Antibarbari’s first men’s team put in a strong performance on Sunday. In a drenched ‘Het Toepad’ sports complex, ‘Het Vlaggenschip’ beat The Hague’s HVV 2-0.

Antibarbari started as the underdog. With nine points from three games in the Second Class D division, HVV was the in-form team and was four points clear of the Rotterdam squad in the table.

Sharp volley

There was no trace of the difference in points once the game got underway, however, as Antibarbari created two magnificent chances in the rain‑soaked opening phase. The HVV players then started to play with more drive and creativity and the opposing sides held each other in check.

Antibarbari’s Lars van Ockenburg broke the deadlock after 30 minutes of play with a sharp volley from close range. The Rotterdam squad created two more chances just before half-time but failed to convert them.

Missed penalty

Although the home team emerged from the dressing room with all guns blazing, the final outcome remained in the balance. HVV was still very much in the game until the 65th minute, when Antibarbari doubled its lead.

The weather worsened as the game progressed. To the delight of over 50 spectators, players slipping and sliding on the pitch, loose clumps of earth and a ball that was extremely difficult to predict and control were all part and parcel of a game in which the weather gods had clearly decided to take an interest.

A determined HVV continued to attack with opportunistic long passes, but no real chances were created until the 75th minute, when the referee awarded a soft penalty. The ball hit the crossbar and failed to find the back of the net. Antibarbari was not put under pressure after the missed penalty and the sun even broke through at the final whistle.

A tough match

Goal scorer Lars van Ockenburg said that it was a tough match. “Our pitch is not ideal even when the sun is shining, so all the rain made it heavy going. Still, the weather helped once we went ahead, since it’s easier to defend than it is to attack in such conditions.”

Van Ockenburg was modest about his first goal of the season. “The pass was fantastic. All I had to do was tap the ball in. We showed great character and fighting spirit today. It’s just a shame that we didn’t convert more chances and put the result beyond doubt earlier in the game.”

Antibarbari’s win means that it remains unbeaten and is now third in the Second Class D division with eight points from four games. No mean feat for a team that has just been promoted. Nevertheless, Van Ockenburg cautions against euphoria. “Maintaining a place in the division remains the main aim. Anything we achieve beyond that is a bonus.”