Match report for Summer Palace vs King World played on Saturday 19th November, Chaoyang Stadium
It was a clear, blue Saturday morning but it was a freezing day as the blistering wind tore into into Chaoyang Sports Complex. Many Palace players were deceived by the blue skies as all came a little under-dressed (Felipe turning up only in the team kit + sandals/without socks) except for the evergreen Jim So, who remarked that it was nice and warm while basking in the morning sun. Things did not bode well as Palace suffered a huge setback even before the game started as our stand in goalie, Patrick, injured his winkie in the warm up and Pikey volunteered to be our stand-in’s stand in while our resident goalie Jason started on the bench.
Palace had a jittery start as they struggled to impose themselves in the first 10 minutes while King World managed to cause some panic in our defence in the early minutes as Peter slipped over the ball, but he recovered just in time to play the ball away. Just when doubts started to creep in and with Palace’s reknowned ability to choke against underdog opposition, Olly put some calm into the nerves by tucking away the first goal of the game. This was followed shortly by Lee Xiong’s brilliant volley, that looked like it was going through ‘bullet time’ as it floated in the air (like forever) and dropped just under the bar, leaving their keeper no chance. Plaudits to to Lee X though, as he chose to celebrate the goal ‘Adam Nowak’ style, jogging discreetly back to the centre-circle. As King World struggled to keep up with Palace’s quick movement, Jim So showed everyone how to do it with his ‘move’ of the day, making use of Lee R’s decoy overlapping run, and with a pull-back on the ball, he fooled 3 King World defenders before stroking the ball so gently and delicately, spinning and dipping it into the top corner, beyond the reach of the goalkeeper (it looked like art). Shortly after, Jim struck again from a cross by Basti, followed later by a goal from Olly, who couldn’t decide which foot should he used while the ball dropped from the heavens, he did score by smacking the ball in with his left foot though. King World did provide a threat and reason for Pikey to demonstrate is keeping prowess in the last minute of the half though, as their forward sprang through 1-1 while Pikey dived and saved at his feet, only for offside to be blown after all the action.
5-0 at HT
The manager ran through some changes for the second half as Palace look to seal the game off, introducing Gio back into the fold after a long injury layoff.
Shortly after the restart, Lee R, not one to miss out on all the action and always at the right place at the right time, scored from a goalmouth scramble and celebrated in style, with his trademark Jack in a Box jump-celebration. As everyone thought the goals would dry up, up stepped Jim So, who added three more goals, one with his left foot, spinning 2 defenders and tucking it into the bottom corner, another with his head off the post from another cross from Lee and finally the third with his right foot tucking the ball away from 5 yards out.In between, Olly sealed his hat trick, smashing the ball with aplomb after some neat interplay between Jim, Ben and himself. We still had time for a penalty though as the King World defender thought he was the goalkeeper when he punched the ball away from a corner. Arguments were abound between the Palace players on who should take the penalty while King World swapped their goalie. Amid the chaos, up stepped the legendary Edou who was looking to break his Palace duck. As the world watched and with bated breath during the run-up, Edou’s body-move and shimmied as he hit the ball. All were fooled except the goalkeeper, who guessed correctly and saved the penalty! (and Edou’s duck continues..) The game tapered off towards the end as the King World offside trap suddenly worked and Palace eased off, only to concede a last minute goal from a scamble, which proved to be the only blemish on a 10-1 scoreline.
The squad proceeded to Luga’s for post-match proceedings as Jim So took home MOTM by a mile, with his performance drawing comparisons to the mythical ‘Pippo” Inzaghi (Mythical only because not everyone knows Pippo!) and also giving the squad a footballing lesson: Prepare by dressing well, keeping warm and then scoring with every legal movable part of his body (left, right foot and head) which he mentioned that it also demonstrates that he is a ‘good lover’. Donkey was a closer affair though as there were many last minute inclusions, but Pikey emerged from the front-runners to take Donkey by a single vote for not ‘being involved enough’ in the game! He did promise that he will be more involved in the next game as we look to take on tougher opposition in the French while both winners downed their B-52s.