By coach Thomas Hitchings
In the group stages of the girls’ tournament which started on the Thursday afternoon, the girls played a very relaxed, yet capable style of football. Notably Kristen and Ingerid Haaberg maintained a dynamic partnership on the right hand side which cut through any defence with seemingly increasing ease. Noelle Heinrich and Holly Walmesley were excellent in attack scoring goals at nearly every opportunity and the team went into the first evening unbeaten.
On Friday, the group stages continued with more wins and plenty of action for the potential goal scorers. A friendly rivalry between Noelle and Holly was developing as to who could be top goal scorer for the team. Holly scored two directly from corners and Noelle was clearly winning balls in the air and heading strongly past the goal keepers. During the group stages the girls were challenged by lapses in concentration, one of which was punished by a feisty striker from TEDA who scored the only goal of the tournament which was conceded by the BISS Lions Girls team.
The BISS Girls went into the finals day as strong favourites as they were unbeaten so far in the competition. All teams raised their games against the BISS Lions and put the girls under pressure. With a very strong performance from Abi Yadav who seemed to have a golden first touch in defence and a goal keeping display to be proud of from Barbara Asfour, the girls maintained a clean sheet all through the finals to be crowned champions.
One great statistic which indicates the dominance of the girls team at the tournament is that they scored 28 goals and conceded one. This was a very special team to watch play a wonderful brand of passing football.
By coach Nick Lewis
This year the mighty BISS Lions took a young and developing squad of 10 boys to YCIS Beijing. Having been successful the last two years, our objective was no different but we knew the task would be a lot harder.
On the opening day all of the teams met at the facility for last minute coach meetings and final preparations. It was at this point we could see what we were up against and our opponents could see us and they were delighted I’m sure, not to see the formidable powerhouses who represented BISS Puxi last year!
The group games progressed over the next two days and the BISS Lions conducted themselves superbly. Led by captain Gustavo Piola Parucker who was the gel in midfield and with the tough tackling maestro Filip Skou at his side, BISS Puxi stroked the ball around the pitch and dominated possession in every match. The only thing we were missing was someone to put the ball in the back of the net!
Nick Piola Parucker and Leo Michel-Grosjean took it in turns to work tirelessly up front and make menaces of themselves. BISS Puxi ended the group stage 2nd with two wins, two draws and only one loss. This put us into the finals day with an encouraging match against 3rd placed XIS.
Our match against XIS was no different! The instructions were the same; look after the ball, work hard to win it back and try to create clear openings for shots. This played right into our hands as fatigue set in on another scorching day. Midway through the second half our efforts were rewarded as a quick double saw us take a 2-0 lead. At this point we had one foot in the door to the final and we changed our team round to keep fresh and injury free for our last match.
As we readied ourselves prior to the final, our warm up was brief (purely to reserve energy) and we concentrated on our passing and mental focus. We came together for our last pre-kick off team talk; we had made it to the final, we had played the best football. All that stood in the way was 40 minutes and 12 big, strong YCIS players (with a large home following and the support of almost every other team at the tournament!) We should do nothing different, look after the ball and work hard. If a chance presents itself…take it! This trophy was ours for the taking but how much did we want it?
The game was tense from the first whistle and neither team wished to make any early errors. BISS Puxi maintained most of the possession and YCIS allowed us to keep it. Half time came… still no score! Refreshments were taken and the game plan stayed the same. With extra time and possible penalties looming closer and closer BISS Puxi camped in the YCIS half trying to open them up but also wary of the counter attack. Nick received the ball in the left hand corner and wriggled his way into the box via the dead-ball line. He cut it back to striker partner Leo, who in one fell swoop turned and fired home from 6 yards out! Scenes of jubilation momentarily followed, we had taken the lead and now it was time to keep it tight. Seconds later the final whistle blew… ‘BISS Puxi’s young Hobbit’s had triumphed in Mordor!’
Throughout the tournament BISS Puxi conducted themselves impeccably, they played like champions and they won like champions, respecting every opponent and conducting themselves accordingly.
They came here as cubs, but left as Lions and leaders and with a big winner's trophy! Truly my most rewarding ACAMIS win which left me on my knees and in tears at the final whistle.