Barbars lift the Iron Curtain and find their first three points of the season
BEIJING, China - A morale-lifting 4-2 victory over Russia on another cold winter's day was exactly what was needed.
The game started tentatively, both teams probing and prodding but not carving out any clean chances. The Ruskis had the better of the refereeing on the day, starting early on with several questionable decisions that went against the Barbars and started to fray some tempers. A dodgy free kick awarded to Russia on the edge of the Barbars' box was curled in on goal but comfortably tipped away. At the other end, Alex (belatedly) managed to beat the offside trap to break through clean on goal, leaving the defence for dust but narrowly shooting wide. Bugger!
The key moment in the first half though came when Dary lost his man on the left wing and was closing in on goal when he was crudely, clinically, and cynically rugby-tackled to the ground. Yellow card. Yellow card?!?! No goal on the ensuing free kick, however, and at halftime the score was still 0-0.
Things got more lively in the second half, as Barbars shuffled their deck and brought on some fresh legs. The game remained open, but the Barbars could sniff their goal coming and continued to push. When it came, it came in brilliant fashion, as Davey -- with the ball at his feet there are few better -- found a little space just inside the Ruski half and made his move, skipping, prancing, bashing, and smashing his way through the curtain and around the keeper to slot the ball home. 1-0 Barbarians! And how!
The Barbs seemed to ease off a little now, perhaps due to being in such an unfamiliar position. One goal to the good, what do we do now?Russia took advantage and scored a goal in the blink of an eye -- made the keeper look a right tit and should never have happened. 1-1, Enough said.
Barbars were sore now, unjustly level in a game they had been dominating despite the officials being firmly in the Russian corner (bung). Their reaction was superb, as this time it was Dary, who stepped to the plate and carved up the Russian defence. Making it look much easier then it was, the American weaved through their back line and once again around the hapless Ruski keeper to slot the ball home. 2-1 and two of the best individual goals you are likely to see. Class!
The lead didn't last long again though, as uncontrollable events and the referee conspired to peg back the Barbars. A cross from the left winger was deflected over the keeper and onto Tim's head. Tim's clearance was clearly controlled with the use of an arm by the beefcake Ruski winger. A handball that on the obvious scale sits right alongside Thierry Daniel Henry and Diego Armando Maradona Franco! After this flagrant shoulda-been penalty, a scrap ensued in the box, several Barbars fighting hard to clear the ball before the Ruski beefcake poked it home. 2-2. The 12th man!
This decision clearly agitated several of the Barbars, and words were spoken in the direction of certain members of the non-playing staff on or around the pitch. Many of these expressions are not repeatable on a wholesome, family-friendly website such as this one, but needless to say they were well warranted, even after the Gaffer's Zen-like speech at halftime about "bottling it up, swallowing it down, and using it to fuel the fire". Certain fires erupted at that point and a volcano of verbal lava spewed forth! Yellow card for the Gaffer, few complaints there.
True to his word though, the Gaffer was fueling his own personal fire. Having played sterling at the back all game, he also was a threat going forward for set pieces. This threat was realized soon after the Russian equalizer, when Samu chipped in a perfectly weighted corner to the near post and the Gaffer attacked with drive and determination. No chance he would miss this one; a thumping header in the net and the Barbars held their third lead of the day, 3-2.
The timing and ferocity of Keith's goal was enough to make the Empire crumble. Another vicious foul on Dary, almost identical to the one he suffered in the first half (and, not surprisingly, dealt by the same technically insufficient oaf as before) resulted in a second yellow and sending off for the Russian. Farewell, Comrade! And a salute to Dary, who has learnt from his past rashness to keep his cool despite the thuggish treatment he receives on a weekly basis.
Barbars could smell blood now and were looking to go in for the kill. It was once again Dary who broke through the Russian defence after a great through ball by some valiant (but heretofore unidentified) Barbar. With only the goalie to beat, Dary unselfishly sucked the keeper in to square to Big Kev, who comfortably inflicted the fatal blow. No need to mention the almost identical chance missed earlier in the game after this display of teamwork. 4-2. Have it!
The Russians then imploded once again with one of the most petulant and borderline-retarded acts ever seen in the IFFC. Incredulous that the goal was given, a nameless Ruski approached the sideline ref assistant, who had been nothing but fair to Russia all game -- and by "fair" here we mean "favouring". Hurling insults and towering menacingly over the limp-wristed flag waver, the Ruski then saw fit to snatch the assistant's flag and threaten to hit him with it. Now, we have all felt anger at officials, but it would be an understatement to point such behavior crosses a line; how he escaped with only a yellow is beyond our limited Barbarian comprehension. Even so, it was his second yellow and thus the second Red Russian sendoff of the match. The final harmless minutes were played, and the Barbars secured the 4-2 victory.
This was a massive result for the team; a big congratulations, well played, and f**k yeah! goes out to the whole team. Everyone played their part and it was a true team victory.
For the first time in the Beijing Barbarians' history, both Man of the Match and Buggery F**ker of the Match were taken home by the same player. Keith the Gaffer won the former for a smashing display at the back capped with a superb goal, then took home the latter for one of the most consistent and continually coarse rants ever directed at an official.
The Italians are next week. The Barbars need to come out switched on and ready play with the same passion and fight that got them the points this week. Anything less is unacceptable!
--Match report by Swanny Motson