitched. Somehow too Judas was invited to our sponsor, where he failed miserably to buy a round, the cheap Polish bastard.

Up next, Taipei City, and the Lions can expect another hard game against the current champions who once more dropped points at the weekend. This season’s BML is truly wide open, and there is no reason why the Lions should not be right up there in the mix at the end if they can produce splendid team efforts like this one throughout the season.

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The Ichi and Scrachi Show

 

Before the game started, your humble chronicler went and had a quick chat with Ichi.

“You need to score a goal,” he said, “so that I can use the headline ‘The Ichi and Scrachi Show”

Little was anyone to know just how literally Ichi would take this command.

To the game then, and the Red Lions assembled at Bai Ling B pitch, also known as the dust bowl, with a changed side from the previous weekend which had seen the Lions stroll through to a 2-0 victory. Despite scoring the season opener for the Red Lions, Tim “Brutus” Brown was relegated to the bench. The starting line up saw Christian, Ant, Charles and Jose at the back, Salah, Ichi, Ian “Jimmy Glass” and Mirko the Carp in midfield, with Jaime and Fred up front. Your humble narrator was in goal, although for all the action that would be played in the Lions’ half, it may as well have been Krusty the Clown.

Dispelling any thoughts that perhaps the Sanchong boys had progressed during the off season, the Red Lions once more didn’t have to get out of second gear for this game, and the first few minutes emulated the previous game with lots of passes going astray on what has to be acknowledged by all as a seriously bumpy pitch that does not allow nice football to be played. Obviously the BML organizers have taken inspiration from Wall Street, making maximum profits their top priority. Thankfully though Sanchong were having enough issues of their own regarding the retention of the ball, so to say those first 15 minutes or so were not exactly top quality is not a million miles from an accurate description.

Several players found their passes – short or long – head straight to the opposition, and it seemed there was a distinct lack of concentration within the Lions ranks. One such case was evident when the ball was played to Jose, but Jose was not looking. It was only after a gentle reminder that he noticed the ball in his vicinity, so he chased off to go get it. Thankfully for the Lions, Sanchong also was not paying attention.

But gradually the Lions took control of the game, all inspired by the Lions right back, Christian. After having had a rather slow start himself, he found himself in some space on the right wing, made one of those trademark runs to the byline, delivering a powerful that evaded all touches until it reached Ichi at the back post who slotted the ball away in a fashion that had more than a passing resemblance to Rob Edwards’ goal at Wembley in 2008, except it wasn’t a corner, and it weasn’t Dean Moxey delivering the cross. Anyway, 1-0 Lions and this seemed to settle the team.

Shortly afterwards, the Lions got a free kick just outside the Sanchong penalty area, Christian stepping up to take it, firing a breathtaking and unstoppable (unless your humble narrator had been facing it of course) thunderbolt in to the back of the net to make it 2-0. Now the dreams of Taiwan’s youth were truly gone, destroyed within just a few first half minutes.

But the Lions were not finished for the first half, and the Lions were passing with a lot more confidence, Ian and Salah working hard in the middle of the park, trying to find space on this pitch which was as narrow and short as it was bumpy. Now passes were finding the intended recipient, Mirko the Carp making some well timed tackles, the entire back row of the Red Lions defence not allowing the ball or what may once have resembled the Sanchong attack any time or opportunity to bear down on the Lions’ goal.

Christian – or Scrachi as he will now be known – also was not finished, as he delivered one final pass to the far post which looked like it may have gone in off Fred’s shin, but in it went anyway, and the Lions led 3-0. A true showing of men against boys, and among those men, Scrachi stood tall.

Half time came, Godfather deciding not to sub the back row, mainly because they had yet – with the exception of Scrachi perhaps – to break in to a sweat. He did, however, bring himself on, at the expense of Mirko, if my ever so hazy memory serves me correctly.

It was always going to be difficult to follow up on the wondrous first half, especially with the Red Lions entering a secondary phase of complacency. Sanchong, for their part, looked like they hadn’t got a clue what to do any more. Having been shouted at through their half time break, they just wanted to go home to watch Doraemon reruns on TV. Football? Bollocks to that, said the expressions on their poor collective faces.

Within a few minutes, Godfather showed why he had rested himself in the first half by scoring a scorcher from distance, the goalkeeper once more miles away from a veritably unstoppable (although once again your humble scribe is firmly of the opinion that he would have saved it) tonker of a shot. 4-0 Lions and if the Sanchong boys heads had been down before, now they were in total despondency.

