Would You Mind If I Play? - Chapter 26

[Updated at: 2021-01-11 03:57:22]
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Chapter 26: Ten Minutes



Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation


Ten minutes was one sixth of an hour, and six hundred seconds. But, how long was that?


Students would moan that 10 minutes worth of recess time was too short.


Many would moan that 10 minutes worth of advertisements was too long.


But, how long was 10 minutes?



“Ten minutes left. Zhongyuan High has pretty much secured the victory then,” Zhou Peng said.


“Are you sure?” Chen Huafeng smiled. “It’s precisely the charm of soccer that you can’t predict what would happen right up until the last second!”


“My conjecture is merely the result of objective analysis,” Zhou Peng replied. “Yang Pan, the core of Shu Guang’s attack is being heavily marked by Li Yongle and Zhang Yang―he hasn’t made a move for minutes. Ren Yu De wants to break past Liu Chao but it’s impossible; he’s just stumbling around now. He rarely runs and a player who can’t run, can’t do anything on the pitch.


“In short, Shu Guang’s prided attack is now contained. They virtually have no chances for a comeback and may even be dealt a further blow. Shu Guang is a great team, but Zhongyuan is better!”


Chen Huafeng sighed. He did not want to admit it, but Zhou Peng was right.


Wang Bo wanted to pass to Zhang Rui, but Luo Bin saw it and got to the ball first―Wang Bo did not have any strength to get it back. When they played against Zhong Xin―the fifth-placed team last year, Chen Huafeng thought that they were formidable. Against Nanyang, he thought that their back line was imposing, almost impregnable.


But what about Zhongyuan?


Against every other team, he always kept the same will to fight, but right now, he felt that he was facing a bunch of mighty monsters! It was as if he could forever only watch and chase them from afar.


An Ke did his best to tip the ball away―it flew to the corner.


Even if he was the goalkeeper, his breathing had become irregular. Every attack from the other team seemed to test him physiologically and psychologically. No conceding! he thought as he kept shielding the goalpost behind him in that manner. “The chance to equalize will be lost if another goal is conceded.”



“Goalkeeper? What does a goalkeeper do?” A little An Ke looked up at the bigger boy, who was much larger than he was.


“A goalkeeper protects the goalpost behind him!” he patted An Ke’s little head.



“An Ke, why do you want to become a goalie? That body of yours could score a lot of goals as a striker!” The elementary physical education teacher looked at the boy in front of him, not quite understanding. The other kids were all competing to play as a striker―for the goals and the glory. This boy alone requested to become a keeper on his own initiative.


“Because I want to protect the goalpost!”



Zhongyuan Technical took the corner and Luo Bin headed the ball in! However, An Ke got to the ball handily.


Nine minutes left.


The Shu Guang goalkeeper hurled the ball out in attack mode. Not wanting to stay too long at the back, Su Li got to it and lobbed a long ball to the front, although Li Yongle was there to cut the offensive short once more.


Getting the ball from Li, Zhang Yulin made a straight pass to Li Qiang, who then sent a back-pass to Zhao Defeng. The captain delivered it to Zhang Yuchao afterwards.


Their passes flowed like water down a stream; Shu Guang could not even touch them.


Zhang Yuchao sent the ball low into the penalty area. Shu Guang followed and a scramble ensued. Braving the clear danger, An Ke dashed into the forest of legs and gathered the ball into his arms.


Su Li was shielding the ball with his body, but in no time at all, Zhao Defeng and Zhang Yulin closed in on him.


“Aren’t you guys getting things wrong! The leading team is actually doing the encircling?” Su Li was in a pitiful state under the duo’s pressure. And in a moment of carelessness, Zhao Defeng got the ball!


“Crap!”


Li Yongle ran with the ball and fired a drive! The ball flew towards the bottom right corner.


An Ke did not tarry and dived towards it. But…


In the middle of the crowd, there was Li Qiang. Stretching out one of his lengthy legs, he tapped the ball. It changed trajectory towards the other direction!


“Oh, no…” An Ke watched helplessly as the ball flew to an entirely different path, a feeling of despair gradually surfacing within him.


Zhongyuan’s cheerleaders exploded with thunderous applause, yelling the team’s motto at the top of their lungs, “Victory! Victory! Victory!”


The scoreboard changed to 3: 1, Zhongyuan was in the lead.


Seven minutes left.


In spite of that, even with most in his cheerleading squad going silent, Liu Qi kept on waving his flag and chanting, “Go, Go! Shu Guang! Shu Guang! Go, go!” It was as if his voice alone could fight against the cheers for Zhongyuan.


3: 1. The huge red numbers were like fresh blood, alarmingly ghastly. Zhang Jun did not want to look at it anymore; soccer could be decidedly cruel on occasion.


Ren Yu De had not touched the ball for quite some time. He did not ask for it or helped to defend it, merely resorting to strolling back and forth up front. Nonetheless, he was not lazing around instead, he saving his strength.


His strategy notwithstanding, the number of times he dribbled past an opponent in today’s game could be counted with just one hand; it was a far cry from how he felt in the past, when he used to drop casualties.



“That brat isn’t training with the school team?”


“I heard he got cut from the school team.”


“Why? His technique isn’t bad all!”


“I heard there was a fight in the squad…” At the sight of Ren Yu De’s glance, the one speaking shut his mouth.



“Look at that bastard! A first-year student, yet so cocky! Running circles around us third-years, especially with that arrogant smile of his! I want to sock him every time I see that look!” a brawny boy said hatefully.


When Ren Yu De made him stumble with his technique again, the other guy promptly kicked him down.


