Would You Mind If I Play? - Chapter 69 - Lead[Updated at: 2021-01-11 03:57:35]
Chapter 69: Lead
Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
Bin Fei passed the ball to Shi Lei and rushed ahead while the latter passed it behind to Fan Cunjie. Receiving the ball, the captain carried the ball forward without any hesitation.
The semi-final had begun.
Kaka was up against him. Both of them struggled for the ball in the midfield.
Even so, Fan Cunjie clearly did not want to dawdle. One stretch from Kaka, and the captain held on to the ball with his right foot. He turned, with his back facing his challenger and pulled the ball with his left foot. He then turned again and scraped past Kaka.
“Beautiful turn! It’s Fan Cunjie’s most brilliant trick!”
“Hehe! Exactly! He’s the dancer on the green field. You’d marvel at that move every time!”
The commentating pair were generously showering the star with every word of praise.
At the stands, the turn saw the crowd hit their first climax; Dingding’s cheerleaders shouted their captain’s name relentlessly.
Under the ear-splitting clamors, Fan Cunjie kept going.
Wang Ning and Li Hao closed in, one behind the other. Contrary to what the others had hoped for, Fan Cunjie did not use another turning move or gorgeous trick to bypass them. He merely thrusted the ball with his outer sole to Shi Yan up front.
Dingding’s cheerleading squad switched to chanting the latter’s name.
Facing Xie Yu, he moved the ball between his feet. Suddenly poking it ahead with his right, Xie Yu quickly slid towards it, but he could only touch its shadow. Shi Yan made an easy breakthrough!
“He truly is ‘surgical knife’ Shi Yan! Just a few simple pokes and he’s behind the defense!” Mr. Zhou complemented.
“Looks like Shu Guang is getting nervous…”
“Hehe! It’s natural to be nervous when you’re playing in such a scene for the first time. Not to mention, having to face such a giant like Dingding. They can be proud of themselves already if they don’t concede within the first 20 minutes.”
“But Shu Guang isn’t exactly weak…”
“Games in the final four round usually see the match standard raised by a whole new level. Even if you’re impressive before, doesn’t mean that you’ll still be impressive now.”
Shi Yan had already run deep into Shu Guang’s box amidst the pair’s chatter. Bin Fei himself had been sprinting outwards to distract the Shu Guang back line, allowing his teammate to cut in deep.
There was just a little bit of space, but he took a shot!
An Ke caught the ball and held it tightly.
“A shot! Ah! Such a shame! Shu Guang’s An Ke held it so tightly; there’s no chance for Bin Fei to drive in the rebound.”
An Ke hugged the ball firmly as though he feared that it would fly off on its own.
It was dangerous. Just as Shi Yan fired his effort, Bin Fei had already turned and scampered towards the goalpost. If his own save had been a little loose, “The Opportunist” would have seized the chance; his heart had been gripped at the sight of Dingding’s No.9 darting towards him.
The dagger of the “Uncrowned Kings” flashed chillingly under the sun, sniffing for chances. It was ready to slice his neck at any given time.
Although the play was not too threatening, Liang Ke had seen that No.9′ s attack.
An Ke would be in trouble if they could not keep him down during the rest of the game.
That being said, Shu Guang’s current defensive prowess would allow Shi Lei to roam freely if they tried to nullify Bin Fei. The pair were distinct threats.
If they could not stop those two, Shu Guang would have to rely on its attacks, and that would depend on Zhang Jun’s group.
Regardless of when, Liang Ke would always trust his players.
When Zhang Jun misfired against Kai Ta and the team fell behind, he sat on the coach’s seat quietly without a fuss. Because, he believed in the 11 boys running on the pitch.
Against Yang Guang’s incessant cheap tricks and fouls, he merely gestured and reminded them to attack. Because, he believed in the 11 boys who struggled.
Up against Guan Lin, Ren Yu De behaved oddly and almost scored in their own goal. He did not scold his player or blow him off in the locker room. Because, he believed in the 11 boys who sweated.
In the match against Yingcai, the storm raged and the ground turned into mud. There was Ma Ni’s 90 Degrees, Sima Hongxin, the “monster” goalkeeper as well as a fraud of a referee. He stood in silence in the rain in the face of such a hostile match, because he believed in the 11 boys who were unstoppable no matter rain, sleet, or snow.
Today, their captain was missing—greatly reducing their strength. The team they were up against was the formidable “Uncrowned Kings”, Dingding. Even though the supporters on the stands were largely backing their opponents, he still believed in his own team.
Come what may, he would always be Shu Guang’s most loyal supporter.
Dingding had largely kept Shu Guang in their own half after 10 minutes; the team that prided themselves in their offensive capabilities did not even register a single attempt on the goal.
Bored up front, Zhang Jun really wanted to turn back and help defend at the sight of his own goal constantly being threatened. However, he did not, for Liang Ke had repeatedly told him not to. His only task was to shoot, bag goals and score.
An Ke stopped another effort from Bin Fei. The goalie was now the busiest person on the pitch.
Every long-range clearance that Shu Guang made would be quickly sent back. Dingding’s three lines maintained hard pressure on Shu Guang, and even Kaka was now forced to pour all his strength into defending.
“It’s rare to see Dingding attacking so intensely from the get go.”
“Yeah, Dingding can win this match if they want too. Looks like Shu Guang is in trouble.”
“Dingding’s back! Fan Cunjie passed the ball to the flanks, it’s Shi Yan again! A cross to the middle!”
Bin Fei then leaped above the other players around him. The bounce from his 180-cm frame was outstanding; headers were one of his chief methods to score after all.