But they did break once down their left wing, with Ant shouting to Scrachi to cover him in the middle whilst he personally went in with a crunching tackle (and also most fair) to put the ball in to touch.

And after that, there was no more real action to speak of. Subs were brought on, including a cameo performance by Andy “Dude” the Bear. You will, dear reader, forgive me if I don’t list all subs, especially not in chronological order, but it was quite honestly rather tedious to watch. Sanchong had no fight left, the Lions weren’t really that bothered about scoring more goals. The game was done. Had the referee blown his whistle for time after just 65 minutes there would have been no complaints from either side.

Still there was time for some Red Lions BML debuts for Spike and Alonso, both of whom spurned spectacularly easy chances. First up was Alonso who was played in to a one on one situation with the Sanchong keeper. Alonso perhaps with a little too much cockiness and confidence tried to take about 600 touches more than he really needed, and instead of actually taking a shot, decided to take on the entire Sanchong defence, before taking on the entire Sanchoing defence again, culminating in a save by the keeper.

And if that was bad then Spike’s chance was just desperation on a stick. Also in a one on one, all he had to do was shoot the ball in the general direction of the goal. To say he fluffed it is like saying Mitt Romney screwed up the Presidential election. With so much time and space to place that shot, Spike sliced it, the ball looking as though it may well have gone off for a throw. Certainly the ref and lineman had a good look at each other trying to work out whether to award a throw or a Sanchong goal kick.

Thankfully though missing these opportunities did not matter in the end, as the Lions didn’t exactly romp home, but did what was needed to be the only team left in the BML yet to concede a goal this season.

But the next game… well that’s Hong Min. And the Lions will not be allowed any complacency there!

 

Oh, and Clovis managed to avoid getting kicked in the face this time. Bitches. As he himself would say, “Jajajajajajajajajajajajajajajajajajajaja”

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Salah be Praised – Moment of Middle Eastern Magic Seals Opening Day Win

The Taipei Red Lions came through a potentially tricky opening day fixture against International in the BML with a hard fought, yet rather complacent performance. In his first competitive match as captain, Godfather decided to select 16 players to play, those failing to make the cut deciding to stay home and sulk rather than head to Bai Ling to support the team. Obvious exceptions to this were Lions stalwarts Paddy and Rooney, on their collective triumphant return.

Godfather decided to rest himself, obviously still disgusted at his own performance against JFC a couple of weeks back, allowing Mirko, Salah, Ian and Ichi, the North Korean border guard, to play the midfield roles, with Christian, Ant, Genghis and Paul “Ginger Elvis” Hemingay at the back. This left Jaime and Tim “Brutus” Brown as the North American force up front. Your humble narrator was placed between the sticks. Alongside Godfather on the bench were Clovis, Charles, Fred and Alonso, who obviously has inherited Fred’s mastery of arriving late.

Tim “Brutus” Brown was surprisingly named as on-pitch captain, and he duly won the coin toss, electing to play with the wind in the first half, despite his own wish not to. International kicked off, and that was about as much as they saw of the ball for the first 5 minutes. Once the Lions had won the ball, Ian getting a nice early challenge in, the Lions looked extremely comfortable on the ball, passing to feet and in to space, International chasing shadows as the Lions enjoyed almost entire dominance in terms of possession.

But the problem with having possession is that unless you take shots on goal, possession essentially counts for nothing and with a host of quick midfielders and attackers, International were quick on the break on those brief moments where they did actually win the ball back. Ant made some most excellently timed, strong tackles on a couple of attackers as the Lions played physically, trying to intimidate the opponents. Indeed, the entire Lions back row needed to be alert on several occasions in the initial period, although the Lions goal was never really in any danger during this time.

Having said that, it was the Lions keeper who was brought in to action first, easily holding a tame shot that was sent in directly at him. Still the Lions were pushing forward, looking for an opening, and around midway through the half the Lions registered their first shot of the game. Now that they had worked out where the goal was, and what was needed to be done, a few more shots were taken, one bringing out a fine reflex save from the International keeper as it took an interesting bounce.