“What are you doing?


“Die!”


“Whoa! Fight!”


*Beep! Beep!*


“You two! Stop!”


“Separate them!”



“It’s best if you leave the team,” The physical education teacher told Ren Yu De. “You have no way of bonding with the team right now…”


Without waiting for the teacher to finish, Ren Yu De turned and left. He did not want to hear another word from that thing, who was pretending to be an educator.


Leaving the teacher’s office, he “coincidentally” saw the huge boy who fought him latching on the team captain’s shoulders. The pair were joking around, a picture of affection.



Su Li did his best to send a pass to Wang Bo. Li Yongle was in an offensive position and had not returned, granting Wang Bo freedom. He drove the ball to Ren Yu De’s feet.


Having denied a touch for so long, Ren Yu De dashed forward as soon as he received it―but his steps were troubled and his pace was without force. Still, Liu Chao was careful not to make any reckless moves and approached him cautiously.


Five minutes left.


The ball went out.


Had his stamina reached its limit as expected? Even his pull turn looked frazzled; one prod and the ball went out of the baseline instead.


Liu Chao was also surprised. “Looks like he’s done.”



“Why don’t they sub off No. 20?” Lin Ling did not get it. “Can’t they see that’s he’s finished?”


“Maybe the coach believes that a substitute won’t do any good,” Chen Huafeng offered. “Having stamina is not enough; Liu Chao’s physicality isn’t average, it would be meaningless not to have the required dribbling skills to break past him.”



Zhang Lintao sent the ball flying into the midfield, where Zhao Defeng was pincered by Su Li and Liu Lie. Although things were at its absolute worst for his team, Su Li stubbornly and diligently stayed in contention against Zhao Defeng to lighten the pressure on An Ke.


Then, Li Xiaopeng took off with Zhao Defeng’s attempted pass, sending it long and far ahead. Li Yongle headed it off but it fell to Su Li, whom nobody expected to be there. Stopping the ball at once, the captain dashed across the middle line. He had been contained by Zhao Defeng throughout the game, but he was actually leading the attack on his own at this point!


Was Shu Guang really behind? How did such vigor remain in them?


Su Li gave the ball to Yang Pan, after which Li Yongle and Zhang Yang closed in once more. Without waiting for them, Yang Pan sent it to the unmarked Wang Bo.


Wang Bo suddenly took a shot! But Luo Bin stopped it with a bodily block.


Just as Li Yongle got to the ball, it was snatched off by Su Li, leaving the Zhongyuan player quite stunned. He was in the middle line just now, when did he get to the flanks?!


Zhang Jun knew. His captain did not want to leave his high school soccer life in such a fashion and he was not going down without a fight.


Yang Pan received the ball and crossed it into the box.


Under Deng Rui’s bodily interference, Zhang Rui headed the ball wide. The ball rolled out of bounds.


The fourth official raised the noticeboard to signal two minutes of added time.


Three minutes left.


A determined Su Li continued to mark Zhao Defeng, even as his own steps became cluttered.


The Zhongyuan captain did not get it. There were just three minutes left until the match ended and Shu Guang was two points behind. Why is he still so persistent? Does he believe that his team can score two goals in three minutes? What a joke! That would be an utter humiliation for Zhongyuan!


He shook Su Li off and sent out a through pass! He Jialin received the ball and fired; An Ke caught it.


Two minutes left.


Zhang Yulin attempted to get past a defender who was watching him on the flanks. He feinted a move to the left; as the marker followed and shifted his weight, he made a break to the right. Despite that, when he wanted to cross, a foot stopped the ball in front of him.


“You think… this… is all it takes… to shake me off? You’re underestimating me, I―” Xie Yu panted.


Taking the chance as the other guy was mouthing off, Zhang Yulin crossed the ball!


Li Jieguang could only head the ball off the baseline under pressure from Li Qiang.


Corner.


One minute left.


Zhao Defeng delivered the ball to the front of the goalpost and Li Qiang was there once again; he pressed Li Jieguang down and prepared for a header!


However, there was still one more player above him; An Ke charged out and plucked the ball out of the air in Li Qiang’s face. An Ke sent the ball across the field with a drop kick as soon as his feet touched ground.


Zhongyuan’s cheerleaders were already applauding their victory at this point.


Wang Bo passed it to Ren Yu De once more.


“Him again!” Lin Ling cried from the stands.


Ren Yu De dribbled slowly. He had no intention to pass, but merely took the ball with him towards the baseline, bit by bit. He was waiting.


Liu Chao groaned and closed in on him, not understanding what use there was in passing the ball to Yu De.


Suddenly, the ball left Ren Yu De’s control!


“This is a great chance!” Liu Chao had been waiting for this. He reached out with his foot and then…


Ren Yu De prodded the ball, which had so clearly left him with his back heel and it slipped between Liu Chao’s feet. He proceeded to run, bypassing the dazed Liu Chao.


“This is bad!” Liu Chao responded. He quickly turned around to try and get the ball, his body incessantly colliding with Ren Yu De’s.


As he almost fell, Ren Yu De flicked the ball with the front of his foot, sending it to the front of the goalpost!


A black figure scampered in and volleyed!


This time, Zhang Lintao did not react―even after the ball went in.


The ball went in!


Yang Pan picked himself up, ran into the net to pick up the ball and ran to the center circle. Players of both teams simply stood awkwardly around him.


“There’s no use, Yang Pan… The match is over…”


Even the flag that Liu Qi had been waving for over 80 minutes drooped.


Just as He Jialin kicked the ball to restart the match, the referee blew the full-time whistle.


The match was over…


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