Marineris - Solis, Makara 22, 2007, m249
With each excruciating round of penalty shots, Comets Captain Liddell Bradley could be seen visibly pleading with the referee for a break.
And after each round, the referee calmly refuted Bradley’s request until finally after the 8th round of penalty shots, with no winner declared yet, both teams participated in a MAFL first – overtime break for life support recharge.
This mid-season rule amendment was implemented shortly after the 16 penalty shot overtime match between Wuji and Al’amal in Week 12 after players and team owners expressed their safety concerns to league officials around in-match suit capabilities.
During post-match interviews, Bradley shared highlights of his exchanges with the referee.
“I kept asking him, what are you waiting for Ref? He kept replying to me – the Optimum time. I told him, don’t listen to those robots of yours. They’re not the ones gasping for breath like the rest of us” said Bradley.
And the Comets and Dongji gasped for breath for eight rounds until the recharge and then went another two more rounds until finally a winner was declared. Ten rounds of penalty shots and a knock out for the Comets, provided by former Dong Ji Defender Marysa Waaijer. Comets 2 – 1 in PKOT over Dongji.
Bradley and the Dongji’s Markus Ekberg were the only other players to score in penalty kicks as a parade of misses marched through overtime.
“I think nerves got the better of everyone in overtime,” said Dongji manager Rain Chen. “Penalty kicks have been a problem for us all season”.
In regulation time, the Comets’ Samantha Park opened up scoring at the 17th minute. Park exchanged passes with Bradley, who chipped a superb ball over the Dongji defence back to Park who drilled it past Xue Su into the bottom left corner.
Ekberg would respond at the 45th minute tying up the match with a spectacular overhead kick from just inside the penalty area past the Comets’ goalkeeper Zaida Agre.
For Ekberg, it was his second goal in two games as he is taking advantage of the new playing opportunity given to him in the aftermath of all the Week 15 player movement. Ekberg’s rise give Dongji a glimmer of hope for the future while the Comets are focused on the short term.
A crucial home match for the Comets against the Immortals next week could determine the No. 2 seed in the playoffs and then a season finale with the Titans @ San Olympus to send a strong message to the other.