The penultimate round of the Bunwer League Apertura saw FCB take on mid-table side Chiquifru knowing that a win would set up a championship decider for next week against leaders Union Seleccion. The excitement at the prospect setting up the game of their lives was palpable among the players in the changing room before kick-off and the message was clear: this was to be a dress rehearsal with defensive mistakes likely to be punished by the opposition much more severely and shooting off target met with even harsher opprobrium than normal by Rami next week!
The starting lineup was composed of Jorge, Harry, Omar, Rama and Ed at the back, Christoff, Fabian, Cian and Ped Curran in midfield with Sober Calum in support of Luigi up front. The first few minutes saw a somewhat nervy performance with wind and a bobbling ball affecting the fluency of the men in red. Nerves were settled after around fifteen minutes though as Calum’s run into the box was spotted by Ed and the Lancashire lad squared for Luigi to shoot through a mangrove of legs into the bottom corner. The first goal proved cathartic and the encouragement and pressing were ramped up to produce the second goal a few minutes later when PC7 was on hand to volley home from close range after Rama had squared the ball having ghosted to the back post from a freekick. Before halftime the score was increased still further to the advantage of the men in red as a ball over the top was squared by Calum into the path of Luigi and the Venezuelan made no mistake for 3-0. The last action of the half was to see a stunning save from perennially bored FCB stopper Jorge who reacted superbly to a close-range effort from the Fru frontman after a deflected corner and in doing so showed why his team remain on course for the league’s ‘Golden-Gloves Award’ for the stingiest defence. The lads went into halftime focused and pleased with a decent if slightly disjointed first-half display.
The second half saw an unchanged side take to the field, though this wasn’t to last for long as Ed felt the effects of clumsy tackle suffered in the first half and thought better of risking his fitness ahead of next week and was replaced by Mr Simmons fresh from his PE teacher duties. By now the opposition were starting to feel the effects of the relentless Brits’ pressing and were giving the ball away in dangerous positions after ill-advisedly playing too much football at the back. After trying to play one neat pass out of defence too many FCB robbed the Fru midfield and fed Fabian just inside the area and the Norwegian dynamo belied his FCB-goal-virgin tag to finish delightfully into the side of the net beyond a despairing goalkeeper flinging himself in vain full length to his left. After being buoyed by his first goal in FCB colours the young man from the north was pulling out nutmegs and double-drag moves all over the place and staking his claim for a starting place next week’s showpiece event.
The scoring was ended on around 80 minutes when Matt on for Cian set up Mr Simmons to finish neatly on his right foot from an angle. Adi was now on for Pete and Jose for Luigi (having done the 60-70 minutes Rami allows him) to see the game out. Despite the late precautionary removal of key defender Omar and ice-packs being applied to various parts of Ed, Pete and Luigi, Manager Majid can reflect on a job well done by his charges who go into next week’s decider with the confidence that their fitness, intensity and desire give them an excellent chance of making it two Apertura titles in 3 years.
Man of the match: Fabian Amdal Åsland
Goal of the match: Pete ‘Pedro’ Curran #PC7
Quote of the match: Probably Rami, who even remembers the things he says these days?