Reported by Adrian Chia
Edited by Celine Yeap
The KE female soccer team was back in action this morning from where they left off last Saturday, when an untimely thunderstorm forced the rest of the tournament to be postponed. To recap, the team had played three out of their five matches – losing to RH whlie drawing SH and the much fancied EH. That tally took them to the fifth spot in the six-team tournament. Their remaining fixtures were against KR and TH.
Despite the heavy odds stacked against them, the team, fully recharged after the Chinese New Year break, was raring to fight for glory. Under the guidance of coach Cunzhi, everything seemed systematic and orderly as the girls quickly split into small groups to practice their drills upon arrival at the venue. There was also much positive energy bouncing off every member of the team as they chattered and cheered for each other right from the start. The girls looked to be in great shape and all ready for the battles ahead!
Their first match was against KR. Much to everyone’s surprise, team KR only came with 7 players – exactly the number needed on the field! In other words, KR did not have any player on the bench available for substitution! Apparently many of their players were unable to make it for today’s match and they had to make do with the only VII they had.
During the pep talk right before the match, coach Cunzhi was heard telling the team to beef up their defence against KR, a team which managed to score in all their previous games. His words were certainly well heeded by the team as the defenders, anchored by Unnaa and assisted by Indah and Mae Yue on each side, worked their best to thwart the relentless attacks launched by their opponents. Time and again the KR strikers were frustrated by the impenetrable defence. Alas, KR finally managed to break through when one of their strikers scored from a tight angle in the first half. KE 0 – KR 1.
In an ironic twist of event, the KR striker who scored what eventually turned out to be the winning goal injured her ankle as soon as the match resumed and had to limp off to the sidelines. With no players available for substitution, KR had to play on with only 6 players. Sensing an opportunity to better the score, team KE adopted a more aggressive strategy in the second half as they sought to capitalise on their numerical advantage. The midfielders and strikers tried again and again to pass the ball up front and to organise attacks. However, their efforts were well contained by their opponents as KR help up the pressure to win the match 1-0.
Defeated but definitely not demoralised, the girls took a short break before they were back in action against TH. Before the second match, coach Cunzhi told the team, “be on your toes, as TH will come fast and punish any mistakes you make”. Once again, Cunzhi was proven correct as right from the starting whistle, the TH players dominated with their fast pace and accurate passes. TH scored a goal within the first few minutes. Soon after that, they hit the crossbar once and looked dangerously close to scoring on several occasions. Thankfully our goalkeeper, June, was on top of her game as she made several brilliant saves to keep the team in contention. The score stood at KE 0 – TH 1 by the end of the first 12 minutes.
In the second half, TH scored 3 goals in quick succession as our defensive errors were harshly punished by their crafty strikers. The haemorrhage stopped only when the lineup underwent a total makeover – nearly the entire VII was substituted. As the team stabilised, attacking chances were created but they did not go very far before the final whistle marked the end of the match. The final score was KE 0 – TH 4.
With that, the KE female soccer team remained fifth on the overall standing. Kudos to the team for putting in their best and fighting hard with the KE spirit! Above all, the girls would surely agree with their captain, Eliza, that “SOCCER IS FUN!!!”.