The second day of competition has today welcomed the first matchday of Group A. Same as yesterday, the event was streamed worldwide in the eFootball™ official YouTube and Facebook channels with Semra Hunter as host, Harry Channon as commentator and Stewart Westley ”Wezza” as pundit.
It was a spectacular round of fixtures that saw FC Barcelona's The PALMA stratospheric performance take them to the top of the table with 10 points, but not that far behind their pursuers AS Roma and Galatasaray SK. The Blaugrana squad won four of the six games played and drew another, while AS Roma took six points after winning two games with only one game played. Tied on six points are Galatasaray SK, who were saved from debacle by a strong performance from captain Mucahit21. At the bottom of the table is Arsenal FC, whose only game played today was a win and a draw.
(+3) GALATASARAY SK - AS ROMA (+6)
GAME 1: DJOLE 1 - 2 ASR_STIFFLER
It was the first time in the competition for both teams and also for their players, who were making their debut in the competition today. ASR_Stiffler started off strong, attacking the Turkish defence, but soon Djole made up ground and reached their opponents' goal more often. The game remained very even until half-time, with no goals scored. Early in the second half, ASR_Stiffler took the lead with a penalty. Djole pulled one back in the 79th minute with a one-on-one finish in front of the keeper after a lovely through ball. It looked like the game would die with the score at 1-1, but ASR_Stiffler was cool enough to make a last-ditch attack and after a wall-passing move, he sealed the victory for AS Roma in the last minute of the game. A painful defeat for Djole in his first game and the first three points were going to Roman territory.
GAME 2: KEPA_PFC 1 - 4 ASR_URMA43
The second game of the clash between Galatasaray SK and AS Roma pitted the recent eEuro21 champion Kepa_PFC against the captain of the Italian team, ASR_Urma43. The Serbian Kepa_PFC was under pressure to cut AS Roma's lead from the first match, but he was up against an ASR_Urma43 who had already shown signs of being a good player last year. The game started with Urma's first shot hitting the post in the 6th minute. Urma did not let up and was rewarded for his early efforts with a 12th minute opener that was somewhat unfortunate for Kepa. In the 27th minute, with a nice sequence of moves the Romanian player scored the second, but the established lead was soon cut by Kepa_PFC's 1-2 in the 36th minute. Shortly after, Kepa missed a clear opportunity with striker Gomis and ended up paying for it later, as close to half-time, Urma scored the hat-trick for the Romans in the 45+2 minute thanks to a series of quick triangulations in the box that left the striker alone in front of the goalkeeper. After the break, the 1-3 lead was short-lived as Urma scored the fourth for the Giallorossi, and with a three-goal deficit, the Turkish side gradually lost hope. Kepa_PFC tried to palliate the heavy defeat with unsuccessful attacks, but finally the match ended 1-4 and the Turkish team received their second defeat, while ASR_Urma43 got another 3 points for the Italians.
GAME 3: MUCAHIT21 2 - 1 GAGLIARDO28
Turkey's Muchahit21 and former Celtic FC player Gagliardo28 completed the third and final game between the Turks and the Romans. AS Roma had already won 6 points so far, so Mucahit21 had to prove his worth as captain to rescue the last 3 points at stake. He did just that, as in the 8th minute he scored the first goal after a great vertical pass, opening a gap that was extended in the 30th minute when he made the 2-0 for the Turks with a beautiful finish. Perhaps then something awoke in Gagliardo28 to respond with the first goal for the Romans just 5 minutes later and with 1-2 the match went to the break. In the second half, the Giallorossi tried several times for an equaliser, but were unsuccessful and the match ended with the same score as at half-time, 1-2 with the only win of the match going to Galatasaray SK.
Asked about the three matches, Mucahit21 acknowledged that "It's not exactly the start we wanted but at least we got 3 points. In the first game, I think Djole deserved a bit more. But we have 3 more games, 9 points more to collect, [...] and we will try to do it better against Barcelona". For his part, a disappointed Gagliardo28 said he wanted to "win the next match and I'll play better and train more with my teammates".
