Would You Mind If I Play? - Chapter 84 - A Misplaced Start[Updated at: 2021-01-11 03:57:40]
Chapter 84: A Misplaced Start
Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
Before the kick-off, Zhang Jun saw Li Yongle, who did not have a very pleasant expression on his face. He assumed that Liang Ke was right about Li Yongle having been coached to mark Kaka during the game. Li Yongle was not going to defend against him and he was unsure if it was good or bad news.
He stood at the kick-off point and placed his foot on the soccer ball. He then looked beyond Zhongyuan’s forward, midfielders and back defenders, all the way to their side of the goalpost. Since both sides felt that victory for their respective teams was the most important thing, they set aside their personal differences and strived for victory. Hence, the duel with Li Yongle was not to be his main focus of the game, but Zhongyuan’s goal before him.
Yang Pan was by his side and both of them had been partners since elementary school. As long as they had each other, their thoughts had always been the same, We must absolutely not lose!
In the past, before the start of the kick-off, there was always some tension and excitement. But today, Su Fei felt calm. Despite saying “if you lose, I’m breaking up with you” the previous night, she was not worried about them losing. She sat quietly by the sidelines and it seemed like she was watching their daily training.
Ren Yu De stood in the middle and peered over at the stands. Among the crowd of people, he could not seem to find what he was looking for. Then, he sighed gently. “He won’t come!”
An Ke thought of greeting his sister before the match, but the moment he saw He Wen’s bitter expression, he did not dare go near her. The members of Zhongyuan High School would think that he was the one that bullied their “cute manager” and he would not be able to concentrate the game. If he had something to say, it was best to wait until the game was over. However, he was not sure if he would still have the mood to say it after the game, and if He Wen would be in the mood to listen.
The stadium, which was filled with 23,000 people was so silent that even the blowing wind could be heard. In the quiet environment, the referee’s whistle for the kick-off was clearly audible.
Many years after, famous soccer reporter, Chen Huafeng would recall the kick-off for this game. “In my opinion, the referee’s whistle was so clear and long. It sounded as though it was transmitted to the heavens, and it echoed throughout the blue skies on that winter day.”
Zhang Jun gently nudged the ball from the midline and passed it under Yang Pan’s foot.
The stadium, which was unusually quiet earlier, suddenly appeared as if it was detonated with a bang. Screams, cheers, horns, gongs and drums were all intertwined, creating a huge noise. Even the city government 800 m away could hear the loud noise from the stadium.
Those who passed by the stadium outside heard the same sound too.
“The game has started!”
Ah Yuan slouched, then sat up straight. “It’s starting!”
“Big brother, I don’t understand, weren’t you watching?” his little brother replied next to him.
“Less talking, more watching the ball!”
“Yang Pan returns the ball to Kaka, but Kaka doesn’t bring the ball forward. Instead, he passes the ball again to Wang Ning. Zhongyuan’s forward, He Jialin pounces on Shu Guang like a ferocious tiger!”
Wang Ning kicked the ball forward and looked for Zhang Jun, but it was snatched by Li Yongle right in front of Zhang Jun. Li Yongle used his chest to unload the ball and maneuvered it to the right side of Zhang Yulin’s foot.
The commentator instantly shouted with passion, “The long-awaited round of confrontation between Li Yongle and Zhang Jun ended with Li Yongle’s victory!”
In response, Shu Guang’s stand booed.
Zhang Yulin managed to take the ball from a very awkward position. Xie Wei could not catch up this time, otherwise there would have been a big gap. Wang Ning and Li Hao were pinned by Zhao Defeng so they could not rush up in time. So, Zhang Yu Li looked for another person before he decided to take lead of the ball. His dribbles were not that good in comparison to Fan Cunjie and Ren Yu De, who was an expert in dribbling. However, his dribbles were good enough to deal with Xie Wei.
Zhang Yulin got pass Xie Wei, and even though it was only a moment, it was enough for him to pass the ball!
He Jialin’s height was only 170 cm and he was not good at competing in the penalty zone. Also, Zhang Yulin’s pass was around the height of his waist and it was an arc spinner. On top of that, Zhongyuan’s goalkeeper could not easily attack. There was no doubt that Zhang Yulin was a “watch maker”. His passes seemed to be casual, but they were very high in accuracy.
He Jialin was as slippery as mud in the penalty zone. After taking on Li Qiang’s position as a strong center, the responsibility of scoring a goal fell onto his shoulder. He was skilled, so he could get a hold of the ball at the front. He could also dribble the ball and make a breakthrough on his own. Not only that, he could control the ball whenever he was blocked during his dribbles as he waited for his teammates to catch up. He was really suitable as the “1” in “4-5-1”.
He Jialin tried to snatch a point, but he was interrupted by Lin Xiaofang. The shot did not reach the center position and missed the goal.
A few sighs of regrets sounded from the stands.
“It seems like Zhongyuan High School is taking a different approach today!”