One the Lions left wing, Ian was combining nicely with Jaime up front, Mirko and Salah in the centre of midfield were simply dictating terms, and Ichi on the right wing was finding plenty of space. Tim “Brutus” Brown chased every ball that came even remotely his way, shutting down the defenders, allowing them no time to settle, making sure that the Lions could win back the ball in midfield.

However when the Lions switched to the areas of space, instead of running across to help out, the Lions collectively admired the fact that the pass had made it to the intended recipient and thus left the player to fight all on his own. Alas this happened on more than one occasion, and the Lions were left to chase once more to win back possession.

With around a half hour gone, some great play on the Lions right saw Jaime and Ichi playing some intricate passes before the cross came in low and hard. The on-pitch captain timed his run to almost German-esque precision, Tim von Brownhausen tucking the ball away for a deserved 1-0 Lions lead.

If the Lions thought that this would kill off the opponents, they were wrong, and indeed International responded with some asserted pressure of their own, winning a couple of free kicks just outside the Lions area, the Lions keeper asking for a wall on only one occasion, the ball flying way over the bar. On other, wall-less occasions, International seemed confused, and could muster only a very weak shot which finally trickled through to the Lions number 17.

As the half wore to a close, International won a corner from their left wing, the ball being swept in, cannoning off Ant’s boot towards the Lions’ goal, bringing out a fine reflexive save from your humble chronicler.

There would be no more noteworthy action in the first half.

Godfather changed things around for the second half, bringing himself on in place of Ichi, Salah now switching to the wing, Fred going on up front for Tim von Brownhausen. Charles was also introduced in place of Genghis, with Alonso and Clovis left on the bench to come on later.

The second half initially saw a bit more fight from the Lions although complacency was still the biggest threat. International were swift to counter attack when the Lions lost the ball, and the Lions were slow in getting back occasionally. Thankfully the back four of Ginger Elvis, Christian, Charles and Ant stood firm, making well timed challenges whenever needed, Ant’s communication faultless as he arranged cover in the centre of defence when he needed to go wide.

In midfield Mirko and Godfather were fighting hard to win possession on this narrow pitch B at Bai Ling, the BML organizers obviously having done a fine job of doing nothing whatsoever to improve the quality of the playing surface during the off-season. Fred too was making himself available, finding space and competing for every ball as the Lions looked to increase their lead. Ian on the left wing saw a lot of the ball, interlinking with the attack on several occasions.

The Lions though got just the opportunity they were looking for after perhaps a quarter of an hour Salah danced through the middle before firing home from what seemed like a most tight angle to give the lions a 2 goal cushion. However this goal, coupled with the Lions’ over-confidence and the introduction of Henry, the man who is the BML whore, having played for almost every team in the league, saw International grow in confidence. The Lions were now on the back foot, Ant once again being brought in to action as the International attack and midfield streamed through the Lions. Thankfully most of the International players are selfish tossers, who want to beat every single player before slotting the ball home, thus covering themselves in eternal glory. This plan was ever so slightly flawed as the combination of Charles, Ant and Christian crowded those players out.

And when you thought all the guy needs to do is pass the ball out to the two unmarked attackers on the International right wing, instead the attacker decided to take one more touch, then another, then another before losing it, allowing the Lions to clear. International did threaten the Lions goal a little more though, a low hard shot from the left was not held cleanly by the Lions keeper, but thankfully he was able to pounce on the rebound before anyone else.

Shortly afterwards, a rasping shot was hit from inside the area, Mao getting the slightest of touches as the ball just went wide of the far post. As Jaime so eloquently put it, the Lions keeper landed like a sack of potatoes. The referee signaled the goal kick.

Alonso was brought on, as was Clovis, as the Lions looked to shore up this lead, and with the Lions now creating few chances up front, a more defensive battle was on. But shortly after the introduction of the final sub, the Lions were down to 10 men, Salah getting a facial injury. But thankfully the Lions opposition was not able to make anything of their numerical advantage.

As the clock wound down, Clovis valiantly went in for a header against the International attacker (already yellow carded) who decided to try an audacious overhead kick, missing the ball completely, instead connecting heavily with Clovis’ head. If Mao had previously landed like a sack of potatoes, then Clovis landed like a sack of lead potatoes. The referee had no choice but to give the International attacker his second yellow, International down to ten, the Lions now down to nine.

And just over a minute later, the ref blew his whistle for the end of the game, the Lions having ground out a far from convincing victory. 3 points, however, were in the bag, although they will have to perform better than this in coming games to mount a challenge on the BML title.

