Cobra Kai Upsets Barons
The Barons were coming off a record-setting regular season and were heavy favourites to win the league championship. Cobra Kai had a good season but finished in last place and they knew they were up against it in the quarter-finals.
The entire game was played at a fast pace and neither time had any time to rest. In the first half it was Cobra Kai who took the initiative and pressed the Barons. They were rewarded for their pressing when Metin struck a powerful shot that got past the Barons keeper. Cobra Kai continued to press forward looking for a second and came close on a number of occasions. The front line of the Barons did some of their own pressing and had a few narrow misses.
In the second half it was the Barons who took the game by the throat. They moved more numbers forward and put the Cobra Kai defense under pressure. The midfield was pegged back but helped the defense immensely. Victor Cristiano made a run, thought he had a clear shot on goal until Ivan stretched his leg out, made it 15 feet long and hit the ball out for a Barons corner. With about 15 minutes left, Cobra Kai struck again to take a 2 goal lead. After that it was all out attack by Barons which saw some good chances fall to the feet of Seamus, John and Mohit. It was John Di Re who struck to make it 2-1 with 5 minutes left. The Barons poured it on but it wasn’t to be as Cobra Kai advance to the semi-finals.
Congratulations to the Barons on a great season. Although they won’t finish as champions, they are likely the best team the TCL has ever seen, in the eyes of this writer.
Clubber Lang Makes Heroic Comeback
The second quarter-final was between D-Mentors and Clubber Lang. On paper it didn’t really sound all that interesting. Season’s worst offense (D-mentors) on season’s worst defense (Clubber Lang), not a lot of excitement was expected. On the pitch, however, was a different story. The game started at a slow pace as both teams did not want to make mistakes that would give the other team the advantage. Midway point of the first half, D-mentors was able to break the deadlock via John Burinski with a perfectly executed header. This was a goal which would’ve made any top teams in the world proud as it lobbed both the defender, and the oncoming keeper. Down 1-0, Clubber pushed for an equalizer, chances were created, but D-mentor’s defense stood strong. Half time 1-0.
Second half started at an even slower pace as D-mentors were getting into their rhythm of defend and counter attack. Clubber Lang was caught again on the counter and was down 2-0 within minutes of the restart by an accurate shot by Christy Gnanapragasam from outside the area. However, Clubber Lang pushed hard and were rewarded when Dan Newman’s shot from the left sneaked past D-Mentors’ keeper at his near post. At 2-1, the game became increasingly interesting as Clubber Lang believed they could take the game to penalties. Their persistence was rewarded as in the dying minutes of the game, Dan Newman again was able to find the net via a deflection off D-Mentors’ keeper at the near post. Full Time: 2 -2. To penalties we go.
Clubber captain Alex won the coin toss and chose to shoot second in penalties, therefore, D-Mentors were up first. The pressure of the quarter finals must’ve gotten to D-Mentors as they missed their first two penalties, allowing Clubber Lang to snatch the win via an epic comeback.
Spartans nip Renegades
The Spartans came into the quarter-finals with nearly a full squad while Renegades had to borrow John Di Re just to get them to 6 players. The outlook was bleak and some were expecting a rout. As the first half progressed, the rout never happened. In fact, Renegades more than held their own. They had some chances to go ahead and played disciplined defense. It was JJ who broke the deadlock when he made a jumping header that got past the Renegades defense. His celebration was muted because he scores goals as easily as the rest of breathe air.
The second half was similar to the first but it generated a few more scoring chances. The best came when Arsalan took a pass in the penalty area and rifled a shot off the post. It was so close to being 2-0. Not to be outdone, the Renegades hit a fast break when Fernando blasted a shot that just missed the top corner of Murat’s net. It wasn’t to be for the Renegades and the game finished 1-0.
D-Mentors Win the Wildcard Spot
The D-Mentors suffered pain and then joy. They gave away a 2-0 goal lead with 5 minutes remaining in then they lost in penalties to Clubber Lang. However, the joy came when both Barons and Renegades lost in regular time which meant that D-Mentors won the wild card spot.