Would You Mind If I Play? - Chapter 96 - We Are the Champions[Updated at: 2021-01-11 03:57:44]
Chapter 96: We Are the Champions
Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
Time continued to pass, second by second slipping through the twenty-two players on the pitch, flowing through the tense substitutes bench, then evaporated from the high temperature of the viewing box.
“It looks like the match would enter the second half of overtime! If there isn’t a goal in the second half, the match would be decided through penalties!”
Luo Bin pressed forward. He had quietly rushed forward when Shu Guang’s defenders were preoccupied by Zhao Defeng.
Zhao Defeng caught a glimpse of Luo Bin and immediately knew what he was supposed to do.
There were three heavyweight gunners in Zhongyuan: Zhang Yuchao, Li Yongle and Luo Bin. As he was usually a center back, he rarely had a chance to shoot. However, his shooting skills were not to be trifled with.
“Zhao Defeng gave an accurate pass even though Wang Ning was interfering with him! Luo Bin was not marked and received the ball!”
Unfortunately, Shu Guang had neglected him.
Luo Bin had received the ball from Zhao Defeng at top corner of the penalty box. Miraculously, no one came forward to block him. He was also clever and adjusted his body slightly. He lifted his right leg at the edge of the penalty box and took a shot.
“Luo Bin’s long shot…”
In front of Luo Bin was a large and empty space leading towards the goal. His shot was so sudden that Shu Guang’s defenders were unable to stop him.
An Ke saw about four balls moving in front of him. He cursed in his heart and then closed his eyes.
Since he could no longer trust his eyes, he put them aside and decided to trust his body and his own hands.
An Ke closed his eyes and leapt towards the ball that was flying to his left.
“An Ke! This was brilliant! A sideways leap perfectly pushed Luo Bin’s shot away from the goal line! How did he do it?” The commentator exclaimed. The commentator would naturally not have been able to guess that An Ke had closed his eyes and relied on the feeling of his body to complete the amazing leap. It sounded like something out of a comic book.
“A corner kick! Zhongyuan’s offensive is not yet over!”
Those at the penalty zone became livelier. Perhaps the first half would be over after the corner kick. As a result, Luo Bin and Deng Rui both rushed towards Shu Guang’s penalty box. An Ke was unable to go out and catch the ball. These high balls depended on the aerial ability of each side. Amongst the tallest two in Zhongyuan, the one who was better at headers would definitely be the decider.
An Ke looked at the chaotic penalty area. It was a mess because he saw countless people. He naturally understood the danger of the corner kick but he was unable to do anything. It would be a joke if he closed his eyes again to leap at a close-range header.
He looked at the goal post behind him and suddenly had an idea. He walked over and then slammed his head against the post!
Everyone who witnessed this scene was stunned. They did not know what An Ke was trying to do.
Has he gone mad from that earlier knock? Is he addicted to knocks now?
However, An Ke was someone who did not care about how others saw him. After hitting his head on the goalpost, he went back to the front of the goal and shouted, “Good! Bring it on!”
All of Shu Guang’s players felt relieved. An Ke didn’t go crazy. They heard the familiar roar and knew that the An Ke they know had returned.
Right now, An Ke was indeed full of confidence. Mainly because, everything he saw was turning back to normal. There were no double images and his vision had stopped shaking. This was definitely only temporary but it was enough.
It was enough for him to catch the corner kick.
“Zhongyuan’s corner kick!”
In Shu Guang’s chaotic penalty box, Luo Bin, Deng Rui, Lin Xiaofang and Li Jieguang were tangled together. Kaka did not return to the penalty box this time. Instead, he stayed in the middle of the pitch alongside Yang Pan. They had the same thought. It was probably their last chance so it was all or nothing.
The ball flew forward in an arc and slowly descended towards the goalmouth.
“Everyone, move aside!” An Ke shouted and jumped up with his hands stretched out. He then caught the ball firmly in his hands.
Shu Guang’s fans burst into cheers.
“An Ke caught Zhongyuan’s corner kick! Is he really injured?”
