Sunday, November 30, 2014

Lucky Phoenix

A 5-1 win against Melbourne City is a respectable enough achievement, but it conceals Phoenix's incredible luck that they were not two or three goals down in the first half hour of the game. The Phoenix had trouble containing City's attacks and two or three times City just narrowly missed scoring. A near miss is a miss, it doesn't count. What did count was Phoenix's opportunistic first goal. That goal changed the whole tenor of the game. It fired up the Phoenix players, enhanced their self-confidence, elevated the individual skills of players into a coordinated team effort. From that point on victory was within their grasp, while Melbourne City went to pieces, their often brilliant attacking players were left out on a limb with insufficient back-up. Similar things happened to Phoenix in the previous two games, where they conceded a goal and could not regain their composure. Football is a mind game as much as a game of physical stamina and skill. It is hard to develop the attitude that the All Blacks have mastered, that you fight until the final whistle, you don't give in, you have the self-belief that winning the game is your entitlement. Let's hope that with this emphatic win against a very good team, the roller-coaster ride of the Phoenix is over and the team will approach every game as theirs for the winning, that they have to strive for every ball, move forward, attack and make the most of every goal scoring opportunity that comes their way.