2 Wins and a Loss-Good Enough?
By Jeremy Chau.
Well viewers, it's been one hell of a ride ever since New Kowloon stepped into Venmere's Peregrine Cup. So far, the Kowlooni National team has faced three opponents: SaneSauceLand, New Dalek empire and Margaux, triumphing in all but one. Today, we're going to go over every single one of these matches, as well as team manager Moreau's hopes for the future.
New Kowloon Bay vs. SaneSauceLand
The first match that New Kowloon Bay really ever fought in the ATA universe, was against SaneSauceLand, with all the top three stellar strikers scoring a goal each. It says much for Moreau’s coaching that a heavily rotated team were able to maintain their tactical discipline, hold their nerve and withstand some difficult early moments before using their set piece prowess to cruise to a dominating victory in the Peregrine Cup.
It was a powerful, resilient performance from New Kowloon Bay, who refused to lose their shape when they were under pressure during a tricky opening period. They gradually imposed their will on their opponents, who had chances before falling behind, and were comfortable in the end, edging closer to a spot in the last 16.
It is believed that ultimately New Kowloon Bay triumphed because they had far too much substance and intensity for [SSA NATIONAL TEAM], who were dangerous in attack but utterly hopeless at defending crosses.
Belief is coursing through New Kowloon Bay, who made their superiority count with goals from J. Kundalu and Degang Hao in the second half, although the SaneSauceLandian team were lively in the final third, using their wingers to good effect early on, but their defence was an accident waiting to happen and their neat attacking patterns would have counted for nothing had Stephano not produced a comical miss in the 26th minute, missing his kick after fine full-back play from W. Stevies on the right.
Even with two goals down, it was not the end of it as far as SaneSauceland was concerned. They continued to probe and almost went ahead when Sherwoods misjudged a high cross, only for [SANESAUCELAND STRIKER NAME]'s header to drop just wide.
New Kowloon Bay soon made them pay for their profligacy. Again they profited from a set piece, R. Howard’s free-kick from the left finding SaneSauceLandian defence in total disarray. This time Chrisen rose above [SANESAUCELAND FORWARD NAME] – all 2 meters of him – and the defender’s header bounced in off the underside of the bar.
With the points safe, New Kowloon bay could turn their thoughts to battling New Dalek empire on Friday.
New Kowloon Bay vs. New Dalek Empire
The next match, just one day later, was against the New Dalek Empire. It was less interesting than yesterday's match, with only one goal leading to a Kowlooni victory. New Kowloon Bay delivered a result and a performance for their manager to savour. They lacked a cutting edge to accompany their authority but, thanks to A. Chrisen’s late header, claimed the victory their efforts deserved.
After the match, Moreau stated, "I think our movements still warranted more goals, so I was quite annoyed during the game. But to the Dalekians' side, I have to give them applause. They were able to block quite a number of our shots that we made, defended their box excellently and we should've shown more in the final third. But still, quite a tight game, and commendable performance from our team.'
The Kowlooni team impressed from the off, although struggled to turn control and comfortable possession into clearcut opportunity. On the other side, the Dalekians took 16 minutes to construct their first attack of note but grew into the game thereafter with [NEW DALEK EMPIRE TEAM WINGER NAME]’s pace a consistent thorn in the Kowlooni's side.
Racing on to [ANOTHER NEW DALEK EMPIRE TEAM WINGER NAME]’s ball, [THE FIRST NEW DALEK EMPIRE TEAM WINGER NAME] shrugged off Chrisen before skipping away from the central defender and threading a perfect cross along the face of New Kowloon Bay’s six-yard box, although this led to a comical miss as he kicked fresh air instead of the ball, leading to dissatisfied groans from the Dalekian side.
There was a moment when the Dalekian goalkeeper [DALEKIAN GOALKEEPER NAME] felt he had been fouled with a sly kick from striker Kundalu, but his protests fell on deaf ears. From the resulting set piece, drilled in with accuracy and pace by Alforo, Chrisen rose in front of the Dalekian central defender and steered a deft header beyond the aggrieved goalkeeper.
New Kowloon Bay vs. Margaux
This match was the first loss that New Kowloon Bay had experienced ever since joining the Peregrine Cup, but a valiant effort it did put up. A game of control and quality but lacking in the area of chances suddenly exploding into life and wide open and that was where Margaux found a way to win it.
Having beaten New Dalek Empire 4-0 and SaneSauceLand 5-1 in match days 1 and 2, now they beat the Kowlooni ntional team having trailed 1-0. First [MARGAUX STRIKER NAME] bent in an outrageous shot to equalise a minute after K. Mount had given the New Kowloon Bay the lead and then [MARGAUX FORWARD NAME], clean through, coolly slid the ball under Yen Sherwoods for the winner.
Those three goals had come in 15 minutes and although there would be none in the remaining 15 there was so much happening it was hard to keep up. [SAME MARGAUX FORWARD NAME] scored in the 80th minute. Just as important was [MARGAUX GOALKEEPER NAME]s dramatic save from Oyarzabal in the 95th. Between those moments there had been two more superb stops, one at each end, as the final, frantic minutes played out and Moreau's team kept flooding forward desperate to recover a lead they felt they had deserved and were determined not to relinquish without a fight.
To the point that Sherwoods went up for a corner and stayed up too, getting a touch in the scramble that ended with [MARGAUX GOALKEEPER NAME] making an exceptional stop, team mates collapsing on the floor in disbelief. In the end, then, [SAME MARGAUX FORWARD]'s goal had done it and so had [MARGAUX STRIKER NAME].
Margaux Post Match and Zaberaz Hapang Predictions
Although this was the first upset in the competition for New Kowloon Bay, it was still noted that New Kowloon Bay was able to slip into the top 16. Unfortunately, their next match is to one of the Peregrine Cup greats, Zaberaz Hapang. In a post-match interview one day after the match against Margaux, team manager Moreau stated, "I know that the next match will be a tight game, we are against one of the great teams. we have studied their formations and standoff positions very closely, and we have also improved our endurance after the gauntlet tests. We have been working on a series of complex position-into-position movements, and we hope to score a tie and even more hopefully, a victory. But we must remember to be humble, now we're just training the most we can and hope for the best."
After a few questions asking about a celebration for them getting into the top 16, Moreau had this to say, "No. They can get a celebration after they win, or they die. We will have to amp up the training, especially when we're going to have to fight against Zaberaz Hapang. Lesser sleep hours, more endurance, it's going to come to a great challenge before, during and after the match.'