Luenthai Cup 2016 – Noblesse Knights Match Report

 

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On Saturday the 24th of September 2016, a squad of 20 students from Noblesse International School competed in the 2nd Annual Luenthai Cup at CDC Parade Ground in Clark. The tournament’s slogan was “Football for a Cause”, and 120 teams from all over the Philippines competed to raise money for various charities.

The team was coached by Mr. Ben Parsons, captained by Grade 12 student Jeffrey Lee, and included students from all over NIS, with even little Kristine Torres from Grade 4 bravely lacing on the boots, donning the school’s colours and competing against boys twice her size in the open boys competition!

After singing the national anthem, taking a team photo and warming up, it was time to play ball! Noblesse had a tough draw in a group with not only other schools such as Brightwoods and Tuloy sa Don Bosco, but seasoned football clubs like Hooligans FC, Soliman FC and Knights FC. Noblesse’s first game was against Soliman FC, and it was time to take the field. The whistle blew, and straight away the Noblesse students knew what they were up against, with Soliman playing a speedy, short passing game which we had trouble defending, and conceded an early goal. The boys managed to scramble and compete for the next few minutes, however Soliman was once again able to find an unmarked striker through a well aimed long pass, and he put the ball into the back of the net. From there, Noblesse found it hard to get back into the game, and after some questionable substitution decisions from coach Parsons, the score blew out to 4-0.

Next up, the team played another seasoned outfit, the Knights FC (no relation to NIS!). The ball was kicked off, and for the first 5 minutes, the match turned into something of an arm-wrestle, with both sides testing each other out through some skilled midfield play and short back-and-forth passing, hoping to isolate an unmarked striker. After several turnovers each way due to some great defence, the boys started to play more positively. Around the 6 or 7 minute mark, with the game firmly in the balance at 0-0, David from Grade 12 received a well placed long pass just over the halfway mark. Sensing that the defenders had dropped off expecting a pass, David dribbled the ball forward a few metres, and saw that the opposition Goalkeeper was out of position. David let fly with his big right boot, and sent a ‘Screw Shot’ hurtling through the air, curving to the left. The keeper, failing to detect the curve, was caught in no man’s land, and despite a desperate lunge, was unable to stop the ball slamming into the back of the net for Noblesse’s first goal of the day, making the score 1-0 in our favour. Great shot, David! For the remaining 7 minutes, the game resumed its tit-for tat arm-wrestle, when in the final minute, David received the ball in an almost identical position as before. The defenders scrambled, sensing that a goal was imminent, and rushed to tackle him. David, however, was cleverly able to push a sneaky pass to a now unmarked Jeff from Grade 12, who was able to dribble the ball a few metres outside the goal mouth, and put one past the keeper to wrap the game up at 2-0 for Noblesse and our first win of the tournament!

Next, Noblesse lined up against students from neighbouring school Brightwoods, who are well-renowned locally for the calibre of their soccer team. After a tense first few minutes of midfield passing and several shots on target, the fast game played by the smaller Brightwoods team took it’s toll on the bigger Noblesse side, and a shot from 3 metres out proved far too difficult to save. From there, the match got very interesting as Noblesse took it right up to Brightwoods, having at least 5 good shots on target stopped by some skillful reflexes of the opposition keeper. Unfortunately, a loose pass saw Brightwoods go up 2-0, however that lead was almost immediately shortened to 2-1 by a beautiful long-rage set shot, again from David. Noblesse played some of their best football this period, controlled the ball expertly, setting up multiple scoring opportunities which unfortunately could not be converted due to outstanding keeper work. Unfortunately, Brightwoods sealed the game up with a late goal, blowing out the score to 3-1. However, that score is not really a true reflection of the contest, and we all agree that was our best game despite the loss.

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After losing to Tuloy Sa Don Bosco, the team met Hooligan’s FC in their final group match. After trailing most of the game 1-0, Noblesse tied the game up 1-1 with a beautiful goal. From there, Noblesse dominated the game, and had a chance to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat in the final seconds with David receiving the ball a few metres out close to the siren. David put in a beautiful shot to the top-right corner of the goal, yet somehow the opposition goalkeeper’s reflexes saw him lunge with a hand outstretched, and tap the ball out of bounds, ending the game a 1 goal apiece. The Noblesse Knights finished the tournament with 3  brave losses, 1 big win, and a hard-fought draw, and unfortunately did not progress to the semi-finals. Better luck next time! We are planning to enter another tournament in October, so hopefully we will bring home some silverware then! Until next time, adios!

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