(+4) FC BARCELONA VS ARSENAL FC (+4)
GAME 1: THE PALMA 1 - 7 BARBOZA
The first match between FC Barcelona and Arsenal FC pitted two heavyweights against each other, THE PALMA for Barcelona and Barboza for the Gunners. It was expected to be an evenly matched game but THE PALMA quickly surprised by scoring the first two goals with Dembelé in the 9th and 13th minute. This must have surprised Barboza who didn't seem to know how to stop the Spanish player's attacks. THE PALMA was in a state of grace and in the 31st minute he scored the quickest hat-trick so far in the tournament. To round off a dreaming first half, almost at half-time THE PALMA made it 4-0 in the 45+2 minute with a mesmerizing free-kick that flew into the top corner and the goalkeeper could do nothing to stop it. 4-0 at half-time and surely Barboza must have been disappointed and confused at such a heavy scoreline. Barboza made a series of changes in the second half that seemed to restore some stability to his team and even forces. The London side held on until the 79th minute when THE PALMA scored their fifth. Barboza slightly reduced the deficit with a goal in the 81st minute, but the 5-1 scoreline was not to remain there. The last 10 minutes would be even more painful for Barboza, as in the 84th minute and 90+1 THE PALMA would close out a debut to mark with two more goals, taking him to the top of the scoring charts with 7 goals in just one game and tying momentarily with FC Bayern's FCB_Mestre. Hands down for a shining star like THE PALMA and a disappointing start for Barboza who will have a chance to pick himself up next weekend during matchday 2.
GAME 2: ALEXR 0 - 0 S-VENOM
With the hangover from FC Barcelona's surprisingly big 7-1 win in the first match, we arrived at a match that posed an interesting scenario: the youngest player in the competition, Barça's ALEXR, only 18 years old, against an experienced S-Venom, the oldest player in the tournament. The match started very evenly and the goalless draw lasted until half-time. Both players proved to be at a high level and very evenly matched with each other. In the second half Barça's young Spaniard had the chance to open the scoring in the 57th minute but the Arsenal goalkeeper prevented it with a great save. Gradually the young player was taking control of the game and S-Venom adopted a more defensive tactic. In the 83rd minute, ALEXR again found himself with a double chance to score the first, but once again he missed the target thanks to the Gunner goalkeeper's saving efforts. The game languished and ended goalless to the disappointment of the spectators who had seen a goal fest in the previous game. The points were shared in a very even match and everything was still open for the third match between the Catalans and the British.
GAME 3: ROKSA 1 - 2 INDOMINATOR
The second match of the day would be closed by the recent eEuro21 champion with Serbia, ROKSA, and the captain of the Gunner team, INDOMINATOR. Barça's new signing for the new campaign came with an enviable track-record, but INDOMINATOR was not going to make things easy for him. The former AS Roma player started the scoring in the 25th minute with a beautiful chip that could become one of the best goals of the day. Despite conceding this first goal, INDOMINATOR did not get cold feet and made some good attacking moves that unfortunately for him did not pay off until the 71st minute, after a good combination of passes and a good finish near the post. With that equaliser ROKSA began to get a little anxious and INDOMINATOR made tactical changes in the 77th minute, opting to attack as a block, moving Nketiah back and leaving Martinelli as the lone striker. His strategy paid off in the 80th minute and just five minutes later the Dutch player secured the Gunner comeback with a goal after a killer pass in the 85th minute. A disarmed ROKSA watched helplessly how the game had been turned around in just 15 minutes and would have to see one more goal conceded in the 89th minute, the one that would close the scoreboard for Arsenal's 1-4 victory.
INDOMINATOR got the first win for the London team and a disappointed ROKSA started the tournament with a setback. Asked about the match INDOMINATOR said: "it was a very unlucky start, I was feeling quite comfortable from the start already and I knew I had to keep the ball from ROKSA because in my opinion he is the best European player of last years' PES". He also sent support for his teammate Barboza, who came out of the match against THE PALMA: "For Pedro is good to forget this match, we still have two matches left, and at least we got 1 point to give us confidence". For his part, ROKSA acknowledged the merit of his rival: "He knows how to play, he play better and he won".