When An Ke landed on the ground, he remembered that he had to hurry or there would be no time left. The first half of the match was almost over. During his trance, he saw Kaka and instantly knew what to do.
He quickly squeezed through the crowd in the penalty box and went right up to the edge. He then used all of his strength and flung the ball towards Kaka. After releasing the ball, he fell face forward from the momentum.
Zhang Yuchao who was standing at the periphery was the first amongst the Zhongyuan players to understand the situation and quickly ran towards Kaka and the ball.
Zhang Yuchao was quickly approaching when the ball arrived. However, Kaka did not give him any chance to get to the ball. He turned his back to Zhongyuan’s goal and, without even so much as a backward glance, used the outer part of his right foot to kick the ball backwards as hard as he could, then swiveled around the stunned Zhang Yuchao and continued his forward run.
Ren Yu De accelerated to intercept the ball before Liu Chao could disrupt. He stretched out his left leg and sent Kaka’s ball back to the middle. However, he himself was paralyzed and fell onto the pitch. He was unable to stand up and was completely exhausted.
Zhang Jun did a fake move and ditched Li Yongle who was marking him. He jumped up and sent the ball to Yang Pan on the right. After that, he landed and made a run towards goal. He sped up and left Li Yongle stumbling to keep up.
Yang Pan leapt up. Without looking, he kicked the ball that was in midair with his left heel, sending it to Kaka who was running forward. Yang Pan then rushed towards the goal line too.
Kaka saw that Yang Pan had given him the ball and knew what to do. He kicked the ball up again, sending it over and behind Zhang Yang.
Until now, the ball had not yet landed.
Yang Pan ran as fast as he could. He easily got past Zhang Yang and ran towards the landing spot of the ball. He knew clearly that this would be the last pass.
Before the ball reached the ground, Yang Pan executed a mid-air volley and passed the ball towards the front of the goal.
Luo Bin shouted loudly. “Zhang Lintao!” Now that they were all forward and couldn’t make it back in time to defend, all their hopes would be on the goalkeeper.
Su Fei and everyone else also stood up.
“Yang Pan has passed the ball!”
Zhang Lintao jumped forward and opened his hands to catch the ball. However, before his eyes, a leg in white socks appeared. The boot slammed onto the ball. Zhang Lintao squinted out of reflex when a patch of grass flew at his face.
“A bicycle kick by Zhang Jun! God! The ball flew into Zhongyuan’s goal without any resistance! They scored the goal! It’s the golden ball! The golden ball!”
Zhang Lintao and Zhang Jun landed at the same time. However, Zhang Lintao stayed on the ground and stared blankly at the ball that was still bouncing about in goal.
Zhang Jun sprang up and ran to the center circle. At the same time, the referee blew the whistle, signaling the end of the match.
“What a unique goal! Shu Guang gave a series of passes through the air, culminating in an amazing bicycle kick by Zhang Jun! The golden ball. The first champions to be decided through the golden ball system! Shu Guang are the champions!”
Zhang Jun rushed to the center circle and stopped. In fact, he was stopped by his overjoyed teammates. They surrounded him and the players at the periphery of the horde kept jumping onto the players inside. Although they blocked Zhang Jun off, they couldn’t obstruct his hand from pointing high up to the sky.
Liang Ke also led a group of substitutes onto the pitch. Their target was the arm pointing to the sky.
Even Ren Yu De and An Ke was supported by others to join the manic celebration. Although they had no energy to jump and scream, they could still muster a laugh.
They laughed to their hearts’ content for the hard won victory and championship.
Li Yongle watched on helplessly as Zhang Jun leapt up in front of him, turned, steadied his left leg on the ground as he landed then swung his right leg up mid-air. Zhang Lintao was helpless, and he too was helpless. His legs could no longer support him. It was a miracle that he could even stand.
He looked up and squinted at the sky. He wondered if the color of the sky would return to normal now that the match has ended.
Suddenly, his knees buckled and he fell down to his left. However, he was immediately supported by Zhang Yang.
“I know.” Zhang Yang put Li Yongle’s right hand over his neck and propped his partner up.
