On the 16th of October the Beijing Barbarians B took on King World at Chaoyang Stadium for their third league game of the season. After easily disposing of the Dragons 5-1 in the previous game, confidence was high and the Barbarians were looking for another three points. Notably, this was to be Shuang Mu's last game for the Barbarians before moving back to his hometown.
The game started off with only 10 regular Barbarian players available -- traffic was particularly bad in Beijing this day, and several players didn't arrive until after kickoff. The Barbars saw Shaw Chen in goal, with Ryan Stockdale, Paul Ciempka, Greg Williams and Tomasz Zielinski in defence. The midfield consisted of Alex Woo, Henry Green, Marcio Delgado and Shuang Mu started the game, and Chris Sharpe and David Mejia started up front.
The game started off with King World playing the ball around in their defensive half, but after just five minutes a beautiful pinpoint thru-pass from Tomasz to Alex, who only had the goalkeeper to beat and calmly slotted it in for the 1-0 lead. Just ten minutes later Alex came down the left wing and struck a beautiful cross into the box. Chris brought the ball in perfectly, only to see his shot narrowly miss the goal.
The Barbarian pressure continued with Henry's free kick from outside the box just skimming over the bar. Not until the 20th minute did King World get a shot off; their free kick was harmless and went well wide of the goal. A few minutes the opponent got another free kick, this time blasting it straight into the well-placed wall of Barbarians.
In the 28th minute Henry made a beautiful run through the middle and an even better through pass to beat the offside trap; Alex brought it in and again put it past the onrushing goalkeeper. Barbarians up 2-0. In the 35th minute King World put a cross into the box where their striker controlled the ball at the far corner, but Alex was there to deflect. Although goalkeeper Shaw was in position and would have made the save, it was impressive to see Alex's effort on both ends of the pitch.
In the 36th minute the Barbarians made their first substitution, as Nathan Dilliway came on for Shuang. Nathan was one of the players who showed up late, but he wasted no time finding his way on the pitch by immediately hammering a free kick into the right corner of the goal, leaving the goalkeeper with no chance and putting the Barbarians up 3-0. This was the result at halftime.
The Barbarians started the second half with the same lineup that ended first half. Manager Paul had urged the Barbarians to pile on the pressure in the second half, and they did just that: For the first 10 minutes King World did not manage to get out of their own half. Chance after chance went begging, with David's shot being narrowly saved, Nathan just missing the goal from a corner kick, Henry coming close to putting one in as well, and Paul putting it just wide with a powerful shot. Everybody was having a go and it appeared King World had given up.
In the 55th minute Shuang came back on for Alex Woo and immediately afterwards the Barbars showed some beautiful combination football between David, George, and Chris, followed by crisp finish that put the Barbarians up 4-0.
Only a few minutes later there was some fancy Brazilian-style football from our Venezuelan striker, David who fooled everybody with a perfect back-heel to Chris, who slammed it into the back of the net, Barbarians 5-0. This was followed by another substitution, with Sebastian Barge coming on for Greg.
In the 67th minute Tomasz received a yellow card for chopping down a King World player. A good and required foul, as the attacker would have been clean through onto goal. This led to a sequence of fouls by the Barbarians -- David, Seb, Ryan, and Marcio got in on the action -- which slowed the game down and further frustrated the opposition. It was as if the Barbarians had grown tired of scoring and instead wanted to live up to their team name. Naturally, Nathan didn't want to be left out and quickly picked up his customary yellow card.
In the 79th minute the Barbars decided to stop fouling and start scoring again. This one was a beauty by Shuang --call it a going away present -- and it put the Barbarians up 6-0.
The 80th minute brought two more substitutions, with Alex back on for Chris (both of whom had two goals at this point!) and Greg coming on for David. These changes paid immediate dividends with Greg coming open for a shot that was narrowly saved by the keeper. After getting a taste of goal, Greg wasn't going to let off, and ultimately it was he who finished the scoring for the day (though he did mention he was going to get a "massage" later in the evening) with a powerful rocket into the back of the net. This time the keeper had no chance to make a play. Some beautiful build-up play by Nathan and Henry led up to the final goal, and Henry George picked up yet another assist with his beautiful through pass.
Sadly, this seemed to be too much humiliation for the King World players, who seemed to think that the Barbarians were offside on the final goal. They started harassing the linesman quite viciously, so much so that the referee ultimately had to abandon the game! As both teams walked off the pitch, a few players from King World went after the referees, insulting them verbally and threatening physical violence. One miscreant even picked up a chair from the sidelines and shook it threateningly.
Then these hooligans, surely out of frustration over their own incompetence at the game of football, began changing the object of their misplaced anger (which should have been directed toward their own performance) from the referee towards the opposition. Thankfully (for their own sake) they were held back by a few of their more sensible teammates and some courageous spectators.
It was a ridiculous way to finish the game and a shame the match could not be finished, as the way things were going surely Ryan, Tomasz, Marcio and even Shaw would have scored one each in the last five minutes.
Nonetheless, this deplorable behaviour could not detract from the magnificent performance the Beijing Barbarians B delivered. It seems almost unfair to pick out any individuals for particular praise for this game, but the Man Of the Match award went to Shuang for his excellent performance, a peach of a goal, and as a tip of the cap for his long and successful career with the Barbarians. We wish him all the best for the future.