2018 4chan Winter Cup Final
Route to the final
|/co/||2–1||Round of 16||/int/||1(5)–1(3)|
Kickoff was immediately followed by a long pass to the wing culminating in a cross to >rape, who then backheeled to Best Pony and forced Madokami to dive and block a solid shot. For the next twenty minutes of play, /mlp/ then proceeded to control possession, playing a consistent, cross-oriented gameplan: they would isolate and cut down /u/ in the midfield, then cross to Best Pony or >rape in the center -- only to be frustrated by saves and shots gone wide. It didn't take long for tactical changes to be made, as /u/, tired of being trapped in their own half and looking ineffective across the midline, called a timeout a short three minutes after one could first legally be initiated.
With /u/ switching to a more possession-oriented strategy and tightening their defense, play continued more evenly. The next few minutes were marked by near-total skipping of the midfield, as both teams began to engage in long volleys across the pitch. One such mortar by Feito-chan close to the center was headed down by Akkarin, bouncing to Homucifer's feet where a quick and powerful knuckle shot then sunk into the net, putting /u/ up 1-0. At restart, the same style of play from after /u/'s tactical switch would persist, but with a minor switch: /mlp/ opted to go for a fast, counter-based attack. It didn't take long for this to get results, as an open >rape collected a throughball ahead of only two /u/ defenders back, and then slotted a curler from the edge of the box to finally beat Madokami and tie the game 1-1.
The resulting switch to /u/'s original tactics would set the scene for most of the rest of the match, as both teams began to chase each other's adjustments. However, not much would occur to close out, as one final attempt was caught by The Burdened for an even match at the half.
Play restarted with /u/ building up from deep within their line, leading to a frustrated Akkarin in the center tripped by Horsefucker (who proceeded to trip as well), with the ball eventually flying back up to the midline. Clear chances became few and far between as /u/ consistently began to steal the ball out of /mlp/'s hands as they reached the box, but the former would again seem to be trapped in their own half as the ponies began to lay siege. However, as /mlp/'s offense seemed to become more aggressive, and the more /u/'s offense seemed to decay for it, an opportunity arose as Faggot Deer slid Homucifer off the ball at the touchline. The resulting booking allowed /u/ a free kick which was controlled by Homucifer outside the box and popped through the /mlp/ defenders collapsing on her -- allowing Purest Form of Love to challenge The Burdened one-on-one, forcing them on the ground with one shot and tapping in the rebound to make it 2-1 for /u/ late.
/mlp/ had little time left, and on concession they elected to amplify the aggressive play by gegenpressing for the ball. While an open Akkarin shortly after nearly sealed the game with no one ahead of her, it was not to be as she slowed down just long enough for Horsefucker to steal the ball away from her and the /mlp/ defenders to catch up. On the subsequent counter, Wow! Glimmer started a series of crosses down into the box that led to a Twilight shot bouncing off the post, which was followed up by Tracy to even the game 2-2. The game became scrappier and scrappier as /u/ used their concession change to follow /mlp/'s lead and gegenpress: both sides would, in the lead-up to the extra-time pause, be booked twice more for aggressive play.
The ball was stolen immediately from /mlp/ at the beginning of ET and remained in their possession until Purest Form of Love found open space behind /mlp/ defenders, finding a clean shot past The Burdened even as two of them narrowed the shot window in front. As exhaustion set in, /u/ would for the first time claim the majority of chances, and it seemed that /mlp/ could no longer find the strength to convert as even >rape was stopped late by one defender who he initially was able to beat. However, with zero minutes allotted for stoppage and /u/ seeming all but the winner, /mlp/ converged onto the /u/ box for one final play -- miraculously finding the ball at Twilight's feet for a sideways kick at the death, tying the game once more and sending an Elite final to penalties for the first time.
Penalties began with both teams trading shots -- many of them flying straight into the net as the goalkeepers made ill-advised dives, or entering as slow rollers when the keeper moved the other way. The kicks continued blow-for-blow into sudden death, neither team willing to give up a shot until, on /mlp/'s tenth shot, Hi Anon! blundered the shot and passed it directly into the hands of Madokami. As the tension surged, Science Babies would then fire a high shot past The Burdened, who reacted too slow to even jump -- and sunk it, denying /mlp/ the dreaded third star, and earning /u/, after two previous trips to the Final, their first.
|Stadium: Konami Stadium||4 March 2018, 21:40 UTC||Attendance: 3389|
Purest Form of Love 79', 94'
| 41' >rape|
120+2' Princess Twilight
|Purest Form of Love
Low Impact Consensual Cuddling
Let's Kill Applejack
Only on the Hub
Man of the Match: