Radek Simunek
Gerd Lemke Keyur Patel anonymous Colin Sablack
Doron Raviv Bart Burgmans Adrian Kieran Sampo Kemila Chris Johnson
Armand Guri


Scored goals:

  1. Sampo Kemila


Partisan's opening and ultimately closing game of the Moldava Cup, a tournament where we'd had a decent run the previous year until a shortage of players derailed our title bid on the second day. This time out we started in a group against teams from Bastia in Corsica, Milan, Italy, and Partizanske, Slovakia. We started the first game against Bastia with a slightly conservative 4-5-1 formation with Burgmans the holding midfielder behind Johnson and Kieran; Guri the lone frontman. After some early endeavour from our opponents Partisan took control of the game and Simunek's goal was rarely threatened. In the first half a good intercept by Kieran at the centre circle and storming run past three Bastia players ended in him hitting the ball just wide; Johnson volleyed wide; Burgmans shot wide - in short, we were dominating without really forcing their keeper into many saves. Comedy moment of the half came from Guri blasting a shot over the goal, the 5m-high netting behind the goal, and the 4-storey building behind that - from about 10 yards out. Johnson did his bit too, dragging a penalty wide. In the second half DaLanca came on for Child on the right wing, Szabo came on for Lemke, and Zhmako for Guri as we switched to a 4-4-2 formation and the flow of attacks continued. Szabo, man of the tournament last time out at this venue, was again at the heart of many of Partisan's best moves, while DaLanca was also linking up well. It was Kemila who broke the deadlock, however. A little frustrated at a lack of service out on the wing he took possession just outside the box, nutmegged Bastia's right winger, jinked past the right back and curled a shot-cum-cross over into the top right corner. It was no less than our dominance deserved. There were more chances after that, Zhmako with a header saved, but it ended 1-0. And that, unfortunately, was also the end of our tournament. We'd entered the veterans category as our squad is too old for the youth groups, where the players average about 20; at the same time we were too young on average for the veterans criteria - it didn't help that we'd lost four veterans to injury in the month prior to the tournament. So while we were winning our opening game, the Slovak team in our group - who clearly fancied themselves after winning their opener and didn't like the look of how we were controlling our game - put in a complaint to the tournament organisers. Half an hour of heated debate between Partisan and the organisers ensued after the match; we then waited another half hour while they debated behind closed doors before finally telling us we were out. It should be noted that we'd sent a team list with dates of birth two weeks prior to the tournament and they hadn't said anything then. We also offered to play our other two group games with no qualification, so that our players could enjoy some football, and our opponents who'd travelled from across Europe would also get more than an hour's pitch time - unfortunately that offer was refused by the organisers. Special mention to Radek for tirelessly arguing to keep us in the tournament, and to our captain Big Phil who came out for the day but never got to kick a ball.