Would You Mind If I Play? - Chapter 58 - The 30th Minute

[Updated at: 2021-01-11 03:57:32]
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Chapter 58: The 30th Minute

Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation

The match restarted at the sound of the referee’s whistle; Zhang Jun kicked the ball to Yang Pan.

In fear that the other team would secure possession and get Ma Ni to put on an encore of his “90 Degrees Show”, Shu Guang carefully held on to the ball. It took them quite a while to notice that, without their star, the other players were not of the same caliber as them.

That fact alone emboldened them.

Wang Ning sent a through pass to Kaka. It looked like the Brazilian was about to receive the ball when he crossed his legs and allowed the ball to roll past him, before turning and chasing after it. A Yingcai defender who had latched himself on Kaka was left rooted to the spot. He did not even react, not quite understanding what had just happened.

Zhang Jun, Yang Pan and Ren Yu De helped out by catching the attention of the other defenders, while Kaka calmly dribbled and took a shot from the right!

The ball curved noticeably in the direction of the upper left post; it was a dead zone, and typically, the most difficult angle for a goalkeeper to guard.

Yang Pan even raised both his hands, prepared to celebrate his team’s equalizer.

However, Sima Hongxin rose and caught the attempt tightly. He dropped and rolled once before rising again. He looked utterly unfettered as if he was perfectly comfortable in making that save.

Annoyed, Yang Pan lowered his hands.

“Such a shot. Even Zhongyuan’s keeper, Zhang Lintao would have only been able to knock it out of bounds,” Chen Huafeng mumbled in his seat. ‘Sima Hongxin is truly a ‘monster’ of a keeper. Super 90 Degrees and Monster Keeper… Shu Guang has truly met a difficult opponent…”

It should have been an exciting match, but due to the poor weather, the on-site reporters did not even amount to half of the usual number. There were barely 10 photojournalists standing beside the pitch. It was a pathetic appearance for such a vital clash!

Nonetheless, Kaka’s denied attempt did not deter Shu Guang’s passion for attacking.

Wang Ning managed to cut a pass, which was going the other way in the midfield. He quickly sent it to playmaker-in-chief, Kaka.

Kaka slipped it to Ren Yu De, who shifted his foot slightly and tipped it away between his marker’s feet, moving the ball into the penalty area.

Yingcai’s defense was in tatters. It was Yu De’s favorite situation—he always found a route to pass even in the middle of chaotic scenes, and it was no different this time. Zhang Jun appeared in his line of sight and he sent an exquisite, yet concealed lob! The ball leaped over the heads of the defenders towards the goal!

Zhang Jun rose for a powerful header!

Sima Hongxin’s hands were there once more. He moved sideways and stopped the ball, clearing it with a quick drop-kick to the midfield.

Wang Ning headed it back towards the other direction. Ma Ni, who had a notable disadvantage in aerial duels, did not get a word in.

Kaka accepted the ball and backheeled it to Ren Yu De before turning and running forward. At the sight of his teammate shaking off a pursuing defender, Ren Yu De sent the ball in front of Kaka. One-two!

The Chinese boy from Brazil then passed it to Zhang Jun, who in turn delivered it to the oncoming Yang Pan. The skipper crossed, Kaka leaped and headed!

Sima Hongxin was there again. He caught it firmly, without a hint of a rebound.

Shu Guang looked confused after being foiled thrice in their attempts for a goal. Yingcai grabbed their chance and countered.

Ma Ni tracked back to the midfield for the ball. It was as if he had vanished as Shu Guang attacked wildly for those seven minutes, never appearing in anyone’s sight. But now that he had possession of the ball yet again, Shu Guang was feeling nervous once more.

He began his high-speed dribbling breakthrough!

Despite knowing that there was a high chance they would be bypassed, Wang Ning and Li Hao approached him. As expected, Ma Ni used his 90 Degrees move and left the duo behind.

Now facing off against Lin Xiaofang, he did not use the same trick—a little upper-body movement sufficed. Ma Ni got into the box and took a shot!

Fully prepared this time, An Ke pressed the incoming ball underneath his body tightly.

Although Yingcai were leading at the moment, Shu Guang held a slight advantage over the game. There were still 15 minutes left before the first period ended, and the score was simply not enough for Ma Ni.

He had promised his godfather to use a particular move only in extreme circumstances. However, looking at the game right now, Shu Guang could quickly rally for a comeback if the gap between them was not widened.

It did not matter how good Sima Hongxin was. He was still one man against an entire soccer team!

Ma Ni gave the referee a look, while the other noticed it and nodded.

