Suzuki Drives Swiss Home.
Oi Chou Rinkai Koen, Sunday, 7th January 2007.
24 teams, many playing outside the Tokyo Metropolis League, converged on the Oifuto Astroturf to do battle in what is set to become one of the biggest Footy Japan organized tournaments on the annual calendar. YCAC, the Swiss, Hibs, Sala and BFC arrived fielding notably strong squads, but due to the expansive size of the pitches (causing the 3/4 sized goals to appear as mere specks on the horizon at times) any of the teams who capitalized on their goal-scoring chances, sporadic as they might be, would have a good chance of leaving the competition clutching silverware.
As the group stages concluded and the mercury continued to plunge, certain results hinted that perhaps the early forecasts were a little off the money with both BFC and league leaders Hibernian failing to win their groups. Indeed Hibernian would take an early exit altogether as the Swiss beat them on penalties in the first round of the knockout stages. The Swiss went on to beat BFC Vagabonds 2-0 in the quarterfinals and in doing so securing a spot in the semis against YCAC. Schoolboy Errors FC were unceremoniously dismissed 4-0 by BFC, who in turn fell foul to YCAC in the quarterfinals (2-1). After a 1-1 stalemate in the first stage of the knockout rounds it was Sala's composure in the end that stood up to the test against the Lions in a PK shootout, and paved their way to the quarterfinals where they ejected WS Geckoes in a 2-1 nail-biter (that saw geckoes keeper Rob Keyworth leave the field of play with a dislocated finger). Maritizio’s one goal against TUV Typhoons was enough to send them through to meet Yokosuka in the quarterfinals Yokosuka having beaten France FC 2-1 in the knockout round. The quarter final between Yokosuka and Maritizio went to penalties the conclusion of which saw Maritizio emerge victorious.
As the main tournament moved ever closer to culmination and the mercury had all but dropped off the scale, 4-teams remained in the frigid contest. The Swiss made easy work of Maritizio with a convincing 3-0 win, sending them predictably through to the finals. In the other semifinal YCAC and Sala took the game right down to the wire and were 2-goals-a-piece at full time. Sid Lloyd’s save from an Anthony Savage PK saw Sala progress to the final against the Swiss a game that would also require a shootout to decide the champions.
In the plate competition final Yokota FC, with the help of a single goal from the ever-industrious Terry Welliver (on short-term loan from BFC) deprived a feisty Amanis FC team of the chance of winning the consolation silverware.
Perhaps it was due to the mild hyperthermia that must’ve been setting in at the time of the PK shootout a result of a 0-0 score line between Sala and the Swiss at the end of extra time in the main tournament’s final match, or maybe it was down to nerves, either way neither team could hit the target with balls being blazed every which way, except into the back of the net. It was however the cool head of Suzuki who, having watched Kirk, Koin and Krando all be denied from the spot, would save the Swiss’ blushes. Sending the keeper the wrong way he watched relieved as his low struck shot hit the back of the net. Well done to the Swiss for winning this inaugural competition.
Footy Japan wishes to thank all the teams and referees who participated in this event particularly everyone’s enduring patience between games and we at Footy Japan are very much looking forward to the next big tournament on the calendar (the) Footy Japan / YC&AC Charity 6’s, scheduled to take place at the Yokohama Country & Athletic Club on March 21st (public holiday) 2007. Click here for more information. Hope to see you all there.
Participating Teams: YCAC, Schoolboy Errors, Lions, Wallabies FC, British FC, WS Geckoes, TUV Typhoons, Southend United Japan, CR United, Yokosuka Seahawks, BEFC, Sala, Swiss Kickers, AFC Wanderers, France FC, BFC Vagabonds, Pangea United, Yokota United, Hibernian, Maritizio FC, Amanis FC, Hell Cats FC, WS Clash, Ohmori FC