Players:

Jorg Inning
Sam Ross Garrett Parker Chris Johnson Dammy Olubokun
Ricardo Garcia Dave Sheppard Vitaly Klopot Pejman Taghavi
Armand Guri Sigve Pedersen

Substitutes:

Scored goals:

  1. Armand Guri
  2. Armand Guri
  3. Jorg Inning

Report

Partisan headed out to the friendly confines of Sterboholy on a lovely Saturday afternoon to take on Deportivo Estudiantil. Nothing was known but the name of the opposition, which some speculated might be a witty pseudonym for any old run-of-the-mill English team. But it was soon discovered that they were in fact multinational outfit with several South and Central American countries well represented, maybe even overrepresented. So much so that it looked as if they might have been content to have an intrasquad scrimmage on their own with their surfeit of players, but once the dust settled there were only 17 of them. Only. Game on and Partisan were on the back foot and 1-0 down after just 10 minutes. An uncharacteristic error in judgment from the normally sure-footed Olubokun allowed one of their Costa Rican strikers to pick his pocket and cleverly lob Inning. It would have been two not long after if not for an inspirational double save from the big German keeper. Another failure to clear the ball, this time from the right back gifted a golden opportunity to Estudiantil, but they were denied from point blank range, and then the second and the more impressive of the two saves saw Inning backpedal and extend himself to get a firm hand on the ball and parry it over the crossbar for a corner. A critical juncture in the game no doubt. Partisan now knew they had a game on their hands, but they still weren't able to do much about it, and the first twenty minutes had gone without any real pressure in the Deportivo half. The first round of substitutions saw captain Alexander into the midfield for Klopot and Kieran, (who's initial plan was to act only as an emergency sub) sensing his club floundering and missing his imposing presence enter on the right for Ricardo. He almost had another super-sub, immediate impact like he did in the welsh game the other week, expertly taking down a crossfield pass and teeing up a half volley for himself on that favorite left peg of his from about 35 yards, but the shot dipped and swerved wide of the goal. Partisan had now finally settled into their passing, and a good buildup down the left side, several players involved, landed Guri with room to shoot from a few yards outside the box. He put a good foot through the ball and it took a wicked deflection and looped into the net. 1-1 and Partisan were right back in it. Not long after, another smart buildup saw partisan carving through the defense this time with Pederson being the benefactor and finishing well inside the box. It was another top performance from the Norwegian and the goal was a deserved reward for the plentitude of kicks he would receive throughout this course of this match. It might have been three before halftime, if Olubokun could have kept his free header down from a pinpoint Sheppard corner but it instead whizzed just over the bar. Half Time: Partisan 2 - 1 Deportivo Second half subs saw Ricardo back in, this time on the left flank and Klopot back into center-mid. About ten minutes in Partisan won a free kick inside the Estudiantil half. Johnson would put the ball on a dime for Klopot, who stood up well at the back post, to head back across the goal mouth where Guri could easily slot it home and give Partisan a commanding 3-1 lead. Without the same possession they enjoyed in the first half, Estudiantil started to get frustrated and throw more players forward. Sheppard re-entered for the last round of substitutions into the midfield sliding Klopot back to left back along with Taghavi, this time in a more central role, where he able to have more of an influence on the game. It was Taghavi's through ball that caught Depor on the counter-attack that played Guri in behind the defense with only the keeper to beat. The Albanian did well to keep his head and calmly dispatch the ball into the net past the onrushing keeper collecting his hat-trick and essentially putting to rest any hopes Deportivo might have had for a comeback. The second half saw a much more settled Partisan dictate the flow of the game from start to finish. Much of this had to do with the backbone of the squad. In football you have to be solid down the middle of the park: keeper, center-back, center-mid, and striker. Partisan had all the requisite parts on this day with Inning doing everything that was required of him and much more. Garrett Parker, who has been the cornerstone of the Partisan defense since joining, had another domineering performance at the back. Coupled with Sheppard, whose willingness to win back the ball was as evident as ever in this tie, and Guri, whose goals spoke for themselves, all made the job of those around them that much easier with their play on this occasion. But the headlines weren't done coming because it's not every day that a goalie ends up on the score sheet. After another routine collection from Inning, what started out as a normal punt turned into the play of the day after it took a wicked Rafa Nadal-like topspin bounce on the edge of the Depor area. The keeper was in trouble from the moment the wind carried the ball over his defenders and he did make a valiant effort to keep it out, but in the end he looked a bit foolish (how are you not going to look foolish when the keeper scores?) as he could only tip the ball into the roof of his own net. Somebody put it on YouTube. 5-1 in the end was a deserved result for the second half offensive onslaught, and Inning's goal was the perfect way to wrap up another Saturday afternoon win for Partisan.