Yingcai was holding the ball at the back. Kaka went up to them, but once he took over possession, the referee sounded his whistle; it was a foul! The match official gestured for a free kick even before Kaka could make sense of what had just happened.

“Huh? What… What’s this?”

Kaka was left befuddled over what foul he had made. He did not have any time to argue; everyone else was running back to defend because the free kick was quickly taken and the ball was now at Ma Ni’s feet.

It was then that Zhang Jun noticed something; Ma Ni was not using the Super 90 Degrees move, which he did prior to scoring earlier. Clearly, he could not use the move more than twice that frequently.

Still, it had left his team’s defense shaken. Even Yang Pan and Kaka often found themselves returning to the edge of the box to defend.

Yingcai was on the counter again and An Ke yelled for the back line to press forward to make an offside trap.

His instructions were sound. The defenders had trained for this and they moved forward decisively to force Ma Ni into an offside position. When a midfielder made a long pass to Ma Ni, both Li Jieguang and Lin Xiaofang raised their hands at the same time to signal that the striker was offside.

Ma Ni, unmarked, looked up at the linesman. The official was keeping his flag down and the referee did not blow his whistle; it meant he could play on!

Shu Guang was shocked. Ma Ni was five meters offside!

The flag stayed down and the whistle was not blown! Were the officials blind?

It took a while before An Ke recovered from the shock; he quickly charged out to stop the attack, but it was over in an instant. Ma Ni easily fooled him with another 90 Degrees. He slipped past the keeper and scored into another open goal!

Finally, the referee blew his whistle, but he was pointing at the center circle. The was goal counted!

2: 0!

Yingcai had doubled their lead in the thirtieth minute!

An Ke leaped off the ground and ran straight at the linesman, looking so ferocious that he was probably prepared to eat the man.

Yang Pan saw it. Cursing inside, he quickly sped off in the same direction.

“Why didn’t you raise the flag?! It was an obvious offside! You blind—”

“An Ke!” Yang Pan roared loudly from behind, silencing the goalie moments before swiftly holding him back by his navel.

The referee ran over too as he reached into his chest pocket. An Ke was shown a yellow card when he got in front of him!

Yang Pan breathed a sigh of relief; it was not a red. Luckily, he had stopped An Ke just before any heated words were uttered. Or else, his teammate would have been sent off without further discussion. Although he was relieved, he never relaxed his hands. The captain firmly dragged the 188-cm An Ke back into the pitch.

“Why are you being so impulsive? Do you want to get sent off?” Yang Pan scolded him as the captain. “Obey the referee! Whatever the referee says goes!”

“Do we have to follow him even if he’s corrupted?” An Ke was still clearly angry, but his voice was a lot softer. He did not want to be sent off either; that much was clear.

“You…” Yang Pan was left speechless.

Zhang Jun looked up at the sky. He did not notice when the rain had become so heavy; the raindrops hurt him as it swept across his face, while the stands were now a sea of umbrellas.

He washed his face in the shower before moving back into the crowd, patting Yang Pan and briefly hugging An Ke.

“Stop arguing. It’s never nice to argue against each other—we’ll become a laughing stock to them. If they score two, we’ll score three; if they score three, we’ll score four!”

That last part was not uttered loudly, but every other Shu Guang player heard the intensity within those words.

“Assume your positions, don’t let Old Liang wait for too long!”

At that, Zhang Jun led the way to the center circle. He walked slowly, but steadily.

The others glanced at the technical area. That was when they finally noticed that Liang Ke, who was still seated just a while ago, standing pitch-side with his arms folded across his chest.

The coach did not say a word and merely stood there, allowing himself to be bombarded by the rain.

And so, the players dispersed and went back to their posts.

“An Ke!”

An Ke turned, but was stopped by Yang Pan.

“Guard well! You’re the only one who can keep Shu Guang’s goal safe! If you dare get yourself another yellow card before the Nationals, I will skin you!” the captain hissed viciously.

An Ke flipped him off viciously in return.

“You just have to think about how you’re going to score. This box is my domain!”

Yang Pan smiled.

Su Fei stared worriedly at Liang Ke, who was still standing under the rain. His smart-looking suit was now so drenched and wrinkled, it no longer looked like clothing.

He had stood up without a word after the offside goal, walking to the side of the pitch and standing there like a statue.

Afraid that he would catch a cold, the team manager finally decided to hold up an umbrella for him. But just as she got beside him, he said, “Go back, Su Fei. Go back and keep the match record.”

She sighed. Closing the umbrella, she returned to her seat. She picked up her notebook and jotted everything down meticulously.

Thirtieth minute, Yingcai leads by a score of 2: 0. An Ke was shown a yellow card.”