Zhao Defeng did not cry although his expression was grim. Luo Bin who was a senior also did not cry even though it was possible for him to have won his third national championship and fourth Luoyang championship. Deng Rui was silent and looked grim as well. Yang Pan’s kick had shown its might.
Only Lu Qing was sniveling and crying. He had failed during the first year of his participation. Liu Chao embraced his neck and said, “Don’t cry. You still have two more years!”
Standing by the touchline, Sun Laihong had a blank expression as he looked at the players under his leadership. He had not made any mistakes but he had still lost. The players had fought their hardest but they still lost.
Zhongyuan’s fifteen-year unbeaten record in the Henan district in official competitions was now history.
They must now face a new beginning.
The reporters intervened quickly and separated the Shu Guang players who were tangled in a bundle.
Zhang Jun received the most attention.
“Zhang Jun. How do you feel about winning?”
“Zhang Jun. Do all of you normally practise goals like that last one?”
“Zhang Jun. How long have you been practising the bicycle kick?”
Countless flashes, numerous microphones and camera lenses made Shu Guang’s players feel the atmosphere of what it meant to be champions.
The reporters manic behavior did not last long as the organizing committee began to clear the venue for the award ceremony.
A temporary podium was set up and a bright glittering trophy sat across from it: the champions’ trophy. In the past few years, this had been placed at the exhibition hall at Zhongyuan High School. Today, it would have a new owner.
The runner-up prize was like a cold appetizer before the main meal. Nobody applauded and nobody cared.
Zhongyuan’s players put on a forced smile and took their silver medals. In fact, the silver medals were still of great importance to them. It was their first silver medal from a regional competition.
The runners-up quickly went off it was time for the champions to be in the spotlight.
Shu Guang’s players squeezed onto the podium nervously. They were all drunk with excitement and glee.
The deputy mayor of Luoyang personally awarded the gold medals to the champions. Many of them took their gold medals and examined it. This was their first one!
After that, the exciting moment arrived. Yang Pan received the shining championship trophy from the deputy mayor. When he held the trophy high above his head with both hands, coupled with the commentator’s passionate shouts, the atmosphere of the entire venue peaked.
“Champions! Shu Guang High School!”
Zhang Jun was beside Yang Pan. His eyes did not linger on the big trophy like his teammates. Instead, it looked past the crowd towards Shu Guang’s bench.
Su Fei was still sitting there and she looked over too. Their eyes made contact.
Su Fei smiled at Zhang Jun but could not stop the tears from rolling down her cheeks.
A year and a half of hard work had finally paid off.
The trophy was handed to Zhang Jun. In front of the audience and all the reporters, he held it high and then roared, “We are the champions!”
When Zhang Jun finally escaped the pestering reporters, he saw Li Yongle being supported by Zhang Yang. They waited for him at the entrance to the tunnel.
Zhang Yang looked sombre. After losing the match, he did not respond to Zhang Jun.
Instead, it was Li Yongle who gave a smile, even though the smile was bitter.
“Er… You guys actually played well…” The winner, Zhang Jun, did not know what to say.
“You do not need to be polite. A winner’s line is always the same. A win is a win. A loss is a loss.” Li Yongle replied. “I lost.”
“That’s because you were injured…”
“No! The moment you got that ball and broke away from me, I already lost. I wouldn’t have been able to stop you even if I was in good condition. You do not need to find an excuse to comfort me. I am not the kind of person to be so easily frustrated. We still have one year left.”
“Yes. One more year! Your knee…” Zhang Jun looked at the thick gauze on Li Yongle’s left knee.
“I will have it examined. Do not worry. I will not hang up my boots until I defeat you.” Li Yongle laughed. “You are my eternal adversary.”
Zhang Jun laughed too. “You are also my eternal friend.”
Two hands were tightly clasped together.
The author has mentioned that there will be a sequel to this story, which he will write after he has rested. The sequel will be about Zhang Jun and his team in the Euro Cup and World Cup. The author also thanks the readers once again for their support.