Tamás Cserép reports on the nail-bitingly close Football Varsity match.
Imperial Fields was buzzing and UCL fans were in full voice as their women’s team demolished Kings 14-0. The fans were now looking forward to what promised to be a highly competitive fixture in the men’s game
The game started off slowly with both sides trying to dominate the midfield. The Kings defence did not appear confident in the first 10 minutes and UCL tried to exploit this through Glatzel’s long balls and crosses into the box, with the hope of capitalising on any mistakes.
In the first 2 minutes the only chances created by Kings were through set pieces, which were unsuccessful thanks to captain Noah Reich’s highly organised defence. The most clear-cut chance from Kings came in the 26th minute when they rounded the keeper, but ultimately the ball was cleared by UCL’s defence. In the 40th minute the ball slipped through UCL goalkeeper Harvey’s hands, but he managed to recover it moments later.
The first half revealed that Kings are dangerous on the counter and UCL would have to look out for the speed of their strikers, especially Paoli, whose pace coupled with his dribbling ability had the potential to threaten Harvey’s goal.
The guys started the second half well with a freekick goal from Alex Kozak in the 47th minute (1-0).
They continued to dominate possession but they did not pose any significant threat in the 16-yard box. Once the ball was lost, UCL were unable to stop Kings’ counters, which allowed Paoli to slot a low shot home in the 55th minute of the game (1-1). UCL tried to respond quickly with a through ball to the substitute Barry, whose goal was disallowed due to an offside call. Moments later at the hour mark Kings’ May scored a free kick which trickled through the wall and past Harvey, handing a shock 2-1 lead to the lads from the Strand.
In pursuit of a goal, UCL threw everything at their opponent, forcing the Kings’ goalkeeper to make spectacular saves. In the 76th minute a series of blocks prevented both Kozak and Barry from scoring. UCL came close when in the last 10 minutes a shot slipped through the hands of May, but the ball was cleared off the line by spectacular defensive work. Their dominance eventually paid off as an outside-of-the-boot shot by winger Xavi slipped past Kings’ goalkeeper.
In the last few moments before the 90, UCL created numerous chances but were either off target or were cleared by the opposition. The game finished 2-2, which meant that penalties would be needed to decide the outcome of the game.
The penalty shootout ended 7-6 to Kings.
Throughout the game UCL showed more authority than their counterparts, but unfortunately they did not capitalise on the chances, which cost them the game.
Featured image credits: Raphaël Jucobin