“That’s true. During their matchup last year, Zhongyuan High School was defensive from the get-go. But this year, they are on the offensive mode, leaving some of us puzzled.”
An Ke placed the ball on the small area of the penalty zone. The current striker was not the same as the previous year’s Li Qiang. Li Qiang was a very aggressive striker. Even if there were three meters ahead of him, he would still shoot hard if he had the opportunity. However, Shu Guang’s No. 11 seemed to pursue of angle and skill.
An Ke was never afraid of a strong striker; he would just harden himself. Except, Yang Pan, that kid was of course not human. He had skills and An Ke had to properly adjust himself. Even if the game was in a good order for the No.11, it could still be a very difficult game for An Ke.
“An Ke has sent a big shot towards Kaka, but Li Yongle speedily catches up! Eh? Li Yongle is defending against Kaka. What about Zhang Jun?”
As the commentator’s voice dropped, Kaka snatched the ball from Li Yongle and headed it over to Zhang Jun.
But, Luo Bin roared as he snatched the ball first and headed it outwards.
“Luo Bin? I don’t quite understand this!”
Li Yongle was five centimeters taller than Kaka, yet he was defeated by the header earlier. His header was really weak.
Lu Qing received the ball from Luo Bin’s header. Then, he wheeled and passed it to Zhao Defeng who returned.
The moment Zhao Defeng got the ball, Zhongyuan’s cheerleaders instantly cheered. The ball was at his feet and all his companions were also at ease. In contrast, his enemies became worried.
Zhao Defeng, who was a senior in his third year was more mature and stable, but his knife was never rusty. He was a cold player.
“Zhao Defeng takes the ball and Wang Ning is catching up. However, Zhao Defeng has managed to pass him with just a few moves! The first grade midfielder, Wang Ning who has been performing well was just easily wiped away by Zhao Defeng! There’s no doubt that he’s the best front offense in this championship!”
After Zhao Defeng got pass Wang Ning, Li Yongle, Zhang Yuchao and Zhang Yulin sprinted towards Shu Guang’s side of the field. The speed of their change to offense was breathtaking.
Zhao Defeng passed the ball to Zhang Yuchao, who was cutting through, but Zhang Yuchao immediately transferred it to the right side of the field. Zhang Yulin stopped the ball very nicely, then took the lead!
He Jialin did not rest either. He ran towards the penalty zone before he was dragged out by Lin Xiaofang.
Zhang Yulin refused to let go of this situation and made a pass!
He Jialin ran outside, so the penalty area was now…
“Zhao Defeng! Plug from the back, attack with a header!”
An Ke was taken aback, but his instinct to counterattack was still good and he flung the ball out of the bottom line.
“I never thought that Zhao Defeng, who’s only 165 cm tall could score a header into the penalty zone. Not to mention, that header was so strong!”
“Mhm, he sprinted and jumped, then there was a gliding process in the air. He took advantage of the mistakes made by Shu Guang’s back defenders and headed the ball, so the strength he put in was great.”
“Zhao Defeng is particularly active today. He usually doesn’t snatch a header from the inside.”
“Hehe! If he loses today, it’ll become his swan song, so naturally, he would have to fight hard.”
After the corner kick, Lin Xiaofang leaned against Luo Bin to push the ball out of the penalty zone. Zhang Yuchao received the ball in front of the penalty zone and took a shot! Li Jieguang used his body to block the ball out.
Kaka received the ball and along the way, he rushed towards Zhongyuan’s half of the field.
“Kaka turns! Beautiful! But Li Yongle instantly catches up and he’s now intertwined with Kaka!”
Kaka desperately guarded the ball, but he realized it was taking up too much energy. He had no other way but to dribble it forward again and return the pass to Wang Ning.
Wang Ning kicked the oncoming ball towards Zhang Jun, but when Zhang Jun was just about to turn and run, the ball was headed back to Luo Bin. Li Yongle was against Kaka and the ball was then passed to Lu Qing.
“Looks like Li Yongle is marking Kaka, while Luo Bin is responsible for Zhang Jun.”
“Sun Laihong has made an accurate coaching decision. If Li Yongle had been used to mark Zhang Jun, he could only contain Zhang alone. There woud be no one would to defend against Kaka, whose passing makes it possible for the other two strikers to stay alive. Now that Kaka is marked by Li Yongle, they’ve lost the effectiveness in organizing their attacks, and the three front strikers won’t be able to play. Defending against Kaka alone is equivalent to keeping four people in check and deterring the entire team. Such coaching definitely deserves a gold medal.”
“From the looks of it, the game has been going on for five minutes, but Shu Guang hasn’t made any threatening attacks as they’re defending against Zhongyuan’s offense. It seems like these two teams have exchanged roles.”
Wang Ning saw Kaka being followed closely by Li Yongle, hence it would be a loss if he passed. He then shifted his target and passed the ball to Yang Pan.
