Pajax de Amsterdam (2) 2
Británicos (0) 1
@CMF Delicias 20:00 20/02/22
This was going to be a challenging proposition for the Brits. Amsterdam have established themselves as one of the most dangerous outfits in the league and flying high. A free scoring team with a miserly defence. Their solitary defeat at the hands of the league leaders.
The game started late in the evening, under the lights with a cagey series of probing from both teams. Shaw was once again deputising at the back for Rooney and once more demonstrated he was more than able to do so. The first chance fell to Amsterdam as an overhead kick almost caught Wells out, but he was able to prevent the goal. After early nerves the Brits actually started to dominate the match and dictate the pace. Ferns looking confident on the ball as they built from the back and Pernas in scintillating form, teased and punished the Amsterdam players with his fancy footwork.
The Brits consistently built moves with patience and clever movement forcing Amsterdam to defend deep. Their keeper was called upon when Pernas struck with venom and Lepore making a nuisance of himself almost forced a quite spectacular own goal. When the opposition did get a chance to break the Brits were well organised and looked comfortable. They even showed some variety in their approach with Pernas coming deep to launch a long ball to Lepore stretching the Amsterdam defensive line. It was about midway through the first half that Bates attempted to launch a ball into the centre and it was blocked. The ref adjudged it to have been blocked with a hand and he awarded a penalty. The impressive Pernas stepped up to take it and despite hitting it hard and close to the post it was at a comfortable height for the diving keeper who denied him the goal. The save got the small crowd motivated and the game changed gear.
Amsterdam started to see more of the ball but the Brits continued to press them heavily. An obscenely good tackle by Lepore in the centre opened up a real possibility but Lepore was forced wide without making a shot on goal. Pernas continued to look sublime in the centre and a clever interchange with Lepore opened up a chance for Bates who converted but it was correctly chalked off for offside. Amsterdam finally got in behind the defence but the shot was blocked by Wells but he was undone a short while later when a very well constructed move by Amsterdam finished with a spectacular header which eluded the keepers reach. It was undoubtedly against the run of play and the Brits continued to put pressure on the opposition. Gilman was unlucky not take a goal with a clever flicked header at the near post and a short time later Wells was on hand to come out and block a shot on the run. Amsterdam were finally starting to exert some more pressure and then extended their lead with a rapid counter attack. Blistering pace matched with a clever finish could have been a hammer blow, but the Exiles were surprisingly determined. It was with disbelief that they went in to the break without scoring. At the death of the half Lepore was played into a fabulous position by Gilman. Lepore danced past a defender but was denied by the keeper coming out rapidly to snuff out the threat.
The half time mood was buoyant and the Brits continued to press on the opposition. The best Amsterdam chance came from a dead ball set piece but the striker pushed the ball high. The Brit movement was mesmerising, With Pernas picking out Bates and Lepore finding space in behind but the final product was not forthcoming. It was Lepore who out the match back in the balance with a long range effort that the Keeper misjudged. It was a soft goal and the Brits did not really celebrate, focused on grabbing a second.
The Amsterdam back line started to get more nervous and on more than one occasion Lepore was brought down rather than be allowed to threaten a second goal.
Wells was able to pull off an unorthodox save in an increasingly rare foray for the opposition and the quick long ball in the aftermath nearly found Bates able to equalize. The minutes began to ebb away toward the conclusion and yet the Brits did not get desperate and continued to play a calm and organised game. Lepore almost equalized with a wondrous long distance strike low to the corner but the keeper was able to get a foot to block the effort. As the game became stretched Amsterdam finally managed to get more of the ball and more territory. They were unlucky not to hit a third when a long range strike came back out off the far post, much to the relief of an outstretched Wells. Bates got onto the rebound and charged up field but his strike went wide. A further long range strike for Amsterdam spun back off the turf awkwardly in front of Wells who could only push it away for a corner. Amsterdam seemed to be playing the clock down and Gilman managed to get the ball out to Bates who turned it into the centre for Lepore. He was fouled but the referee gave the advantage as the ball fell to Pernas. He ran past one and danced past another two to get in on goal, it looked set for a late glorious equalizer but as he shaped to pull the trigger the Amsterdam keeper was out to block the chance. Gilman could not make contact on the resulting throw in. Pernas and Lepore almost played around the defence with a great one two and now Amsterdam were trying every trick in the book to burn up the remaining seconds. Slow to collect the ball and then trying to hold up in the corner as they sought to protect the three points, which they did.
Unquestionably they knew they had been in a tough contest and greeted the final whistle with relief. The league table after the round of matches saw no changes in position for any team but the Brits felt they could have and probably should have taken this game. A solid performance from all concerned and the team could be proud of their shift. They did not look out of place on the field against one of the most impressive sides in the competition20th February .
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