At the end of the match, the International attacker who was sent off came over to apologise to Clovis.

“If your heart is as soft as your eye,” he said, “I know you will forgive me.”

Clovis replied:

“If your dick is as hard as your foot, here’s my phone number.”

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Lions 7 Judas FC (aka Gay Polish Rogues) 2

When a combination of Polish and Italians start organizing things then you know that chaos is about to reign. And so it happened on Friday evening when a full squad of Lions turned up at the Da Jia pitches for the friendly against a new-look Rogues FC. Even those who turned up late were not late, because the Italian-Polish combination of Godfather and Judas the Unworthy couldn’t find the guy responsible for turning on the floodlights.

After searching all the bars in Lin Sen North Road, all the bin lang joints in Xinbei, and various other localities of disrepute, the guy finally turned up and reluctantly turned on the lights. Instead of getting the game started, Godfather instead embarked on some positional training which, it was clear, everyone forgot as soon as the game started.

With many players missing, it was somewhat surprising perhaps that so many fit Lions turned up, including Jaime, Mora, Charles, Salah, Mirko the Carp, Ant, Clovis, Ian (aka Jimmy Glass), the Japanese pairing of Ichi and Scrachi (aka Tetsu), Genghis, TB, Francois, as well as our resident Italians Nicola, aka Bonasera, and Godfather. Your humble, meek, mild-mannered, and extremely quiet chronicler was in goal.

Having played a goalless game against JFC the previous weekend, Godfather needed to make some tough decisions, and ended up dropping himself to the subs bench after having missed many goal scoring opportunities. It was a decision that the team fully agreed with.

To the game then and the Lions raced out of the blocks, playing the beautiful passing game that is a sight for sore eyes. Jaime and Ian combined nicely, playing in a full 11-a-side game for the first time, TB fought valiantly in the way that only TB can, chasing the ball, hassling the Rogues defenders at any opportunity. Beautiful passes to feet, running off the ball, Salah in midfield almost dictating things the way he had against JFC. Francois too was seeing a lot of the ball early on, as the Lions defence of Charles and Ant, flanked by Genghis and Clovis failed to be troubled at this stage. Mirko the Carp was his usual steady self, making some excellent tackles, and not allowing the Rogues midfielders to settle.

Within minutes it was Jaime who opened the scoring, the Gay Judas Polack goalkeeper for the Rogues showing his true lack of talent by essentially presenting Jaime with an open goal. Jaime didn’t need a second invitation as he slotted home, the Lions run of missing goals now officially ended.

The Lions were pushing hard for a second, but did not count on the pace of the attackers of our opponents. And despite dominating once more the possession, Rogues found a break and with the Lions back four playing a high defensive line, placed a nice through ball up their own left wing. With Mao unsurprisingly slow out of his goal, the attacker slid the ball past the hapless Lions keeper to make it 1-1.

Parity would not last long though. Immediately from the kick off, the ball found its way out to Ian “Jimmy Glass” on the Lions left wing, who restored the Lions lead immediately with a low hard shot in to the far corner of the goal.

Before the end of the first period, Salah too got on the score sheet, the rather disjointed efforts of the Rogues defence allowing the Lions midfield maestro to work his magic.

As the whistle went to signal the end of the first period, Godfather deciding once more on a 3 x 30 minute period game, the Lions looked both comfortable, and, with their collective goal scoring boots on, capable of scoring yet more goals.

Having said that, it was the opponent who scored first in the second period, the Lions keeper quite obviously being fouled in the lead up to the goal, Godfather turning a blind eye in much the same way as a BML referee would, Godfather a stickler in his attention to detail about the imitation of a BML match. Except for the format. And the location of the game. And the timing of the game.

Mao, it must be said, was not happy by this amateur level of refereeing. 3-2 then and the Rogues were now putting us under pressure but the Lions failed to panic. Some excellent challenges at the back by Ant and Charles, Clovis fired up and Genghis too making sure that the Lions locked up at the back, all combined to make sure that there would be no more goals conceded this period.

The Gay Judas Polack had obviously instructed his team to place corners and crosses on the Lions keeper, renowned for his inability to catch anything, including a cold, and from another cross, the Lions keeper fumbled and flapped, the ball finally being cleared away from danger by Ant.

