Both our U13s and U18s performed excellently at this weekend’s National Finals in Lousada:
The U13s showed great character in never giving up and fighting to the end in all 3 of their pool games, with nail-biting finishes in the games they won. Against Viso, they were trailing 0-2 until the 32nd minute in spite of having many more goal scoring chances, when finally they pulled out the stops and won their first game 3-2. Against CAMIR, they got a 32nd minute tip in from a well-worked passing move up the pitch and then defended their lead like tigers for the last 8 minutes. In the last pool game against Lousada, they eventually lost 6-3, but only after clawing it back to 5-3 after trailing 5-1 at the interval. The final saw a very tired young side lose 7-0, but to their credit they only let in 2 goals during the second half (after a goalie change).
It was just reward that 3 of their players were picked for the ‘Dream Team’ of 7 – Maarten Green, John Harrison and Vicente Mourão.
The U18s’ first game on Saturday against Lousada was a very even game, with lots of missed chances from both sides. In the second half Casuals scored from a penalty corner which ended a game that could have been a 4-4 draw, as a 1-0 win. The second game against Juventude was again a game with many chances for both teams. The first goal came half way into the second half from a bullet pass into the circle which took a deflection for a goal. Casuals then scored from a penalty corner and scored a third from close range in the final minutes, to end the game 3-0 and top the points table overnight.
In the decisive first of their return matches today, Casuals went ahead against Lousada after 15 minutes and, despite conceding an equaliser shortly afterwards, they went 2-1 up before half time. The second half saw some top, high intensity team hockey from Casuals and total dedication from their players. With two minutes to go, a Casuals player found himself one on one against the goalie but, after having managed to dribble past him, the angle was too narrow and his shot flew past the post. Casuals hung on until the final whistle, winning the game 2-1. Even a loss in their last game against Juventude made no difference to them claiming the National Champion’s trophy.
They also picked up prizes for ‘Best Goalkeeper’ – Gonçalo Brito, and ‘Best Player’ – Philipp Wenzel.