On October 18th GERAD’s soccer team, GCC, ended the regular season with a victory 7-3 against Super Seven, their big rivals of the previous season. With this last victory GCC ended in first position of the league with a perfect score of five victories in the five games of the regular season.
The first place in the league allowed GCC to play the playoffs (semifinals) for the soccer championship. GCC was to encounter United Nations on October 25th for a place in the tournament final. The match against United Nations was easier than expected and GCC qualified for the final of the championship after defeating United Nations with a final score of 6-2 for our GERAD footballers.
On November the 1st GCC was to play the final against Karpaty. The match would certainly be tough. GCC had previously encountered Karpaty twice this year and their players were young and energetic, but GCC relied on the two previous attempts on their greater experience and team concentration to defeat.
The day of the final all GCC players were ready for the occasion with the only exception of Andrew McCann who was out for a research trip. Gerardo and Anthony were fully recovered from their season injuries and GCC was determined to end with the curse of three consecutive playoff defeats in the last three tournaments.
The atmosphere prior to the match was excellent and GCC did not lack the support of other GERAD members who came to cheer for their fellow friends.
Since the starting whistle Karpaty were extremely rough and physical and kicked GCC players’ legs without penitence or restrain. Despite aggressive Karpaty play, GCC was the first to score by means of Anthony who found his way to the goal in the middle Karpaty defense after a shoot on the goal by Stefano.
Karpaty came back with more energy and intensity and little later they scored a goal on a counterattack. The score was even and the first half was far from being over.
A few seconds prior to half time Karpaty did a rough tackle foul on Kasper, GCC’s left defender, as he initiated an attack on GCC’s left side. The referee whistled and GCC had a clear occasion close to Karpaty’s goal. Pablo put the ball in play and Stefano jumped over the defense and touched the ball slightly with his head. It was enough to put the ball far from the reach of Karpaty´s goalkeeper. The score was 2-1 for GCC. The first half came to an end.
During the intermediate GCC players commented on the extreme roughness with which Karpaty’s players played. GCC’s players conjured themselves to resist.
The second half started, GCC had the control of the pace of the game and was more accurate in attack. Several minutes later Pablo intercepted a pass in the midfield and ran without opposition in front of Karpaty’s goalkeeper and scored. By then GCC led 3-1 and the tournament seemed closer than ever.
However, the match was far from being over and GCC’s players did not know that the worse surprise was yet to come. After the goal, Karpaty players continued to show a very rough play.
Only eight minutes prior to the completion of the match one of Karpaty’s players came to intercept Ricardo. He impacted without any self restrain. A second later Ricardo was crying with pain on the floor. Karpaty’s player had broken Ricardo’s leg. He broke Ricardo’s tibia and fibula but did not even apologize.
The rest of the tournament was meaningless. GCC won 3-1 and an ambulance came to pick Ricardo up.
Ricardo had surgery on his leg. He is doing much better now.
GCC in their fourth attempt managed to win the championship. It was, though, the saddest victory ever.
GCC wants to thank GERAD for their moral and financial support as well as Mouna, Hafedh, Maaike and Quentin for following GCC and coming to cheer for us.