Gradually though the Lions worked their way back in to the game, Rogues perhaps now a little flustered at not being able to score again. Instead, moments of magic from Francois essentially finished off the Rogue challenge as he scored not once, but twice in the latter part of the period to put the Lions in to a most commanding position, the Frenchman showing some touches of brilliance as he danced his way through the Rogues defence and past the goalkeeper.

However the Lions still pushed a high line, which Rogues exploited, and it was only a combination of some last ditch defending and some alert keeping from your humble narrator which averted the danger.

The final period saw Godfather relieve himself of refereeing duties, Chancy coming on for the final 30 minutes to officiate as Godfather donned the red and white stripes of the Red Lions, coming on for a final cameo appearance before the BML starts next weekend.

The first action of the period though was at the Lions end, once cross being tipped over and on to the bar by the Lions keeper. From the resulting corner, Rogues had the ball in the net, but with the referee having slightly more refereeing abilities than Godfather (ie some abilities), Chancy saw another blatant push on the Lions keeper in the build up and rightly gave a free kick the Lions way.

Shortly after, Godfather showed a moment of magic as the ball found its way out to him, lurking just outside the Rogue’s penalty area, and he smashed home an absolute screamer from 25 metres to put the Lions in to the most commanding of leads. Well, the Germans certainly thought so against Sweden.

However, unlike the Germans, the Red Lions were able to not just defend this 4 goal margin, but also build upon it, and with the game in the final minute, it was Ichi who slotted the ball home from the right edge of the Rogues penalty area to seal the 7-2 victory.

So a good end to the warm ups for the forthcoming BML season, and with several Lions now with their shooting boots working, perhaps International should be wary of the Lions who seem to be coming out of their collective slumber.

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Red Lions 0 JFC 0

How this game ended goalless is anyone’s guess. Actually, you could do worse than ask Godfather who missed open goals galore, emanating a shocking miss in the first period by Francois, but your humble scribe is getting ahead of himself slightly.

The Red Lions turned up for this 9 AM kick off with the usual lack of energy you would expect from a team of binge drinkers. It was hardly the massive squad that Godfather really wanted in order to get a good overview of the squad for the forthcoming BML season, but still enough players turned up for the Lions to actually field 11, and let’s be honest, what more could Godfather realistically hope for?

So to the game, and there was hardly a selection problem for Godfather – with just 13 players turning up on time, he chose to watch from the sidelines as the others played. The line up then was a 4-4-2, with Clovis and Paul “Ginger Elvis” Hemingay, sporting his ever-growing sideburns, as full backs, Jose and Ant in the centre of defence, Sergay, Spike, Mirko the Carp and Salah in the middle, with Jaime and Francois up front. Ok, it might have been slightly different, but it was an early kick off. Someone else turned up late – I believe it was Alonso, but as I was concentrating on the game itself, I may well be mistaken.

The Lions started strongly, nice passes to feet, spreading the ball around, the Japanese finding it hard to get a touch, and yet when they did have the ball, the Lions closed them down and regained possession. And, like Miss World (if you like that sort of thing), it was beautiful. That Lions passing game was a joy to behold, it just never got boring. The Japanese found it difficult to get the ball out of their own half, and when they did clear it up field, the defensive core simply switched flank to launch another wave of attacks.

The Japanese keeper was definitely the busier of the two players between the sticks, Mao was seen sitting in his fold up chair, drinking a latte and nibbling on a cheese croissant, not a care in the world, pretending to do the Times crossword when in fact he was checking out the Snoopy cartoons. But I digress. The Lions attackers were making sure that this was not going to be an easy day for the Japanese, shots and crossing coming in as though it were an American raiding mission in 1944.

In the middle of the field, Mirko the Carp was playing his usual role of fine passing, Salah fitting in nicely to his role, while the two wingers were playing well and getting in some decent crosses.

Thankfully for the Japanese though they had someone in goal who could catch the ball, so crosses were taken with ease. And despite the most uneven statistics of possession, the Lions shooting was tame at best. In fact, the first period was epitomized by the glaring miss by none other than Francois, who – when through on goal – took the ball past the keeper and instead of slotting the ball home as any normal person would, instead decided to take an extra touch before slotting it …. errrr …. wide.

