And the time had arrived. With some minor surprises, everything went as planned and here we are, playing our third consecutive ACAMIS Finals, all of them against BISS Pudong.We lost one, won the other. It’s time for the tie-breaker. Everybody was anxious about it, including myself. We still have some problems for finals; Marta and Franziska were still not in their best physical condition and Greta was in pain due to shin splints. On top of that, we had to play extra time in the semifinals and in the past I had a feeling we lost our two SISAC finals because we were tired. The starting team was Bella, Kyra back as defender (it was her first position in the team), Inês and Katy, all defending, and Suh-Young, Louise and Hailey in the midfield. We played again the Hamburger formation and I had faith that since we practice it exactly against BISS Pudong in the previous morning, we would play it better.
Seems that I was right. With 1 minute, right after a corner kick, Suh-Young headed very close towards their goal. Still, both teams were not daring too much pushing forward and the game was slow. Slow but not boring. One minute later, we were again at their box, with another corner from Louise that crossed the whole box. For three minutes Pudong did not crossed the half line. Then they finally got close to our goal with their most lethal weapon; a side throw from their #7. She can throw this ball incredible distances! They had two throws but Kyra, Katy and Inês were rock solid defending. The problem was that BISS started “enjoying” the game and pushed forward and they had a good chance at the 6th minute where their #7 was in front of Bella but she shot out of bounds.
With 8 minutes it was time to change our formation from Hamburger to Frikadeller so our MartaMessi and German Panzer went to the field and drove BISS defensive players insane. And that’s what they did. Marta with her dribbles an holding the ball in the attack area while Franziska fighting for the ball on the right side of the field. Now we had the upper-hand in the game. For a while the fight was concentrated in the midfield but then Louise had a beautiful pass to Marta, who assisted Franziska that was alone facing the goal but unfortunately the ball was bouncing and the shot went off target.
No one had a clear chance after that but by the end of the first half BISS started putting some pressure on us but then the first half was over. In our talk in the halftime we were very focused. We are the current champions and they are respecting us so it’s time now to keep our game and push forward so either Marta or Franziska can score. Until the magic moment came: Side-throw from Inês to Marta who was pressured by a defender. Even though Marta could not sprint, she outran the defender, waited the goalie to come out of the goal and with a skill that we only see with the best players of this game, she gently pushed the ball through the right side of the goalie. 1 x 0 SCIS.
It was natural that BISS would push forward. After all, losing by 1 or losing by 10, makes no difference. Still, we were rock solid defending. We still were pushing forward but most of the team were defending and since Marta could not sprint, was very hard to have a counter attack. Our goal was to keep the ball on their defensive side, with us if not shooting, at least holding the ball there. Marta still had a great chance around the 11th minute when she sprinted dribbling two of BISS players but the ball ran away from her and another chance when a ball was deflected in front of her with 5 minutes to end the match. At that moment in the match, we were actually putting pressure on them. For three minutes were us only attacking them.
On the other hand, last minute was the opposite. They were all in our defensive field, pressuring us non-stop but our system was flawless! They did not had any clear chance of goal and we were just waiting the match to be over. It was kind of ironic that this was the only match that the referee gave extra time so the match ended with extra 2 minutes. Still, this time we showed an amazing level of stamina. We were running if not more, at least the same that BISS was running. The inevitable final whistle came and there you go! Two consecutive ACAMIS championships. We may not be queens of the world, but for sure at least from Shanghai, for a year, we are. I am happy to say that I have a very small part in the goal. After all, I gave the ball to Inês before the side-throw so I kind of “assisted” her.
It’s hard to pick an MVP for this match because the team was brilliant! No mistakes. Yes, Marta scored the goal but the rest of the team was rock solid. So like last year, the MVP is the team in this case. The Triple Crown belongs to all of us.
MVP of the match: The twice-ACAMIS Champion Team