Match Report, vol. 1 (2019)

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A semi-anonymous report of last night’s match has reached the misters’ mailboxes, which we would like to share with you. Enjoy!

“On Monday night, 7 October, the 2019-20 edition of La Squadra Fantastica made its debut. Five car-loads of intrepid footballers eventually found a large, lumpy pitch at Rignano sull’Arno, there to reacquaint with their old foes Vigor Rignano. After a focused and fragrant team meeting in the changing room, the match was on!

Led to the pitch by Captain “Big Daddy” Gazza, and featuring the debut performances as misters of Pietro and Sergi and Il Presidente Tim, with mister Lucas-called-Lucas coaching from the side, the first eleven struck quickly. A minute or two in, a perfectly timed ball was played down the middle, which soon emerged from the barrel of a cannon – or possibly the right foot of Lucas-called-Riva, who was definitely not at all offside (or was he?!) – and past a terrified goalie. Donations are being accepted to repair the smoking hole in the back of the net.

The forces of evil fought back and began to turn the tide. The match settled into a clash of contrasting styles, the Squadra’s meticulous passing and teamwork against their foes’ combination of longballs, surprisingly well-targeted headers, and shrieking falls worthy of Puccini. Captain Daddy coordinated dangerous attacks of speed from Diego and Diarra on the left and precision from fearless Fred and mister Pietro on the right, aided by Mitch’s hard charges from the back. The centre defence of Il Presi and Squadra debutante Alessandro bent under heavy pressure, but held firm, supported by Cosimo’s precisely positioned saves and thumping counter-kicks. But disaster struck as our heroes momentarily deafened by one particularly shrill wail as an opposing striker collapsed in front of the goal, a loose ball ping-ponged off the post and dribbled in. 1:1 at the half.

Reassured by the calm analysis of the misters, and reinvigorated by the changing room fumes, the Squadra rejoined the battle, with strong reinforcements. The combined skills and sheer size of Andres and Pierluigi gave the opposition much to regret, while Johannes shored up the defences, Moussa sparked new attacks from the left-wing, and then mister Lucas himself entered the fray at right-back. Although the enemy retained the advantage, our side rallied again and again, and Cosimo made clear to all concerned that questa porta e assolutamente chiuda.

With time running short, the Squadra finally regained the initiative. The new defensive line made quick work of two free-kicks generously awarded to their foes. Precision transition work by Sergi and his fellow misters set up Mitch, Andres and Moussa for successive lightning attacks. But it was not to be. Just as the opposing goalie and coach were preparing their surrender flags, time ran out on a 1:1 draw. Our heroes deserved the victory, but succeeded nonetheless, bringing home a precious point from their first contest together as a team, on a distant, difficult and hostile pitch. As our leaders said both before and after, all this Squadra needs to do is keep developing its technique and its team-first style. Opponents beware!”

To be continued…

Forza IUE