The Japanese however did have one chance in the first period, getting a most tame free kick from the referee from an Ant challenge. Knowing the Red Lions keeper was crap at crosses, they whipped one in to the mixer, and with Mao so hopelessly out of position, he may as well have been in Luxembourg, the Japanese attacker got a free header, the Lions defender marking him also enjoying a nice trip to the Duchy, but smacked it over the bar for a goal kick.

The Lions had a succession of corners, one of which was delivered by Clovis, who failed to even get the ball to the front post. As most Lions were at the back post, this meant an easy clearance for our opponents. From the opposite side though, one corner was whipped in nicely, I believe by Jaime, the defender rising beautifully to head the ball on to his own post, the goalkeeper left stranded and wrong footed, the entire JFC team breathing a collective sigh of relief as the ball bounced wide for another Red Lions corner.

And thus signaled the end (essentially) of the opening period, the Lions easily the better team, JFC looking as though they were about to be battered. Mmmmmm…tempura!

For the second period, Godfather brought himself on, Francois was off, especially for that glaring miss. Godfather announced to the world that he would show Franky how to do it. Instead though it turned out to be a case of whatever Franky can do, Godfather can do several times over.

As well as bringing on himself, Godfather also introduced Ichi, the North Korean border guard, who switched teams after playing the initial period for JFC. Alonso, or whoever it was who turned up late, was also introduced.

The second period started the way the first one did, the Lions eating up the possession, playing some most excellent football, the passing going nicely, although Ant decided it might be fun to pass to the team in blue instead of the team in red. After all, variety is – as Ant will testify – the spice of life.

With the extra team to change out whenever they liked, the Japanese had more energy and so slowly they worked themselves in to the game, the Lions defence perhaps pushing too far up field, susceptible to the break.

Thomas had several chances to put the Lions ahead, but deemed the shots too easy, and so decided instead to miss them. Not once, not twice, but at least three times in the second period. And yet more was to follow.

The Lions kept pushing, but could not find a way past the JFC defenders, and when they did, the goalkeeper was there to make the stop. As the period came towards a close though, JFC got a break, and with Clovis marking zonally, probably the Twilight Zone, the ball was passed to the JFC attacker down their right wing, who took the ball past Mao and had a tight angle in which to slot the ball home. But Mao managed to slow the player a little by attempting to trip the attacker in the same way as saw him get a red card against Mitsukoshi last BML season, but it was just enough to break the stride of the attacker which brought Mirko the Carp in for a lunging, last ditch tackle which put the ball off for a corner.

From the corner Mao called for the ball. Mao rose like a soufflé. Mao actually, miraculously, caught the ball. JFC, who know that this is a physical impossibility, all closed in, knowing that Mao would drop the ball. Jaime went off for a run down the right wing, where the ball was duly delivered, and suddenly the Japanese were outnumbered at the back just as they were in Canton in 1938. However, the Lions once again were unable to capitalize on their numerical advantage, and the ball was cleared.

For the final period the Lions knew that JFC would have more energy, as they were constantly changing out their team. The Lions though were starting to slow down, but still they surged forwards, the scent of victory in their nostrils.

At the back, the Lions got a free kick. Clovis wanted to take it. Jaime shouted “No Clovis. No. No. NO!”

Clovis took the free kick. It didn’t go far but the JFC midfield was most appreciative.

“Which bit of “no” didn’t you understand Clovis?” came the sarcastic remark.

Thomas, Salah, Jaime all had their chances again to open the scoring, but failed miserably to do so. Ichi, the North Korean border guard fought well and made some impressive passes. At the back, again it was really too simple for the Lions, with Ant now finding his rhythm, and Jose happy to take on two attackers and distribute the ball to the wings, where the Lions could clear. Paul “Ginger Elvis” Hemingay was also making well timed tackles, although he too was seldom troubled.

With legs beginning to tire though, JFC broke and forced a decent save from the Lions keeper. With Mao hopelessly scrambling on the ground, resembling more a beached whale, the ball rebounded to the JFC attacker, Clovis once more nowhere to be seen, yet instead of simply slotting the ball home, the aforementioned JFC player decided to do a Godfather, and sliced it harmlessly wide for a Lions goal kick.

And so the game ended. 0-0, but it could have been 10-3. Chances galore, but no one was on hand to slot the ball away. Panda, who had no excuse for missing the game, and was fined two rounds, could possibly, and would quite probably, have had a hat trick in each period, but just when you need someone who has the sense to take the shot when the opportunity arises, instead of trying to look clever, and play the cool stuff, he decides instead to stay in bed.

