Last Sunday, Antibarbari Ladies 1 narrowly defeated Bavel Ladies 2. In the first half of the match, the students played a solid game at the sports centre ‘Het Toepad’, putting them 2-0 ahead at halftime. Things got a bit more complicated in the second half, however: the visitors – from a small village near Breda – managed to score a goal, after which they started pushing for the equaliser. Which failed to materialise. The win puts Antibarbari at a total of six points in three games.
For the players of Antibarbari, the first home game of the season presented a good opportunity to show the crowd what they’ve learned since last season, when the Rotterdammers dropped out of the first division. With a new trainer and a number of new players, the fans are hoping for a brighter future for the team.
And hope springs eternal, because 15 minutes into the game, the spectators – who visibly enjoyed what could well be the last sunny spell in 2016’s rather wet summer – saw the home team push ahead with their first goal. Left-winger Cheralda Sno kept her head in a one-on-one face-off in front of the Bavel goal and put Antibarbari at 1-0.
Shortly after, Emmelie Dekker doubled the score, whacking the ball in from way beyond the penalty area. By the time the sturdy goalie of the opposing Brabant team noticed the ball, it had already hit the net.
Just before halftime, Antibarbari scored a third time. However, the ref didn’t award this goal – which came out of the most impressive attack of the entire match (a swift combination along the right-hand side of the pitch) – due to offside. In the meantime, the fanatical Antibarbari supporters – who clearly disagreed with the ref’s decision – were mainly interested in the strong moves of the new French addition Elle van der Cam.
Things started looking less rosy after the break. The sun disappeared behind the clouds and Antibarbari seemed to be tired. Bavel made the most of their first big opportunity: 2-1. And the visitors had hopes of levelling the score to the bitter end, with the home team fumbling a few good chances to land a third strike. Nevertheless, the Brabant team’s final push did not yield the desired points.
Question of morale
According to goal-scoring Cheralda Sno, Antibarbari’s fickle performance was mainly a question of morale: “If one of us botches something, the rest of the team lets themselves become affected too. It’s difficult for us to turn that corner and make an all-out effort again. This is something we need to work on.”
With the second goal of the match, team captain Emmelie Dekker (Medicine, 19) played a major part in the Rotterdammers’ victory. “I thought: let’s give it a nice hard kick. And fortunately, it landed in the right place.”
Dekker is happy with the way her team is working together this year: “Last year, there was a negative atmosphere in the team. This year, we’ve put more work into positive coaching. This has brought us closer and we are prepared to make more of an effort to help each other. We’re trying to involve everyone as much as possible in the team, including our international players.”