This week saw a first in the TISL as all 3 games ended in a draw. None of them were boring draws though, read below for details.
Lightning v Red Bulls
As one of the three most anticipated games of the week, Lightning Strike FC hosting Red Bulls FC certainly lived up to its hype. The game itself was intense, thrilling, and certainly very entertaining. However, one would be forgiven if they were to take their eyes off the game for a moment every few minutes as just like every driver’s worst nightmare, the teams sported bright yellow and red jerseys; bad for gas and bad for the eyes.
Red Bulls FC started off on the front foot and were ahead with less than 2 mins on the clock. John Di Re caught most of the Lightning players sleeping and neatly slotted the ball into the net pass a helpless Prathesh Senthil. Lightning tried to regroup and shake off their early struggles but were made to pay for another mistake as Red Bulls star Gabriel Ajon was able to cap off a great team play to take a 2 nil lead. Lightning thought they found their way back into the game through league leading scorer Dillon Suresh as he smashed home from close range, however, their momentum was put to an abrupt end when Red Bulls strikers John Di Re and Mohit Talwar scored 2 quick goals taking the game to 4-1. Though Julio Araujo was able to capitalize from a rare mistake and poked the ball into the net before half time, feeling was that it was too little too late for Lighting. Half time Lightning 2 – 4.
Surprising to many, Lightning came out in the second half in high spirits and started putting together waves after waves of attacks. They were rewarded when striker Aaron St Bernard scored to bring the game back to within reach for their team. Aaron then thought he had scored the game tying goal but the goal was disallowed for dangerous play. This brought an uproar from both benches as both teams badly wanted the win. However, as the teams realized that there were not a lot of time left, they decided to continue to play soccer. Lightning Strike was awarded a penalty near full time, and though Red Bulls keeper Murat Cokgezen was able to make the initial save, the momentum of the ball carried it over the line into the net. Neither team were able to find the winner and thus the game ended with both teams sharing the spoils. Full Time Lightning 4 – 4 Red Bulls.
Vaders v Direwolves
The Direwolves were pegged as favorites by the oddsmakers in their first match against the Vaders. They entered with a full squad, while the Vaders were without key player Andrew Winnett. It proved to be a close match. The Direwolves pressed throughout the opening half but could not find the finish. The Vaders took their chances on the occasional counter, but also without success. The half finished at 0-0, despite heavy artillery from the wolves. In the second half it was more of the same, until a counter from the Vaders finished with Vlad placing the ball in the back of the net. The Vaders fought hard to hold the lead, but the Direwolves would not be denied. With less than 10 minutes to go, a corner from Kaveh found its way into the box and was tucked in by Theo. This one finished 1-1.
Nightmares v Emeralds
The 7pm game featured team green vs team darker green. Nightmare, still looking for their first win of the season, hoped to make some Halloween magic but standing in their way were Emeralds, who started the season strong but came crashing back to earth in week two. The game started off slow, until Sam, in a rare blunder, let the ball roll past him right to the foot of Adrian who made no mistake and buried it into the back of the net. Offside? Not in this league. 1-0 Nightmare! The game moved back and forth with strong defensive play, and solid saves on both ends. Finally, seeing their opportunity on and odd man rush, Metin The Man Guler played a crisp pass to Adrian who found the back of the net for the second time this game. 2-0 Nightmare! Looking to get something going, Emeralds pushed hard, throwing five men into the attack. After a scramble the ball rolled to the foot of Hossein “Triple H” Haider (the third H is for Triple H) who wound up and let one fly. Inside post! And GOAL! 2-1 Nightmare at halftime.
If the fans thought the first half was wild they were in for a treat in the second. Odd man rushes on both sides. Shots, blocks, and diving saves, both teams could generate chances but no goals. It was the kind of football that fans love, but coaches hate. The best chance of the half came as Super Mario lofted a soft cross into the box, right to the foot of his favourite player Zach Attack. Foot found ball, and Zach fired an absolute screamer at the net, unfortunately right into the arms of the Nightmare keeper. More of the same until Zach fired a low shot which trickled through the keeper and headed towards the net. A couple hacks of the ball later and he found paydirt! 2-2! One more chance came late in the game as Emerald defender Dave Ashton picked up the ball at the top of the box and fired on net. Post! Off the keeper’s head! Crossbar! Close, but no goal! 2-2 final score.