Steady progress as the Squadra Fantastica avoids a beating (in more ways than one)

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Sieci 0 – 0 IUE Calcio – 19 October 2016

The AICS Bolletino suggested an intimidating task for IUE Calcio in our first away match of the season. Three red cards for Sieci in their first match of the season had led to fears that we would be facing a team of psychopaths managed by the Tuscan equivalent of John Sitton. (Indeed, many hungry members of the Squadra would have liked to have followed Sitton’s eloquent suggestions to bring their dinner to the game…). Matters were compounded by a temperamental referee who not only insisted on every administrative regolazione being enforced (possibly because of the Misters forgetting to follow said rules, but I cannot comment on such matters), but also did so in an impenetrable Tuscan dialect. It seemed that IUE Calcio were in for a difficult evening.

However, after an unsteady 10 minutes as a first XI with multiple debutantes grew to know each other, IUE Calcio started to dominate the midfield in the first half. Every member of the team showed great comfort in receiving the ball, playing it quickly to a teammate, and moving into space dangerously as the Squadra Fantastica passing carousel wore down Sieci. The tens of tifosi in the crowd weren’t sure if they were watching AICS Serie B1, or Barcelona’s simultaneous (and so beautiful) 4-0 destruction of Man City. Except for Reto being hacked exactly where an ugly foul had left stud-marks on his calf last week (Serie B1 defenders show infinitely more precision in hitting the target of their opponent’s legs than hitting the target of the goal with their wild free-kicks), fortunately Sieci did not prove to be the ‘Crazy Gang’ that we had feared. Perhaps it was the imposing presence of Signore Carcaiso in the stands that maintained the peace…

The attacking pressure led to Ozgur testing the goalkeeper with a powerful shot from an acute angle, Aliou hitting the post after a deflected 30 metre effort, and Simon going close with a difficult to control left-footed half volley. Indeed, if the arbitro had shown as much diligence in enforcing the offside rule correctly as he did to enforcing the regulations, then IUE Calcio would surely have scored after Fred and Ozgur had both gone one-on-one with the goalkeeper after perfectly timed runs, and in the second-half Gabriele found the net after a similar burst from midfield only to be denied. Unfortunately, it seems the referee was even more visually impaired than David, who was forced to sacrifice his glasses on the altar of the referee’s officiousness before the match.

The second-half brought multiple substitutions and more debutantes. Despite this, IUE Calcio weathered the storm, with Sieci being limited to only one clear-cut chance in the whole match when their striker hit the bar. The energy provided by our substitutions meant that we always looked dangerous when attacking, but the control that we exerted in the first half was missing as Sieci’s tactics degenerated into a form of ‘kick and rush’ that the aforementioned Mister Sitton would have been proud of. After the match, the Misters were made aware that by the end there were 9 players on the pitch who have only joined the Squadra this season. The fact that so many new players could comfortably maintain a clean sheet against a very tactically organised and well-drilled team is testament to how quickly we are gelling. Although in the end only 1 point may feel frustrating, the flashes of brilliance on the pitch show that IUE Calcio is building momentum towards something very special in the coming months of the season.


-10’ – The arbitro threatens to fine the Misters for being two minutes late in bringing him the list
-5’ – The arbitro discovers the new regolazione that there should be 3 copies of the list rather than 2
– 5’ – The arbitro bans David’s glasses
20’ – Ozgur tests the goalkeeper with a shot from a tight angle
30’ – Aliou hits the post from 30m
35’ – Simon goes close with a half-volley
Half-time – The arbitro consults the lists of regulations of AICS to see if there are any more rules that he can enforce. He misses the offside rule in this consultation.

45’ – Gabriele has a goal ruled out for offside
50’ – The arbitro discovers the rule that if you have changed clothes you are not allowed back onto the pitch
60’ – Aleks hits the target with a difficult header

250’ – Olli struggles with his stomach after being provided with a kebab by Aleks that is far inferior to the buonissime pizze in L’Antica Badia
500’ – Byku wakes up to go to work (Che protaganista)

Forza L’Antica Badia, Forza Finnegan, and Forza IUE!!!