However, thanks must be said to our Captain and Vice Captain for organizing the game at short notice, and if the Lions can find someone who can shoot and score, then there is still perhaps hope for the forthcoming BML season after all.

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Autumn Cup – Red Lions Tournament Report

After what seems like an eternity of no football for the Red Lions, a new-look squad (i.e. a full one) assembled at the Da Jia Peacock pitches in time for the final Taiwan Cup of the year. And for our home tournament, which was excellently organized by a combination of your most humble chronicler and the sorcerer’s apprentice, Jaime.

As the Lions assembled, huddling in for the pre-match talk, who should turn up but Chairman Mao, having arrived punctually from South Africa. Relieved that neither Panda nor Clovis now had to go between the sticks, the Lions took to the pitch knowing that they had – on paper at least – the easiest game first, against tournament newbies, Taipei United.

With a squad that comprised of Charles, Christian, Clovis, Hemingay, Jaime, Ian, Panda, Thomas “Godfather” Costa, Tim “Brutus” von Brownhausen, Baco, or Taco, or Paco or whatever his name is, Mirko the Carp, Fred and Mao, although perhaps your humble narrator has also inadvertently missed one or two, which – given the fact that I had just returned from a 15 hour journey across continents in order to join the cup – is fully understandable, and – might I remind you, especially those newbies who may think that a precise Match Report is the key factor to joining a football team – totally fineable should anyone think about having a whinge, a sook or just a fucking cry about it, the Lions took on the task of dismantling United with a nice array of attacking football.

Mirko the Carp scored the first to put the Lions in to a good position, Panda securing the win as the Lions made the game look just as easy as it really was. Fred on the right wing was actually heard to shout for the ball, and delivered some very nice crosses as the Lions dominated from start to finish. Tim “Brutus” von Brownhausen was his usual pitbull self, chasing after every ball, and putting in some strong challenges.

Newbie Ian, who has been welcomed to the Lions despite the fact that he is a Carlisle United fan, made a most successful start to his Lions career by showing the type of deft touch that will delight the crowd in the BML and both goal scorers will be happy with their display.

At the back, the interesting combination of Charles and Christian made light work of keeping the opponents at bay, and Clovis…. Well what you expect from Clovis is what you got from Clovis.

Mao actually held a cross. The earth stopped turning for a millisecond, as God tried to fathom how that had happened.

To Compass then, and the Lions were in full confidence after the first game. And yet despite being the better team, we lost 1-0. But this was not too serious – we knew that Carnegies was up next, and they would not even put up a fight. After all, we knew they would be up for this game like Clovis would be for a bit of pussy.

And – true to form – so it turned out to be. Francois, in the middle for Carnegies, was the only player who looked anywhere near fired up for the game, the rest of the players knowing that the Lions were the superior team, and giving up like the little pussies that they are.

Both Captain Thomas “Godfather” Costa and Vice Captain Jaime scored as the Lions mauled their opponents, the back 4 hardly being troubled as Carnegies FC seemed unable to get the ball out of their own half. Indeed Carnegies seemed to accept their own inferiority in much the same way that Clovis accepted he is a raving poofter.

Mao touched the ball twice during this game. The first to waste lots of time at 1-0. The second to waste even more at 2-0.

And with that, the game was over. Carnegies headed off the pitch with their proverbial tails between their proverbial legs, the Lions with smiles on their faces having proven what essentially the rest of the world knew already.

Compass drew with Scunners, and had a man sent off, thus opening the group wide up. Although Carnegies wouldn’t stand a chance of qualifying. In fact there were some who thought perhaps they would try to lose all group games in order to win the inaugural Saucer competition. Carnegies…. The source of class.

To the final group game of the day, and the Lions were up against the Scunners, both teams knowing that a draw would be enough to get through.

Despite dominating the game in much the same way as Clovis likes to believe he dominates his boyfriends, the Lions were thwarted by a combination of excellent goalkeeping, desperate defending and poor finishing. 0-0, Lions roaring through to the Cup phase, Carnegies and Compass dumped in to the Plate, United exactly where they deserved to be – in the Saucer.

With the help of the new sponsors, Frankies Pie Bar and the Fu Bar, the beers flowed as Mao bought the round. Yes people, all those Singha’s did not just magically appear out of the air. You’re worthy.

