GC Herren 1: Deserved points after a hard fight in Luzern

Luzerner SC - Grasshoppers Club Zürich --- 1:2

After the last-minute draw against Championship leader Rot-Weiss Wettingen on the previous weekend, GC's first men's team was traveling to Luzern to face a close competitor for one of the precious spots for this year's semifinals. To this end, the team was aware of the tremendous importance of this game in order to take a big step towards reaching this goal. However, after final tactical arrangements and fine-tunings we had to face a first setback already during the warm-up as captain and structural brain Fabian Steiner was hit unfortunately on his forehead by a distinct shot attempt; an accident that led to a short hospital stay and one player down even before the start of the game. Nevertheless, we are happy to report that he recovered quickly and that he will remember to use his stick during future attacks.

Nevertheless, due to the strong GC squad, this loss could be well compensated and the hoppers started ambitiously into the first quarter. Quick turnarounds especially through a committed midfield and a well-organized defense resulted in several goal chances from the beginning. Unfortunately, without any goals despite various shot attempts. Even a foul and resulting penalty stroke could not be converted, as a strong save by the gambling Lucerne goalkeeper denied our flick. An especially unfortunate situation, as the ball was rolling towards the empty goal while the umpire awarded the stroke instead. It should not be the only situation during which the officials put themselves in the game focus on this day. Nevertheless, GC remained calm and created additional dangerous attacks, which finally resulted in a first short corner. A missed injection landed at replacement and retired captain Roman Richner, who wholeheartedly strikes the ball and scores; a lucky but highly deserved goal. This lead seemed to motivate the home side, who now also were able to penetrate the opponents' D. Luckily though, a deflection and open shot could both be defused by the GC defense until finally, the half-time whistle allowed us to take a deep breath. Coach Facundo Quiroga reminded the team to remain calm and focused even under increasing pressure from the opponent. A message that would become important during the final minutes of the game.

The second half started and it was again GC with a strong push in the attack. One of them resulted in the second short corner of the game. A well-executed flick by Lars Bamberg finds the back of the goal and puts GC into cheer. However, only for a few seconds as the officials to the surprise of everyone on and next to the pitch disallow the goal due to a supposed ball stop inside of the D. Heavy complaints by the entire team and plenty of fans on the sideline cannot change the ruling and the score remains 1:0. The Hoppers remain ambitious and then finally, after a few more minutes, the highly deserved second goal is finally awarded. A strong pass from Roman Richner finds Patrick Krüsi in front of the goal who skillfully deflects the ball past the goalkeeper into the net. The team and bench fall into celebration and the referees also do not intervene this time.

However, against expectations, this second goal was not able to calm down the game. On the contrary, the last quarter sees an increasing pressure by the home side resulting in several short corners and dangerous attacks. After various confusion and waiting times caused by the officials, it is finally Lucerne who scores their first goal of the game. A first short corner flick is saved by the GC goalkeeper Fabian Starsich but bounces back to an attacker who skillfully puts the ball with the backhand into the back of the net in a rebound. New score: 1:2 and 8 minutes to go. The away side is desperately trying to find structure in their defense and aiming to keep ball possession in their attack. Luckily, various unnecessary individual mistakes caused by nervousness do not lead to any proper further danger for the home team and the hoppers can sustain the pressure until the final whistle.

The GC squad secures three highly important points in a difficult away game. We were able to control a hard fighting Lucerne team throughout most of the match but definitely need to improve on goal scoring and focus during increased pressure periods. Head coach Facundo Quiroga will draw necessary conclusions from this game in order to fully use the upcoming two weeks to prepare the team in the best possible way for the doubleheader in two weeks facing the second team of Rot-Weiss Wettingen away (Saturday, 14:00) and HC Olten at home (Sunday, time to be communicated).

We thank all fans who made their way to Lucerne and are hoping for further support soon!


GC Players:
Fabian Starsich (TW), Philip Nitsch (TW), Robert Keitel, Constantin Scheuer, Max Oswald, Hein van der Weide, Roman Richner (C), Fabian Steiner (injured during warm-up), Lucas Harte, Benjamin Eddy, Lucho Ferrario, David Roegiers, Artur von Ruffer, Patrick Krüsi, Lars Bamberg, Fabio Landtwing

Goals: Roman Richner, Patrick Krüsi

Coach: Facundo Quiroga

MOTM: Lars Bamberg, Lucas Harte, Roman Richner, Fabian Steiner