Game 21: Panjab 3.3 Cascadia (Conifa World Football Cup) 09.06.18
After last week’s very enjoyable games I decided to take in one of the final day fixtures. With Conifa, teams get to play in placement games after the group stages. Panjab and Cascadia had qualified for the 5/6 playoff games after losing in the quarter finals and winning the 5/8 placement games by several goals to nil. Panjab represent the Punjabi speaking population around the world while Cascadia represent the states of Oregon, Washington in the North West of the USA and British Columbia in Canada. This game was played at Fisher’s St Paul’s Sports Ground which has a clear view across towards Canary Wharf and the Docklands.
This was the second game at the ground today and kick off was delayed due to a penalty shootout between Tibet and United Koreans in Japan which saw United Koreans take 11th place in the tournament. There was a mix up with the Cascadia kit and they played the first half wearing fluorescent bibs with numbers in biro on the back to avoid a kit clash. In the second half they changed into their normal away kit with white shirts. Cascadia had some former MLS and UK based players in their team and played some good passing football. Panjab took the lead slightly against the run of play after fifteen minutes when the ball was cut back to the edge of the area and a great shot beat the Cascadia keeper. Seven minutes later and it was 2.0 when an unmarked player picked up a great through ball and shot the ball past the keeper before the defence could get back to cover. On the half hour it looked like game over for Cascadia as they conceded a third, the ball slotted past the keeper from close range. They continued to press for a goal and were unlucky to see the ball fly over the bar from a header with the keeper beaten. Moments later Panjab missed a sitter with only the keeper to beat and this was a turning point in the match. Just before half time Cascadia pulled a goal back with a header from a corner that bounced down and in.
Cascadia continued the scoring at the start of the second half. The Panjab keeper parried a shot and two Cascadia players reacted the quickest. One passed to the other who didn’t miss the empty net. On the hour the game was level. A Cascadia player picked up the ball from a great through pass and scored. They almost added a fourth two minutes later but the referee disallowed the goal for offside. Panjab got back into the game and saw several chances cleared off the line or saved. The referee blew for time at the end of an exciting match and the teams got ready for a penalty shootout. The first four penalties were saved or came off the bar. The Panjab keeper had to be alert for the second Cascadia penalty as the ball continued to roll towards the goal after his save but he did well to stop it a second time. Each of the teams scored their next three penalties so it went to sudden death. Punjab scored and their keeper saved the sixth Cascadia penalty to give them the win.
One of the best games I’ve seen in a long time and a great way to finish the season. Hopefully it won’t be long until I can get to another Conifa match.