After Yang Pan received the ball, there was a lot of cheering from the stands. The superior speedster with tremendous strength always brought passion to the fans. Many of them always expected him to throw off the defense with speed and make his long-range shots. Even if he did not score, it was still enjoyable to watch the goalkeeper’s reaction.
Yang Pan took the ball and turned. He then kicked the ball and sped up!
“Yang Pan is dribbling the ball very quickly! At his speed, no one can rush up to stop him!”
“Lu Qing!” As Zhang Yang called out to his teammate, he retreated slightly.
Lu Qing sped up too and he stuck himself on Yang Pan’s side.
“Smart! Once he sticks himself close, Yang Pan’s speed will decrease!”
Sure enough, Yang Pan’s speed decreased. While Lu Qing was near him, his hands were not idle. He constantly pulled on Yang Pan’s clothes.
Zhang Yang suddenly moved forward and extended his leg to break Yang Pan away from the ball.
“Yang Pan has lost the ball! Now he’s being circled by the two of them!”
Zhang Yang handed the ball over to Zhang Yuchao, who was in front of him. He found it unwise to be easily pressured by an assist. It was necessary to combine his and Lu Qing’s power to suppress Yang Pan. He did not expect himself to have such great strength in his lower body; he was like an invincible wild horse. If he went up to assist, Lu Qing would be left to deal with Yang Pan on his own. However, relying on speed alone would not be able to stop Yang Pan.
Yang Pan could not be careless as well. He had to tighten his nerves and muscles throughout the whole 90 minutes of the game.
Zhang Yuchao took the ball and hurried along the edge. Li Hao rushed from the side, but he could not catch up to his speed. Chen Bo rushed forward and prepared to advance, but he did not expect Zhang Yuchao to kick the ball to the left. This was followed by Zhang Yuchao’s left foot, which kicked the ball forward. He then accelerated!
“Zhang Yuchao crosses Chen Bo from a very small space! There is a vast space in front of him!”
Zhongyuan’s cheerleaders instantly cheered loudly.
“Back to defense! Back to defense! Li Jieguang, get into position!” An Ke moved near the corner as he commanded the back defenders loudly. “Chen Bo, return to the penalty zone!”
Liu Hui frowned from the stands. “With Zhang Yuchao’s speed and skills, it’s dangerous…” He used to be the left as well as back defender before, and he had also faced Zhang Yuchao several times in the previous year. He knew that Zhang Yuchao’s breakthroughs were like sharp daggers that could easily cut off his enemy’s throat.
“Zhang Yuchao takes the ball into the penalty zone! He is speeding up to throw off Li Jieguang, who has gone in to defend! Here’s his chance! This is Zhongyuan’s best chance to score in today’s match!”
An Ke clenched his teeth and watched Zhang Yuchao’s every movement closely. From his position, both shooting and passing were possible. An Ke recalled Zhang Yuchao’s habits of breaking into the penalty zone: he rarely passed the ball and usually chose to shoot instead. An ke decided to bet on it and he began to adjust his focus.
“Zhang Yuchao suddenly shoots from the penalty zone! Beautiful! But An Ke has made the right choice. He takes the ball and throws it out! Corner kick!”
“Zhang Yuchao took a shot all of a sudden, but he chose to shoot from the upper corner with a huge amount of strength. That was a really beautiful shot, however An Ke’s save was even more beautiful. The moment Zhang Yuchao kicked the ball, he began to launch himself into the air. It was as if he knew that Zhang Yuchao would shoot from that angle. He grabbed the ball and threw it out. A wonderful performance of offensive and defensive; this is definitely the finals!”
The corner ball was out and it was headed by Li Jieguang from the sidelines.
For the past two minutes, Zhongyuan’s excellent defense team had been pressuring Shu Guang’s offensive team into its own half. With Zhongyuan’s one three-legged shot, two straight shots and corner ball, Shu Guang had no way of making any shots; no corner balls and no threatening passes.
“From the statistics of the first seven minutes of the matcg, both sides seemed to have exchanged their positions. The other side’s offensive madness hasn’t stop while the other has since retreated into defense. This is an interesting outcome!”
“Mhm, I don’t know how the coaches from both sides arranged this. This is indeed quite unpredictable.”
“Have I put them in wrong positions?” Liang Ke said to himself. He was mentally prepared for this opening. Judging from the first few qualifiers that year, the Zhongyuan High School’s defense had reached new heights; heights where other teams found difficult to reach, and they did not have a way to break through it. To get the team up to a higher level, they could only start offensively. Therefore, in the past few matches, Zhongyuan High School attached great importance to their offense, which led to great victory. It appeared that not only did they have to think about how to penetrate each other shields, they also had to be beware of daggers that may come stabbing at any time.
Sun Laihong’s hope was his idea would give them the opportunity to actively attack and snatch the chance to score. But, he never thought things would go so smoothly; Shu Guang did not fight back! He shook his head and turned to look at his expressionless opponent, thinking that in the face of such a situation, should he laugh or should he be worried?