It was a dark and windy night on the hollowed grounds of the local calcio field. Two gladiators were getting ready to go toe to toe one last time for all the glory in the company soccer tournament, the finals, finally. We took to the field and noticed one thing quickly, that the other team wasn’t there yet. It seems that they thought the game was 7:00 instead of 6:30. This of course means we started around 7:30 PM, a little “icing” the nerves of our team? When the game started it was slow as each team tried to feel out the other team. Now we had beaten this team twice in the regular season so you would think we would be a little more confident but the opposing team in the final wasn’t EXACTLY the same team we had already played twice. I had been warned about this so I wasn’t surprised to see the new players. Usually the other teams we played would have at least one player where we had the clear advantage. We don’t have the greatest players in the company but ALL our players are pretty good so there was no clear way to attack us. And if they commit too many on offense then our speed on the counterattack was deadly and that was how we won many games. We took special joy in catching the other team with too many forward. This adversary was too disciplined to let that happen.
Finally the other team got on the board first. The player they call simply “bomber” was left alone long enough for him to trap the ball, size up the shot, and easily put it past me (I’m the goalie if I haven’t mentioned this before). That’s all the bomber did all season. He doesn’t go far from the goal and just waits for the right pass and shoots (There’s no offsides in our calcetto, 6 vs 6). My team should know not to leave bomber alone like that! We struck back and tied it at 1-1 with some perfect passing when Davide entered the game for the first time. The enemies of all that is good then got another chance from close range to make in 2-1. Just before half we strike back to make it 2-2 with our counter attack. Finally we caught them forward and had space to pass and score.
At halftime I wasn’t too worried. Almost every game we would be close in the first half but we would wear the other team down and the second half would be the time we pull away. Also in the second half we would be shooting at the “good goal”. It’s hard to explain but the way the field is set up it’s much easier to shoot at one goal verses the other. So I thought things were still favoring us even though it was obvious the other team had picked up some good players.
The second half went on back and forth and it wasn’t until Piero fouled the other team in our box that the score changed. Then had a penalty kick that would be simple for the “bomber”. I didn’t have a chance unless I could some how get him to send it wide. To my surprise he let one of their new guys take this very important kick and he buried it in the upper right corner of the net. A very good shot for going into the “bad” goal. Now I was mad. How could we be behind at this point? Our team stepped up the pace and fired back, 3-3. Now I’m a little more comfortable but still we just weren’t getting good shots and this is usually our time of the game. Then I cleared out a cross with a punch of the ball that went high in the air and the same big guy that scored the penalty kick, kicked the crap out of it straight on the fly from long range and right into the same corner of the goal. We were down 4-3 with very little time left. They wouldn’t have another decent attack the rest of the game. They just hung back in defense managed to weather our storm. The whistle blew and it was still 4-3 for them. I can say that I was a very upset last night but it was a really good and evenly matched game, probably the lowest scoring game of the whole season and tournament. We had played so well all season only to come up a little short, but it was a really good game there’s always next season.