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Friday 26 May 2017

The U11 match on the 12th December against Sceaux began with a surprise; the SAC’s equivalent of Neymar, Messi and Suarez (Alex, Edouard and Iskander) was broken up by Didier.

On account of issues at training, it happens even at this young age, the coach sidelined Alex and Iskander. As a result, the SAC presented itself with a novel line-up that did not seem to perturb the visitors who had no doubt studied the videos but also planned around other configurations. From the start, they pressed hard and the SAC’s defensive line bent but did not break, thanks in part to some excellent goalkeeping from Inès. The SAC resisted the initial onslaught and things became a little more balanced, especially 20 minutes in when Didier brought Alex and Iskander in, unleashing a fury of offensive football from the home side. It was therefore on the counter-attack that Sceaux broke the deadlock. A wayward ball bounced past our defence and into the feet of a surging Sceaux player, who looked more U13 than U11. Despite the goalkeeper’s perfectly timed rush, he shot the ball low and to the left side of the goal. 0-1 just before the half-time whistle.

Would this be last year’s Arsenal or this year’s? It was not quite 2-0 against Bayern, but the SAC team was not to be daunted by the challenge and managed to equalise 10 minutes into the second half. After the break, both teams came out ready to make a difference but the match fell back into a relatively balanced tussle as the ball went up and down both ends of the pitch. It was the same scrappy affair as in the first half and it led to a penalty for SAC. A shot was blocked with both elbows by one of the Sceaux defenders; there was no doubt as to the call. Edouard stepped up to coolly transform the opportunity and did so after a Socrates-like pause, which turned out to be unintentional, and a second run-up and kick, which made it into the top, right corner even though the keeper got a hand on ball. 1-1. What the spectators did not know was that Edouard kept his cool even though he was under great emotional strain, having forgotten his rucksack and trainers in the changing room at last week’s away match and not being sure what might have come of them.

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