Hercules continued it’s training season with two 90 minute matches in FootCoop tournament – held the fourth time so far. Tournament participants changed at the last minute when 2nd Division side Santa Claus suddenly dropped off. Promoted to the 3rd Division for 2016 season, AC Takinkääntäjät from Oulu, took the challenge and replaced Santa Claus.
In the first match Hercules faced 2nd Division OPS, whom had defeated 1st Division AC Oulu on the previous weekend. Strong and skillful pair, Titi Essomba and Michael Nzekwe, kept the Hercules defense on their toes for the whole match. Despite having a few good scoring chances, Hercules failed to deliver goal for the waiting audience. OPS on the other hand capitalized their chances scoring three goals, which two came from unnecessary mishaps in Hercules defense. Goals were scored by Abdul Sesay (20mins), Michael Nzekwe (26mins) and Titi Essomba (41mins) which meant the final score was 0-3 (0-3) to OPS. The game didn’t offer any spectacular football – both teams seemed to be taking their first steps in a full match with a new players still waiting to merge to the line-ups.
If OPS can keep all the players on a try-out, they will be hard to beat in the coming 2nd division season. Hercules on the other hand needs more training and especially match practice, although there were lots of positives thanks to coach Amokachi’s efforts in the training. Defending as a team is something which probably needs to be looked into. Strong opposition players couldn’t be controlled in timely manner before they were already in the scoring sector, so concentrating in defensive positioning would help enourmously.
On the second tournament day Hercules faced AC Takinkääntäjät (ACT) for the second time during the training season. This time it was ACT’s turn to win the match. In a slow tempo-ed match, Hercules didn’t get the engines running at any point, which left the door open for ACT to dictate the tempo and style of play. Final score 3-4 (0-2) didn’t not leave much open for discussion. ACT scored from team efforts while two of Hercules’ goals were score from a direct free-kicks by Arttu Haapala and Sami Karjalainen. ACT’s Juhani Lohimies lobbeb one in from 40 metres over Hercules’ Yrjänäinen. Other goalscorers were Vesa Verronen for Hercules and Jerry Björkberg twise and Juuso Haapala once for ACT.
All-in-all FootCoop tournament shows that Hercules has lots of work still left to do before being ready for the season kick-off against OPS. Pressing as a team has to work better and players need to get rid off losing the ball in the critical positions.
In the next match Hercules will face FC Kiisto away in Finnish FA Cup. The date for the match in not set yet, but the 4th round needs to be player before the half way of March. Stay tuned!