The Shibuya FA's Smile8 Ladies cup was BEFC / BELFC's second competition outing and first time playing competive 8 aside. It was a great opportunity to mix it up with established teams and get team experience playing 4 matches over the course of the day. Obviously having never played 8s before against established teams it was going to be pretty intense, and it was! However the team quickly improved match after match as BELFC got to grips with the playing style, the tactics and working with each other in unfamilair positions and larger pitch. The entire team put in a valiant performance, inspiring others to want to join BELFC and even start playing football!
There were some strong candidates for MVP but a surprise stand out performance of heroic proportions clinched the honours!
Already putting a strong defensive performance outfield, and then taking on the responsibility for the team, no one suspected that Teresa Iniesta was going to be the mind-blowingly brilliant goalie she was!
For the second part of the competition BELFC's first choice keeper was unable to play meaning someone from the outfield had to take up the important role. Iniesta stepped in, and in the first match produced a series of excellent stops and saves.
A great perception of positioning to force shots at tough angles, fearlessness in stopping and gathering the ball had the touchline muttering 'Wow! Did nobody realise Teresa is this good in goal?! Has she been keeping it a secret....'
However nothing quite prepared her team or the touchline support for the epic final match performance which can quite honestly be said, was not something you're expecting to see anywhere.
In the final match, with BELFC pushing foward for goals, and with tired legs compared to the larger squads of the opposition, the opponents unleashed a series of quick counters onto speedy strikers bursting over the halfway line. This pretty much made it a one on one situation between the striker and the goalie for whoever got there first. Iniesta repeatedly blazed out from her area and stuffed the incoming striker before they got to the ball, and even when they did. In these situations the odds you always put in the strikers' favour but they just couldn't get the better of an ultimate sweeper keeping performance. Even when the opposing forward got to the ball first, they were unable to get around Iniesta to fire off a shot, and in doing so gave enough time for the BEFC defence to reset and cover the goal line. All this high octance action caused huge cheers from the BEFC support, and completely befuddled the opponent forwards who couldn't believe they had been shut down repeatedly in a position they are expected to score.
The ultimate shutdown game when from a counter the striker went clean through from the halfway line meaning Iniesta had to get right outside her penalty area to beat them to the ball. The striker arrived first, but only just as Iniesta slid straight through them, winning the ball which then ricocheted back towards the goal. As the striker scrambled to get back onto the deflection Iniesta managed to dive backwards into the area to get two hands on the ball and deny any follow up.
The crowd at that point were in awe and responding in cheers, the opposition in disbelief.
For taking up the job of playing in goal, doing a remarkable job and then putting on what is fair to call a legendary performance of ultimate sweeper keeper for her team and spectators Teresa Iniesta is the Adecco BEFC MVP for the Shibuya Smile8 Ladies Cup. A performance that will be talked about and retold for some time!