Our Cup Runneth Over Expectations!
In what was surely the biggest match in our club’s history, the Bellevue (pronounced ‘Bell-view’) Barrage hosted Pacific Premier heavyweights Bondi 1893 (Team ID: 418403) in the fourth round of the Oceanic Cup. (Match ID: 525916167)
Sixty thousand fans flocked to The Armoury to see the highly fancied Division One team strut their stuff against the well supported, but poorly backed home-grown squad.
The neutrals were not disappointed, as both managers named attacking 2-5-3 lineups, Bellevue going so far as to instruct their team to ‘play creatively’ in an attempt to steal a march on their more fancied opposition.
Expectations among Bellevue fans were low. These expectations appeared justified when Bondi midfielder Jiří Bendák burst through the Barrage defence and converted with a spectacular piece of skill in the 29th minute.
A rout was on the cards as Kazakh national Kadyrzhan “Mad Dog” Sugraliev exploited a loss of concentration in the very next passage of play – punishing the Bellevue Central Defence with a cannonball of a shot into the top right corner – 0-2!
As both sides headed into the change rooms at half time, Bondi having also held the majority of possession, the game appeared all but lost.
After all, Bondi are three-time winners of the Oceanic Cup. And Four-time winners of the Pacific Premier, one of the most competitive top-flight leagues in the world.
Here is Bellevue’s prize tally so far;
The Bellevue’s Bugle’s Gilbert Barron was calling the match for a local TV affiliate when the teams resumed play.
“Van Cao clears the ball from Central Defence, controlled on the chest by May. May feeds Tuqiri, who plays a DYNAMITE ball through onto the feet of the onrushing Akhade. He gathers, strikes- GOOOOAL! Bellevue pull one back in the 56th minute.”
More drama was to erupt as Barrage central midfielder David May, this time on the receiving end of an excellent passing chain – blew the game open in the 68th minute with a cool finish that defied all talent and probability.
Inconceivably, Bellevue had drawn level!
This prompted the Bondi Manager DrLot to make two quick substitutes, Central Forward Carlo Bigagli making way for Dario Bolender and Right Winger Sammy Phillips replacing Dirk Dogan. These changes however, didn’t change the score as the minutes ticked away.
“The Barrage fans are going nuts- the neutrals are going nuts- and we’re going nowhere – it’s extra time!”
By this stage, other managers and media outlets in the Oceanic region were taking notice.
Central Defender and Captain, Co Van Cao attemtpted to take matters into his own hands, charging into the box as part of another desperate attack. The box was overloaded as the two Bondi defenders tried to mark the four Bellevue attackers when…
Van Cao was down, clutching his leg, Bondi Defender Leone Musumeci looking bemused, then horrified as the 84 year old (I’m not making this up, player ID: 7833676) Swedish Referee Elliot Wallkvist pointed to the spot – Penalty!
As the homegrown talisman placed the ball – Forward Cody Lancaster made a quick run to the sidelines to receive instructions.
Van Cao made no mistake, blasting the ball into the bottom left – sending Oceania into overdrive.
“So much credit has to go to the players. Every player on tonight’s team was a graduate of the Bellevue Battery Youth Academy. They were playing in front of their families and their fans.
The belief in the squad is amazing – they have so much heart!”
The intimidating atmosphere in the Bellevue stadium was also given due credit.
“60,000 people for a midweek game is unbelieveable, and will ensure this academy stays open for years to come. We can’t wait for next week”
“Who are we facing next week?”