Kozo Japan causes major meltdown in Barbarian defense as Japanese offense sweeps in to score two late goals for 3-3 end result.
On Saturday, May 28, 2011, at Si De Park Park the Beijing Barbarians faced Kozo Japan. This was an important match, as a victory for the Barbarians would push us one spot higher in the league table. Incidentally, this was also going to be star player Dary Stone's last game for the team, after a blistering season with fantastic performances throughout (10 goals in 13 games). This game also saw the return of Captain Mo and French Tim back in the lineup; both had been out due to injury.
The game started out well for the Barbars. Early on Henri finished off a quality move with a crisp shot past the keeper to put the team into the lead, 1-0. Henri struck again just a couple minutes later with a lethal shot into the back of the net to make it 2-0. Things calmed down a bit after that, and 2-0 was result going into halftime.
Even with the lead, Manager Keith Bradbury was less then satisfied, suggesting in an eloquent, explicit-laden rant the Barbars' performance was below par and needed to to improve in the second half in order to secure the 3 points. He saved his most scathing criticism for his defensive rock, Keith Bradbury, who he urged to stop abusing the referee.
The second half quickly showed how appropriate the Manager's analysis had been, as the Japanese managed to break through the Barbarians' defense. Somehow, after a scramble in the box, a Japanese player got a foot on the ball and squeezed it over the line to reduce the gap to 2-1. This turn of events woke up the Barbars, who almost immediately restored the two goal lead through another wonderful goal by Henri, who in this match proved himself as a valuable member of the squad (when well rested, on time, and actually at the pitch, that is).
Although Henri's efforts provided what should have been a comfortable margin of victory, the Barbarian defensive meltdown continued. In the dying moments of the game, the Barbs made two terrible plays in the goal mouth, leaving the goalkeeper exposed and without a chance. Goals on both. 3-3 was the result at the whistle, and the one point taken from the game felt more like another two points lost.
A special mention needs to go to Pepe, Bolivian Edu, and Ecuadorian David, who have brought grit, determination, and passion, blended with some much needed Latin flair to the team. Also a massive thanks to the WAGs (Miss Chairman, Miss Kevin, Miss Tim) who came out to support their hubbies. Cheers also to Chairman Kenny and KungFu Alex, who although unavailable to play supported the team from the sidelines. Finally, thank you to Tomasz, our polish defensive block who came straight from playing 90 minutes with the Barbarian B team to help out with the A squad. Perhaps the couple of beers in between matches did the trick.
The Beijing Barbarians will be playing their final game of the season next week against the "Blackshirts," Azzurri. Although Azzurri FC do wear black kits and are of Italian descent, they should not be confused with Mussolini's Fascist paramilitary groups, who used violence and intimidation to achieve their goals. Although none of the Azzurri FC players are probably, almost certainly, maybe, conceivably not Fascists, they will probably try to apply the same modus operandi of the Blackshirts on the pitch, mixed with some skillful Italian diving, whining and play acting.