(+6) GALATASARAY SK VS FC BARCELONA (+3)
GAME 1: KEPA_PFC 1 - 2 THE PALMA
Second match for both teams and it would be decisive for one of them. Galatasaray SK were coming from two defeats and a win against AS Roma and FC Barcelona had the chance to finish the day at the top of the league table after taking 4 points (1 win and a draw) from their previous matches against Arsenal FC. In particular, the players facing each other here had had different performances previously. THE PALMA were coming on like a rocket after their meteoric 7 goals against Barboza, while Kepa had come off a 1-4 defeat against ASR_Urma43. Given the above, THE PALMA were expected to be aggressive in attack, but the surprise came in the form of a goal for Galatasaray SK in the 36th minute, putting the lead on the scoreboard. So we got to the break with the 1-0, but soon THE PALMA got the draw with his eighth goal of the tournament in the 54th minute, putting him as the undisputed leader of the championship scorers. Little by little the Spanish player's confidence was growing and in the 75th minute THE PALMA were awarded a dubious penalty which it is unclear whether the foul happened over the line or outside the area. Barça converted the penalty and signed the comeback, which remained intact for the last quarter of the match, resulting in the 1-2 final score. THE PALMA thus confirmed himself as the best player of the day scoring 9 goals in only two games played and getting the first 3 points of the match between Turks and Catalans.
GAME 2: MUCAHIT21 3 - 1 ALEXR
Penultimate game of the day and FC Barcelona had already taken the lead on the overall scoreboard, taking the first 3 points of the match. Galatasaray SK were practically forced to win the next matches if they wanted to keep their chances of qualifying for the next matchday. Mucahit21 would once again stand out in front of the Turkish fans as the team's strongest player by winning the match against a young ALEXR who never stopped trying. Mucahit21 took the lead with two goals from Gomis in the 7th and 31st minute. The Turkish player later said in a press conference that "He (Gomis) is the best finisher in our team and he is very good in aerial play, so we try to get the best out of him". ALEXR pulled one back for the Culés with a brilliant header to bring him back into the game. Hope was short-lived because before half-time, in the 41st minute, Mucahit scored his hat-trick, his fifth of the tournament. On the return from the time-out ALEXR made deep attacks and had several chances to close the gap, but in the end the score ended 3-1. A day to learn a lot from for a promising ALEXR who have not started the tournament as well as they would have liked and 3 points to save a Galatasaray SK team in low hours that Mucahit21 is keeping afloat.
To Wezza's questions about the match, the Turkish captain replied: "I was between quick counter and long ball counter tactics before the game and I decided to go with the long ball counter. I think I can recommend this because the defenders are a bit slow so I think to keep a compact defense it's the better option. I try to be compact in defense and then try to play direct football and it worked".
GAME 3: DJOLE 1 - 6 ROKSA
The final match of the day would bring together two players coming off the losing run of their previous matches. Djole had opened the Turkish way in this tournament with an unfortunate last minute defeat against AS Roma's ASR_STIFFLER, while ROKSA had let INDOMINATOR turn around a match he had started winning. The Serbian had been far from happy with his debut performance in the competition, but things soon started to look up for him. In just 15 minutes ROKSA had already scored a hat-trick against Djole and in the 34th minute came the fourth. The debutant Djole was unable to contain ROKSA's powerful forwards with Dembelé and Aubameyang and the referee blew for half-time with the score at 0-4. In the second half, Djole pulled one back in the 59th minute, but ROKSA cut short any hopes of a comeback just a minute later. In the last half hour, there were hardly any Turkish approaches to the area and, already surrendered to a colossal ROKSA, Djole conceded the definitive 1-6 in the 87th minute. A resounding victory that put a smile back on ROKSA's face and catapulted him to second place in the scoring charts, behind his teammate THE PALMA and tied on 7 goals with FC Bayern's Spaniard FCB_Mestre. Asked after the match, ROKSA said: "I wanted to show everyone my style of play and I tried to play more aggressive. The goal in the first minutes helped me to a good start and put pressure on my opponent".
A new day full of goals that came to an end but leaves everything open for day two, which will be held on Saturday, June 18th, at the same time 13:00 CET and in the same place, the official eFootball™ Youtube channel. See you there!
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