11 v 11 Full Size Pitch:
Last weekend the Saturday Football International Football Academy (SFI) U15 team competed in a highly entertaining match against a strong MFA U15 team. This friendly, 2 X 35 minutes, 11 aside contest took place on the pitch at the Yingfeng Riverside Park. This match was the first time for the teams to play on a full size pitch.
Both teams came into this game knowing that they were evenly matched, with both clubs posting impressive results in the last season. But it was to be SFI that kicked off the first half the more confident of the two sides. A combination of fast pace and solid passing meant that SFI was able to press MFA from the outset, creating a number of opportunities in midfield early on.
However by the 15 minute mark MFA had grown more comfortable in dealing with SFI, swatting away their set pieces with dismissive poise and counter-attacking from dangerous positions.
By the end of the first half both teams were exchanging possession and opportunities in quick succession, with the standard of football reaching ever more compelling levels. It would be SFI however who eventually capitalized on an opportunity with SFI striker Yanis scoring a confident goal just moments before the referee whistled for half time.
With both teams rested and refreshed, the second half started with SFI content to sit back and play from a relaxed position having secured a 1-0 advantage. It was MFA then who started to push for an early equalizer. Judging by their targeting, it became quite apparent that MFA made some tactical tweaks to dismantle the SFI defense, particularly down their left wing. MFA’s striker Julien, in the first 10 minutes, managed to create several on target strikes against the SFI goal. Fortunately for SFI, their goalkeeper Dhruv had the measure of all of those strikes.
Recognizing that they were opening themselves up for an equalizer, SFI rallied around their right flank in the defense. SFI center back Takeru, moved to the right to support Neel, the SFI right back. As the result, the SFI defense decisively countered another push by MFA. Then, in a counter attack, SFI scored a second goal courtesy of SFI center forward, Kevin.
At 2-0 down, in the middle of the second half, most teams would succumb to their inevitable defeat. But MFA are not most teams. Drawing on the team’s experience from their last couple of very successful seasons, MFA managed to take advantage of a slight lull by SFI to finally sneak in their first, well deserved goal by Julien. Buoyed by this, MFA regained their confidence and started to play more positively against SFI, committing fewer errors and creating more chances for an equalizer.
Sadly for MFA, with 8 minutes remaining, SFI would seal MFA's fate by scoring a 3rd and decisive goal, thanks to a beautiful strike by Rion. With no time to spare, SFI would hang on to their 2 goal advantage by defending from the midfield, closing down space and running down the clock.
The final score for this competitive and highly entertaining match was: SFI: 3, MFA:1.
Final Score: SFI 3:1 MFA
SFI goals: Yanis (1), Kevin (1), Rion (1)
MFA goals: Julien (1)
SFI (1) substitution
MFA (4) substitution