BFC Union had their next double-header in the Russian Youth League on Saturday 15th October. The squad was stretched with several absentees meaning Union had to play back-to-back matches with only bare 5 players! Fortunately, debutants Loktyukhov and Vinet had joined the team, and were keen to impress. Union came out of the blocks quickly against old foes DFK Impulse and took an early lead thanks to some opportunistic attacking from Grachev. Impulse replied in a swift manner to make it 1-1, before a second Grachev goal and a Dlamini wonder strike gave Union a 3-1 lead going into half-time. In the second half an experienced and re-energised Impulse team piled on the pressure, and levelled the match at 3-3. Union defensive stalwart Daniil Metelskiy dug in deep, as Union saw out some hairy last moments to come away with a well-earned 3-3 draw. 5 minutes’ rest, and Union were back on the pitch for match 2 against Chaika. Union had their work cut out against a large and strong opponent, and the effort exerted by the boys in the first match had clearly taken its toll. Some errors in concentration gave Chaika two easy goals, and Union could not find their rhythm in a poor first half display. In the second half, a shuffle in positions and a motivational speech from Coach Martin did the trick, and Union went searching for a way back into the game. Loktyukhov and Grachev both came close, before Dlamini poked the ball home to reduce the deficit to 2-1. In the Union goal, Vinet made save after save as Union were caught short at the back as they pushed forward for their equalizing goal. Unfortunately, the goal was not to come, and Chaika extended their lead to 3-1 in the closing minutes. The final whistle went and a cold, wet and exhausted Union team should be proud of their efforts, and attaining their first point (hopefully of many) in the league.
In a different location and a speedy taxi journey back to the International School of Moscow a combination team of BFC Rangers and BFC Rovers players took on ‘New League 2007/8. A very evenly contested match saw Eddie Sutton impress on his debut for BFC, whilst the home side also welcomed the likes of Eddie Giles and Phillip van der Meulen back into the squad for their first game of the season. BFC passed the ball well and controlled the game, with stalwarts Smyslov and Moskaluk putting in strong performances in the centre of the pitch. The goals came thick and fast for both sides, and they were shared around the team with Giles, Smyslov, Moskaluk and Van der Meulen all getting on the scoresheet. Van der Meulen put in a superb goalkeeping performance to keep the opposition out on numerous occasions, whilst Makar Maslow showed impressive composure and reading of the game. With the score tied at 7-7 heading into the final seconds, BFC committed a heartbreaking last-gasp defensive error that gifted the winning goal to their opponents, 7-8 loss. So, the team left the pitch disappointed, but can be happy with their overall performance and will have plenty of positives to take into their next matches.
On Sunday 16th October two teams managed by British Football School coaches took part in an exciting day of childrens football – the finals of the Moscow Youth Soccer League!
First up was team Magic Castle, who were led by Coach Richard and competing in the 6-7 agegroup. The team had not lost any of their matches during the short season so were well prepared going into the finals. Led by the solid Captain Kashirin in defence, Magic took an early lead in the semi-finals with a goal from Suzuki. Suntay in net performed heroics to keep the score to 1-0. Bonneville and Sobel formed a pivitol attacking partnership and created space for Vivani to bound forward and convincingly get a brace. In the final minutes Viviani interchanged well with Bonneville and won a free kick, only to calmly slot the ball in the top corner for a great goal and his hatrick. And with the closing seconds Bonneville poked in a fifth. In their second match Suzuki worked well on the wing to dribble past the opponents and bury the ball into the opponents on two occasions. But a tired Magic team let the lead go and were soon two goals down – for the first time they were facing a potential draw and losing the championship as they were tied on points! Kashirin pulled up his socks and provided some excellent cross field pass and several surging runs to set up Vivani to score two quick goals. 3-2 was the final score and MAGIC CASTLE WON THE CUP. Coach Richard was delighted with the performance of all the team, who fought in every game for each other and fully deserved to win the League title!
British Football School FC were a team led by Coach Dean and Richard, made up of children aged 8-9 years. Again the team had been dominant throughout their mini-season, only dropping points by drawing two matches and winning six. However, the competition changed to a play-off and BFS FC played Degoyer FC. Tyagi did great by leading the attack and aiming for his 21st goals. Boom – after three minutes the first wizzed in! Tyagi was on fire and another soon followed. Kashirin had been promoted to the team and worked with Kolodziejska to shine in defence for yet another game, but despite their efforts conceded two late goals so the match had to go to penalties! Fedorishin had been outstanding all tournament so Coach Richard recalled his memories of Istanbul and Jezy Dudek (“WHO” the team all replied and we all felt a year older)! But Richard urged Fedorishin to be confident and fill the net. Against three penalties, one saved and BFS FC won 3-2 to make the finals!
Like team Magic Castle FC, BFS FC had not lost a match but Murphy’s law struck at the worst time and two deflected clearances went into the BFS nets. With the second match played in two hours all the team were tired and facing an uphill battle! Tyagi again led the line but his pace had gone, so Kolodziejska played up front. After a period of good possession, out of no-where she took on four opponents and dribbled around the keeper to pull the match back to 1-2, the small crowd cheered with delight! With Tyagi in a free-midfield role, his surging runs allowed from Shinohara and Jacek-Donis to test the opponents. With minutes remaining, Jacek-Donis pulled up his socks and took on two players to shoot and find the opponents’ net – 2-2 and penalties again!
BFS came up against Suntay’s older brother Alexis in goals, who has attended our trainings at Luzhniki and also this summer at Manchester City, and after a fine display in the opponents’ net made the winning save from Kashirin. 2-3 to the opponents in a very tense shootout. BFS FC did great to make it this far but sadly went home without the trophy!