To Sunday, and the Lions were up against the good friends from Jhubei, as well as the Scum and the Black Stars. Group of Death? It certainly seemed that way. Just 12 players turned up for the Sunday, so there was plenty of playing time on offer. The only hope was that there were no injuries.

First up was Jhubei, and within seconds it was 1-0 as our opponents took advantage of some sloppy defending and some rather slow goalkeeping as Christian decided to get the final touch as he knew he needed to get on the score sheet this weekend. This woke up the Lions, and it was then all one way traffic. The combination of Ian and Fred on the wings was a constant source of trouble for the Jhubei defence, and Panda and Thomas “Godfather” Costa both had several efforts scrambled away by a Jhubei team that seemed to have parked the bus in order to protect this valuable lead.

Perhaps aware of the Lions penchant for coming from behind, they knew that the pressure was mounting. In the group phase in 2011’s Taipei Autumn Cup, they had raced in to a 2-0 lead, only to see the Lions roar back to win 3-2 with a last minute winner. And although the Lions were not able to secure the win, it was Thomas “Godfather” Costa who eased the Lions’ red faces, scoring the equalizer with a fine effort.

The Lions pressed for the winner, but time ran out for them as the ref blew for full time. Not a disastrous result, but the Lions knew they would need to do better against the Scum and the Black Stars.

Up next, the Scum. And once more, they raced in to an early lead, as Clovis, marking Oumar as closely as he dared after his “Monkey Lips” quip – in other words, about 25 metres away – was nowhere as the Scum carved through the Lions’ defence. As Mao closed him down, Oumar passed to a relatively free and unmarked player (I believe it was the man who was once voted biggest expat twat on the island 9 times in a row) who scored to make it 1-0.

To say that the Lions were being run over is a mild understatement. But for once, the on-pitch bickering was not taking place, as the Lions supported each other without sinking to the insults. Those we leave for Carnegies.

But the Scum was not finished, and despite the valiant efforts of Jaime’s running, the Lions still found it difficult to get the ball. Mao was forced in to a decent save, diving low to his left as the Scum pushed to put the result beyond doubt. They then got a corner, whipping in a cross that held up in the wind, Mao needing to stay alert as he tipped it over the bar.

As the game entered the final moments, the Lions mounted an attack, and with the Scum getting back a little slowly, a corner was won. Instead of waiting for more attackers to arrive, Jaime whipped in a cross so pleasurable, it could have been offering free sex, and newbie Ian sent the ball over the defender with a looping header, the goalkeeper a mere spectator as the Lions stunned the Scum.

Time ran out for the Scum as the wind now left their sails, and the Lions gladly took the 1-1 result. However they knew that they needed to beat the Black Stars, and hope Jhubei got a result against the Scum.

The Black Stars – it must be said – were expected to put up more of a fight than they actually did. The Lions were up for the game, the Black Stars resembling Carnegies in their lack of fight. Panda had a golden opportunity to put the Lions in to the lead, but fluffed it up badly, missing the target when it was easier to score.

Once more, it fell to Thomas “Godfather” Costa to score the winner, with a low and fierce shot that curled away from the goalkeeper, although having said that your humble scribe is of the firm opinion that he would have saved it, to make it 1-0.

The Black Stars had no reply, but alas the Lions also were not able to extend that lead, and so we needed Jhubei to get a result OR to limit the Scum to 1-0.

And in that final group game, the Scum made it 2-0 before Mao resorted to the most outrageous of tactics. He headed over to Jhubei’s goalkeeper asking if they could get one of the Scum players sent off. It almost worked, as the crowd jeered the man who was once voted biggest expat twat on the island 9 times in a row every time he got the ball. Despite the Scum being awarded 2 yellow cards, they could not get that man sent off which would have got the Lions through to the final, the Lions being knocked out on goal difference.

However what was apparent was that despite not having played as a team for many months, the camaraderie is still as good as it has ever been. And with the BML season just weeks away, the teamwork and resolve can only work in our favour.

A special mention must go to our vice captain Jaime – he stepped in as Mao was called away last minute on a business trip to sort out the final things for the Autumn Cup. Thanks also to all Red Lions who turned up over the weekend for what turned out to be yet another awesome Taiwan Cup. Now we can focus on the BML and the Winter Cup in Kaohsiung!

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