There was a powerful header in the near area! An Ke could only watch as the ball flew behind him towards the empty goal!
“Looks like Dingding’s going to open the scoring!”
In that exact moment, a shadow dashed in and cleared the ball off the line!
“That was close! Shu Guang dodges a bullet!”
“Even Kaka has retreated to the front of the posts. There’s no telling if Shu Guang will have the same luck next time,” Zhou Jian Sheng said.
Liu Qi turned to the loudspeaker and said what every Shu Guang fan had in their minds. “This commentator is so despicable!”
As Shu Guang kept getting knocked around, many forgot about their strongest weapon.
Cao Po missed his header, but Kaka controlled the ball and passed it with agility!
Facing Zhang Jun for the first time, Yao Wang was a little flustered. He was acting like he was not fully prepared. Without a pause, Zhang Jun squeezed a shot out from a tight angle!
Xia Bo dived. He pushed the ball off the crossbar and out of bounds, drawing cold sweat from the Dingding supporters.
“Al-almost! A Shu Guang lead was so close. As expected of Zhang Jun, his first attempt was already such a menace.”
“Dingding’s back line seems to be loose. Yao Wang wouldn’t usually let the other team’s striker shoot so comfortably.”
“Still, Mr. Zhou, Shu Guang’s offensive prowess is the best in Luoyang!”
“With regard to that, it’s just a conclusion made from their games before this one. Shu Guang’s previous opponents weren’t competent. Now, they face a genuine match against a real team.”
Zhang Jun sighed; it was a shame that it did no go in.
Kaka sent the corner into the box. Zhang Jun had no advantage over Yao Wang in headers, and it was easily cleared by the defender.”Heh! Brat, now we’re even!” Yao Wang called out to him after his feet touched the ground.
Pincered by Wang Ning and Li Hao, Fan Cunjie did not make any exquisite dribbles to break through. Instead, he made a precise pass.
Shi Yan crossed, a bit farther back this time. Shi Lei stole it in front of Li Jieguang and headed towards Bin Fei, who whirled his feet, preparing to shoot—only to find that An Ke had already dived in front of him and gathered the ball into his arms.
“Kaka! Zhang Jun! Ren Yu De! What are you doing! Don’t let them encircle us! Attack!” An Ke yelled as he drop-kicked the ball far up front.
Kaka vied for the ball against Cao Po. He pressed his opponent down forcefully and headed the ball to Ren Yu De.
With his back to the goal, Ren Yu De moved; but instead of turning to face his opponent’s post, he dragged the ball towards the flank. Tang Liang closed their distance, slightly fearful about facing a player whose skill was just second to his captain’s.
Ren Yu De feinted once and sent the ball to Kaka once more—his selfless passing had increased a lot since his first year of high school.
Cao Po instantly went towards him. Kaka was essentially Shu Guang’s mind; they had to cut the connection between the mind and body to sever the source of their prided attack.
However, was Kaka such a shrimp?
The Brazilian returned the ball to Ren Yu De before bypassing Cao Po and dashing towards the box.
Tang Liang did not dare to stretch his leg out recklessly. Ren Yu De used that opportunity to do a backheel pass to Xie Yu, who had been running up behind him. After that, he ran ahead too.
Caught between chasing after Ren Yu De or closing down on Xie Yu, Tang Liang hesitated—this gave Xie Yu enough time to make a lob into the box.
The ball curved outwardly towards the goalpost—a pain for keepers since they could easily make a mistake if they chose to charge out.
As such, Xia Bo decided to stay put, leaving it to Yao Wang’s aerial affinity.
Yao Wang cried out before jumping in front of the ball to clear it away. But, he was one step slower. Dashing towards him, Kaka leaped and hung in the air for a few moments as he headed the ball towards the goal in Yao Wang’s face!
Xia Bo never thought that the 190-cm giant could lose at headers, but despite being unprepared, the keeper reflexively knocked the ball off to the far corner with his knee.
He turned to find a horrifying scene.
Zhang Jun was darting towards it! With his right foot outstretched, he prepared to fire in the rebound!
Yao Wang had just gotten his feet on the ground, while Cao Po was left far behind by Kaka. The closest to Zhang Jun was Ya Dong! He tried to pull the opposing captain’s jersey only to find that the temporary captain was not budging.
Such an ordinary body, yet such immense strength!
Kicking out, Zhang Jun stabbed the ball into the empty net with a toe jab!
It went in!
Silence filled the place. No one would have thought that after being encircled and bombarded by Dingding for so long, the one to score first would be Shu Guang.
Additionally, it was just their third attempt.
Even the long, rambling voices behind the loudspeakers were silenced. Perhaps they could not think of what to say in the face of such a comeback.
After scoring, Zhang Jun huddled with Kaka before quickly being encircled by their jovial teammates. Shu Guang’s cheerleaders also joined in the merrymaking; they had imagined many scenarios, but never one in which their team led so early.
Fan Cunjie glanced blankly at the gigantic LCD screen, which replayed the goal.
When Kaka headed, Zhang Jun was already moving towards the far corner. And when Xia Bo knocked it towards him, all he needed to do was stretch his foot out for the ball to go in.
Everything looked so simple, but the No.11’s instincts in front of the goal sent chills into Fan Cunjie’s heart. If Bin Fei’s positional awareness was a result of extensive training and experience from matches, Zhang Jun’s instinct in front of the goal was pure intuition.
An intuition like that of a tiger on the hunt; a terrifying one.
Shu Guang led with a score of 1: 0, 17 minutes into the first-half.