After several internal matches, the MD was challenged to a football match by the Systems Chemistry group of the Stratingh Institute for Chemistry. Eager to defend our honour we jumped on the opportunity and planned a full 7 on 7 match to be played on March 24. Anticipation and trash talk were at a maximum when it turned out to be a sunny Friday afternoon with both teams ready to give it their all.
Right from the first whistle, the MD team pressurized the SysChem team on their own half which lead to an early corner kick. Striker Marrink whipped the ball into the box and Frederix met it at the near post to unconventially put it into the back of the net, giving the MD team an early 0-1 lead. This woke up the SysChem team, which managed to quickly equalise after a well executed break. In contrast, this goal led the MD team to get overly cautious and barely managed to get off their own half for the next 15 minutes. The inevitable happened: after a corner kick was missed by several attackers and defenders, Thallmair got caught by surprise and beautifully headed it into his own goal, giving SysChem a 2-1 lead. The play went back and forth after that, the MD group breaking quickly at every opportunity, while SysChem kept their pressure high up the field. Just before half-time a through pass from Valsecchi split open the SysChem defense to enable a shot of Frederix into the top corner, which made the teams go into the tea break level at 3-3.
SysChem obviously had the best refreshments during half-time, because they quickly regained the lead through goals of midfielder Schaeffer and left winger Schreuder. Patmanidis and Schroer stepped up their defensive efforts to deny SysChem a larger lead, but from then on, MD was always chasing: every time the team appeared to get back into the game, closing the gap to 1 goal, SysChem quickly managed to regain the 2-goal advantage. With the 5-4, Thallmair managed to head into the right goal this time, and Frederix curled the 6-5 into the top corner in a 15-yard attempt. However, goals from SysChem's Yang and Hussain (after a nice fake by Pappas) made sure the lead was again extended to 7-5. At the same time, keepers Miao and Pappas kept out great shots from Xue, Marrink and Valsechhi, while De Vries did his job in goal very well for the MD side.
In the final phase of the game SysChem seemed content with their lead and retired into defense. With all necessary means the relentless MD forward efforts were kept at bay, although some commotion arose from Pappas's challenge on Frederix that resulted in an injury preventing him from playing on. Even after losing their most productive forward, the MD team managed to close to gap to 7-6 in the first minute of injury time. Little time remained and even though referee Maric added an extra minute to the overtime due to deliberate time-wasting by the SysChem team, there was no further opportunity to equalise: in fact, the final whistle saw an 8-6 score on the board as SysChem used the space that resulted from the forward efforts of the MD team.
Captain Schaeffer was awarded the golden cup as the teams celebrated their efforts with some well-deserved beers. However, a rematch will be planned soon!
Systems Chemistry vs Molecular Dynamics: 8-6
SysChem line-up: Bartolec (Cro), Hussain (Ger), Miao (Chn), Pappas (Gre), Schaeffer (Fra), Schreuder (Ned), Yang (Chn)
MD line-up: Frederix (Ned), Marrink (Ned), Patmanidis (Gre), Schroer (Ger), Thallmair (Ger), Valsecchi (Ita), de Vries (Ned), Xue (Chn)
Referee: I. Maric (Srb).
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