Raptors 4-5 Tooting Bec | Prague Raptors
The first ever Raptors game was a thrilling 9-goal encounter that saw the visitors, Tooting Bec FC, eventually come out on top.
Prepartions for the game began a few weeks ago, with the final squad announcement made by Head Coach Jon Davies on the Thursday before the game. A late injury to Alberto Pellegrini opened the door for Israeli Ilan Nemirovski to join the squad for the game. Max Gardie & Dean Da Lança also missed out through injury whilst Badma Balzhinimaev & Tim Sommer were unavaible for the game.
The Raptors lined up in the first half in their pressing 4-2-3-1 formation with Alex Aionitoaei leading the line, attacking midfielders Abdallah Essa, Lucian Zavioanu & Saleh Mohammed behind him. Muhaab Yassien and captain Ionel David took the holding midfield positons with Marin Marian, Carlos Martín, Seve Burlefinger & Florian Jeunet making up the back four. Dutch keeper Arij Oosterling was between the sticks.
Tooting Bec started off brightly and scored the first goal in the third minute following an unfortunate error from Raptors keeper Oosterling. Tooting Bec's lead was doubled on the 23rd minute.
The game swayed back and forth through the first half but the Raptors struggled to break down the Tooting defence and most of their shots came from outside of the box. The Raptors were pressing hard against a very fit side and had a couple of long range efforts, first from Ionel David then Muhaab Yassien.
The best Raptors chance of the half fell to Mujtaba Alnakhli who was unable to keep the ball down from 10 yards out.
Head Coach Davies rallied the troops at half time and the Raptors came out with increased intensity - now pressing further up the pitch - leading to the Raptors first ever goal, scored by Muhaab Yassien and met with huge cheers from the bench!
The Raptors now had a build up of confidence and continued to push forward, Abdallah Essa was brought down - although there was some debate whether it was in the box - with the spot kick put away calmly by Lucian Zavioanu to bring the game level on the 59th minute.
It got even better for the Raptors a few minutes later when a Essa got on the score sheet himself at the end of a goalmouth scramble - the Raptors taking the lead for the first time in the match.
The 20 minutes in which the 3 goals the Raptors scored was high-intense, pressing football - exactly what Head Coach Jon Davies and his team are trying to get out of the players.
Tooting then turned it up a few gears and managed to score 3 goals in in 5 minutes to not only re-take the lead but repeat their 2 goal advantage. The best of the goals was the equaliser following some nice work down the left-hand side of the pitch.
In the closing minutes the Raptors pulled another goal back following good work from Czech player Jiří Toman to set-up Ghass Hammami for his first ever Raptors goal.
The game ended 5-4 to Tooting Bec but even in defeat the Raptors got a lot of positives out of the game. We would like to thank our great opponents and hope to meet them in England for a replay in the future!
Raptors: Arij Oosterling, Marin Marian, Carlos Martín, Seve Burlefinger, Florian Jeunet, Iriah Okaisabor , Antuan Guzman Ionel David, Muhaab Yassien, Mujtaba Alnakhli, Florian Lafitte, Ilan Nemirovski, Abdallah Essa, Lucian Zavioanu, Saleh Mohammed, Ghass Hammami, Jiří Toman, Alex Aionitoaei
Head Coach - Jon Davies
Tooting Bec FC: Jamie Anderson, Gareth Brown, Elliot Domm, Tom Scriven, Emrys Haugen, Max Sztybes, Ash Patel, Rudy Fernando, Joe Spencer, Nick Thompson, Chris Thurbon, Jack Martin, Nigel Fox, Martin Allison, Kieran Patel, Alister Simpson, James Parsons
Manager - Matt Hancocks