Would You Mind If I Play? - Chapter 57 - 90 Degrees[Updated at: 2021-01-11 03:57:31]
Chapter 57: 90 Degrees
Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
The Yingcai players, having made it their objective to enter the Nationals were as pumped as their supporters. They attacked aggressively as soon as the match began.
Ma Ni was indeed their linchpin—every single pass was directed to him. Although they disliked the guy, they needed his strength to win and secure that gallant ambition of theirs.
To enter the Nationals was unquestionably a great honor, and it was the unquenchable desire of every individual.
For their coach, becoming Luoyang’s first trainer to lead a non-Zhongyuan team into the Nationals would do plenty of favors for his reputation, social status and bank account. That was why he did not mind Ma Ni’s “coup”.
As for the players on team, the Nationals meant fame and bonus points in their exams—in a nutshell, a bright future and a colorful life. Even the director and principal of the school would gain numerous accolades in return.
For the students, it was not just a source of pride. Traditionally, every school would have an accompanying cheerleading team once they entered the Nationals. The last few days had seen a sudden burst of new recruits for the school cheerleading team. All of them had the same thought—they wanted to steal a little limelight and catch a bit of camera time by showing their faces on TV.
It was a bizarre school with a bizarre team and a bizarre relationship that they shared.
There was no sense of partnership between the players; all of them were merely using each other to achieve their own ends. Still, Yingcai was able to rely entirely on this relationship, cutting down their foes and advancing to the final eight. The team turned into the dark horse of the year in the process.
It seemed that trust was not the only way to create miracles. Utilitarianism clearly worked too.
Now under the drive of fame, money and a brighter future, Yingcai relentlesly assaulted Shu Guang’s goalpost.
Having never encountered such a zealous offensive right from the start, the Shu Guang players were momentarily caught.
For 10 minutes, all they could do was hold them off.
Like the practice match they played against each other, the partnership between Wang Ning and Li Hao could not keep up with Ma Ni—the striker was as agile as a rat.
His method of relying on his teammates to divert Shu Guang’s attention and give him free space was indeed viable. He was a capable forward individually, although his positioning and specialties made him appear more like a False 9; tracking back, getting the ball, and dribbling by himself to make a breakthrough.
This meant that he was a different striker compared to Zhang Jun, who was more of a traditional striker. If he chose to run backwards for the ball, his chances of making a break for the penalty area would in turn decrease. However, was this not the case because Ma Ni did not have an excellent midfield supporter like Kaka? That was the reason why he had to do everything by himself.
Ma Ni took possession once again.
Even though Wang Ning and Li Hao could not help but get nervous at the sight, they inched forward carefully in a pincer move. But before they could combine against him, Ma Ni suddenly hastened his pace and slipped away from the space between.
Shocked, they quickly turned to give chase, instead they crashed into each other. They could only watch as Ma Ni left them for dead!
Li Jieguang approached for the follow-up.
Ma Ni stayed on his course; he had no intention to dodge.
Li Jieguang stretched his foot out!
Despite running at breakneck speed, Ma Ni kicked the ball to his right, and using his left foot as a support, he forcefully turned his entire body towards the ball. He bypassed Jieguang’s challenge beautifully, returned to the ball and continued his run!
It was his 90 Degrees move!
The stands cheered and jeered at once.
Li Jieguang was left looking at a blur while Ma Ni had already dodged to his left. He simply could not react against such movement and speed.
However, Shu Guang had no time to marvel. Ma Ni had reached the box!
Lin Xiaofang flew in with a sliding tackle—he had no other choice even if there was the risk of a fou. Ma Ni’s prompt breakthrough had caught Shu Guang High unawares. Furthermore, despite being the closest to him, he was still two meters away. If he had not slid in, he would not have been able to reach Ma Ni.
Nevertheless, Ma Ni was one step ahead and he let one fly!
A fearsome low strike!
Although An Ke managed to keep guard of the angles, the shot was sudden and tricky. Unhinged, he could only knock it off the line.
“What 90 Degrees?” Su Fei asked, finally having some time to breathe following the intense turn of events. “Isn’t it just a quick turn?”
Su Fei’s argument was reasonable. Ma Ni’s turn looked ordinary, albeit the fact that it was executed with sound precision and timing.
However, Liang Ke was not sharing her sentiments. He had a lingering feeling that the move was not so simple.
In the pitch, Li Jieguang, just like Su Fei believed that the 90 Degrees move was simply a quick turn; even Yang Pan was reminding his shell-shocked teammates of the same thing.
“Don’t mind the 90 Degrees or whatever they call it,” their skipper said. “It’s just a normal quick turn. Next time, Wang Ning, Li Hao, don’t swarm him. Instead, form two layers. One to force him to switch directions, the other to look for the perfect timing and cut the ball away.”
Zhang Jun watched quietly as Yang Pan gave his orders. But, was it really as straightforward as his friend had put it?
He turned to see a sly smile on Ma Ni’s face and felt a sense of foreboding.
Unexpectedly, Ma Ni ran towards the corner flag. He was a striker, should he not have been waiting inside the area? What was he going to do there?
The corner was taken. Instead of a cross in front of the goal, it was a pass to Ma Ni! A set-piece!
Shu Guang’s back line was in chaos once more. They could not run out to intercept him—if they did, they would be leaving the box empty. Staying inside was not an option either. They could not keep allowing him to dribble around the edge of the box, could they?
Before they made up their mind, Ma Ni moved! He started to close in from the right, but he did not dash into the area, merely doing the opposite and dribbling diagonally towards the center.
Wang Ning and Li Hao moved out. The duo remembered Yang Pan’s words clearly—one was to act as bait, while the other was to wait for a chance.
Wang Ning made a diving tackle!
Still running, Ma Ni turned and went pass him on his right.
That was Li Hao’s chance; he quietly stretched a leg out to stop the ball, but it vanished! Ma Ni was already behind him in a blur!
It was that 90 Degrees again!
This was the real version! Ma Ni was already waiting for Li Hao when Wang Ning slid in. And when Li Hao stretched his leg out, he made another quick turn and dodged to his left.
Continuous fast stops, change of directions, acceleration and repetition—this was his prided technique, a move dubbed 90 Degrees by the press. Each turning route had the shape of a right angle.
It looked ordinary, but incessantly pulling one quick turn after another could produce devastating effects. The skill was also demanding towards its user. He or she would need agile steps, explosiveness, impeccable timing, powerful control and most importantly, a pair of knees that could keep up with the huge pressure the constant turning brought.
There was really no telling how the diminutive Ma Ni was able to do this.
Su Fei was speechless this time. Even Yang Pan was startled. He never though that this would be Ma Ni’s true 90 Degrees move. He had been tricked!
Lin Xiaofang kept the pressure on, but Ma Ni simply responded with another 90 Degrees.
It was such an astonishing skill that Li Jieguang was also left behind in a single stroke.
An Ke dashed out and dived towards him!
Without a moment of hesitation, Ma Ni turned and bypassed the keeper before firing at the empty goal with ease!
It went in!
Five consecutive quick turns! It was the most difficult dribbling technique—Super 90 Degrees!
The pitch boiled over!
Yingcai led in the twelfth minute of the first-half; Ma Ni’s sensational scoring technique drew first blood!
The Shu Guang players stared stupidly at the Yingcai procession who danced and celebrated.
Nobody seemed to take notice that rain was beginning to pour once more.