Barbars' Italian job a four-star success
On another blustery winter day, the Barbars strolled to a comfortable 4-0 win over the Italians. We were missing one or two regular starters, but other valiant Barbars filled in admirably. In control from start to finish, the Barbars easily brushed aside the minor challenge Azzuri had laid down. And speaking of "Azzurri", the word means "blue" or "The Blues", so it was curious to see the Italians show up in a black kit. As a result, they shall be referred to as "the Italians", as Azzuri is misleading.
The first chance of the game came from Davy, who slalomed his way through the Italian defence in typical fashion and lashed a fierce drive towards goal, only to be denied by the combination of post and crossbar. Unlucky. The first goal came not long afterward, though; a corner kick to the near post was weakly headed clear, with the crumbs dropping to Carlos, who gobbled them up, connecting as sweet as you like on the half-volley to send the ball home off the underside of the bar. 1-0 Barbarians! Postage stamp!
The Barbars were in total ascendency now, carving open the Italian defence like day-old lasagne (not actually sure if that's easy or not, but still) for Davy to find the back of the net with a clinically struck drive that deflected off the keeper and found a home safely in the back of the net. 2-0 Barbarians! Get in!
The Barbars relaxed a little now and lost some of the rhythm that had got them the first two goals. That said, the only real danger the Italians were posing was from soft free kicks, which were generally given after minimal contact, a swan dive, several rolls, a scream for good measure and a 9.5 from the Swedish judge! Not that any less is expected from an Italian team.
Some threat on the counterattack was also expected from the Italians, it being the national style of play and all. This threat never eventuated, though, for one of several possible reasons: lack of skill, lack of pace, lack of creativity, lack of organization, the immense presence of Carlos in midfield, or too many Paninis for several key Italian players. Most likely it was a combination of factors. Nevertheless, the Italians weren't posing any threat to the Barbars' goal in the first half.
Unfortunately the same can't be said for the shins, groins, and knees of the Barbar players. Late tackles, off-the-ball scuffles and blatant kicking out were becoming common. The officials' complete lack of testicular fortitude was shown late in the first half when Dary was BLATANTLY, OBVIOUSLY and VICOUSLY kicked from behind by a podgy, antipasto-eating tub of olive oil pretending to be an Italian striker. This resulted in...a yellow card! Disgraceful that kicking a player off the ball has suddenly become a mere yellow card offence. Dary did well to manage his temper at this point, and soon after we went into halftime with a 2-0 lead.
The second half followed the same sort of pattern: Barbars dominating possession, Carlos breaking up Italian attacks, and several players carving out good chances but not being able to convert. Mo perhaps had the best one when he found himself in the right position but just unable to guide the ball past the keeper. Chin up, Captain! The results are there and the goals will follow.
The Barbars were making hard work of the second half, gifting possession in key areas and allowing one or two half chances to drop to the Italians. Fortunately the opponent appeared too preoccupied with the post-match lunch menu at La Pizza to take full advantage.
The Italians got a taste of their own foul medicine midway through the second half when Isaac "accidentally" collided with an Italian w(h)inger and sent him flying into the Si De Park fence. Squeals a pig in a slaughterhouse would have been embarrassed by the sound that came out the player's lungs. The most predictable moment of the day came just afterward, when the Italian player made a remarkable recovery and was suddenly back at 100%. Thank goodness for that!
The third goal finally dropped when Dary broke forward down the right wing from his centre back position (lucky Jochanan wasn't there!) to play Davy in. Alone, in front of goal, with an open net and the ball bouncing at his feet, Davy took longer than most shite French art films to finally tuck the ball away, but tuck it away he did. Barbarians 3-0! That's a spicy meatball!
The fourth came quickly after this, some great work from Billy (and a welcome back) chesting the ball off the line (to a chorus of "Hand-a Ball-a!" and a verse of "F**k off!"). Billy then broke down the right wing, taking on several Italian defenders, playing a neat one-two, and finally putting in an inch-perfect cross to the far post for Dary (now playing defensive mid...tut tut, too far forward!) to head home. 4-0! Shaddap You Face!
Man of the Match was split this week between Carlos, for his battling, tackling and passing in defensive midfield, not to mention giving out a little dose of "Italian football" whenever the opportunity presented itself and Dary, for scoring, assisting, and generally dominating the opposition. Immense at the back, breaking forward to great effect and then getting a brief cameo in midfield before being taken off due to constant targeting and goading by the Italian midfield, proof that he had won his personal battles for the day. Well done to those two.
Buggery F**ker of the Match went to Isaac this week,for a series of offences including but not limited to:
- Odd socks
- A shite corner (hit the side netting)
- Putting an Italian into the fence
- Losing his pants
...and several more, so a big well done to Isaac too.
Although the Barbars cruised to victory this week, they know they will have to lift again next week if they hope to make it three on the spin against the mighty Vikings. Very doable but we'll need focus and determination again next week. Come on lads!