First Game and first Victory on Natural Grass
October 20th, Rancho Viejo
A new experience for Team International’s Mannichester FC. The team played for the first time on an 11-a-side natural grass pitch. Several people did not have the right cleats for such a rare but fantastic soccer pitch. But the team consisting of players from Venezuela, Germany, India, United States, El Salvador and Mexico did a great job on their first competitive game on natural grass.
After a quick team discussion right before the game, the following line-up was decided on with a 4-4-1-1 formation:
Portero: Edson (MX)
Manni (IN) – Hector (SV) – Kim (GER) – Peter (MX)
Jesus (MX) – Hazael (MX) – Deyban (VEN) – Danny (US)
Mannichester with goal keeper against Fútbol Unión
The new signing Edson from Mexico was an important move. The new goal keeper helped having a strong defense. The shots that came into his direction where usually saved without any problem, usually…
Mannichester got into the game quite well. While the first minutes belonged to the home team “Fútbol Unión”, the international team Mannichester was the first one to score. Axel sent striker Selim Benzema on the run with a fine looping pass. The Tunisian striker ran towards the goal keeper and finished with a strong shot into the net, 1:0!
Fútbol Unión control the Game
The 1:0 was an important goal for Mannichester but it woke up the entire team of Fútbol Unión. From then on the home team started to dominate the team creating promising chances here and there. Mannichester had some problems organizing themselves in the midfield. Axel and newcomer Deyban started off at the central midfielder position, but due to the opponents pressure Hazael also came back into the central midfielder position to stabilize it.
Despite the restructuring in the midfield the pressure of Fútbol Unión got too high. Several times they managed to break through their left wing from where they either provided the strikers with promising assists or dribbled into the center from where they took a shot. This way the home team that consisted also of several international players scored two goals. 10 minutes before the half time whistle Mannichester was 2:1 behind.
Big Boy Danny unstoppable!
No problem! Because on this day the international team counted on Danny-BigBoy-Mbappé. The US boy was always available on the left wing and ready for the run. The team did not make much use of it due to the tremendous pressure of the opponent.
One time Deyban did find a way to send BigBoy Danny on the run. He passed one player like a high speed train whose breaks doesn’t work and continued his 60 meter run towards the goal line. Right before the goal line he passed into the middle where striker Selim Benzema had no problem pushing the ball into the empty goal. A tremendous effort of Danny Mbappé.
The players had a lot to discuss during half time. Especially the problem of not being able to stop the opponents attacks in the midfield was the center of discussion. Deyban brought up a good point stressing that the team should not loose the ball too easily once they did conquer the ball, because reconquering it was the big problem.
Offensive playing Style of both Teams
This strategic move was tried to realize in the second half. Diego replaced Axel in the second half and tried to stay more defensive. A very interesting game developed with both teams trying to go for the goal instead of focusing on a stable defense. For a long time however the goals on both sides were kept save. The goal keepers always found the right answer to the attacks. Mannichester tried everything, but also the shots from distance did not find the goal. Venezuelan ex-semi-professional midfielder even went for a bicycle kick (see video).
At the end, it was once again BigBoy Danny Mbappé who managed to create huge wholes in the oppenents defense. When he was sent on a run towards the end of the game he this time ran straight towards the goal. After overrunning several players he quickly found himself in front of the goal. Just like Mbappé would do, he finished with his weaker left food into the far right corner.
MVP goes to Venezuela
With this tremendous effort the US boy brought the victory to his international team on the first game on natural grass. The players were overwhelmingly happy after the game and stayed for some food and some drinks afterwards, enjoying the great forest landscape on almost 3000 meter altitude.
Venezuelan newcomer Deyban was awarded MVP of the game from the players after the game due to his intelligent and calm playing style in the midfield.
The next 11-a-side game in Rancho Viejo will take place in about 4 weeks!
* special thanks to photographer Fabi for the amazing illustrations before, during and after the game!