Saturday, 14 June 2014

#WCOW14 :: Match Report, Silvermoon v Shado Pan

Before the game even officially began there was some controversy. Not a great way to close the last game of the most unfortunate of days. It all started with the riots on the streets of Stormwind, where people demanded to be payed for their work on the makeshift stadium. Stormwind Nobles, as is their tradition, refused, stating that the stadium is not yet finished. The situation did not go well. Builidngs were burning, stadium was shaking, and the last match of the day was about to get started. Once the mob calmed down, the game would begin.

That was the general plan, but it did not go that way. Silvermoon City coach, respected Matriarch of the Blood Knight Order, Lady Liadrin protested that the colours Shado Pan team was wearing, were too similar to the colours of her own team. Truth be told, Silvermoon was clad in red and gold, while Shado Pan wore peach and orange. After a number of strong protests from the sindorei side, how it is unforgivable for the hosts to not pay attention to what jersey should be worn, blood elves returned to their wardrobe to change in something else. They could not stand wearing similar colours as their opposing team. The pandaren watched all the fuss blood elves were making in bewildering astonishment, asking only when will be a lunch break.

After the fashion disaster was averted, and the blood elves reappeared wearing dark grey and crimson, the game could finally begin. Blood elves led by their captain Bachi played in extremely aggressive formation 4-2-3-1, while Shado Pan under the wisdom of Taran Zhu, their coach, opted for tried and tested defencive formation 4-5-1. This was to be the ultimate show of which is better, to attack or to defend. Both of the sides were certain they would be victorious, but at the end only one could win the game.

Blood elves had the height, pandaren had the girth on their side. Former were graceful and energetic, the latter were calm as still water, and fast as a moving glacier. As the referee's whistle opened the game Silvermoon went into attack. It was quite something to behold. Vranesh sent ball all the way back to goalkeeper, Inethven, from where they formed the penetration attack on the left side. They continued to poke holes in the pandaren defence until Zelanis managed to locate Bloodmourn in front of the Shado Pan goal. It was a nice pass, and had not Lao Chin intervened it would be a lead in the first minutes of the game.

Alas, Shado Pan started to move. Slowly. They passed the ball forward and tried to avoid fouling Silvermoon players. The difference in weight was more than obvious, and at the slightest chance, the blood elves would extort a foul. A stray pass was intercepted by Zenien on the midfield, who charged towards the goal, Bloodmourn was already waiting, and with their combined efforts they managed to outwit the Shado Pan goalkeeper. First blood went to Silvermoon.

From here on, it was only tougher. Pandarens bunkered up, and did not really care if blood elves had the ball. Their defence was as great wall of Pandaria. For almost entirety of the first half, blood elves tried to force through the impregnable wall but it was no use. Lady Liadrin requested the first substitution. She took Rathin out, and put in the game Sunblade. With that change, attacking midfielders Vranesh, Zelanis, and Sunblade were able to draw the Shado Pan defenders forward. A brilliant cross on the other side of the field, and Bachi found himself in front of the Shado Pan goal. Fortunately for Shado Pan Nurong intervened and sent the ball out.

Sindorei defenders moved forward to the enemy's penalty box. Bachi shot the ball from the corner where he found Vranesh. Vranesh sent a header toward the Shado Pan goal, but Lao Chin intervened in the last moment, and sent the ball flying away. It was no use, Sunblade was on the right place at the right time and with a spectacular left volley, he sent the ball in. Silvermoon took the lead of 2:0 at this point, and the first halftime was coming to inevitable end. Shado Pan all but defeated, the elves must have thought.

Their arrogance always was their downfall. As the second half started after short respite they were certain nothing can go wrong. Blood elves did not quite calculate that the only reason why pandaren did not attack was because of hunger. One cannot fight on an empty stomach. This was rectified during the break, and Shado Pan for the first time in the game moved their wall toward the Silvermoon's goal. Their short passes quickly started to unnerve the blood elves who felt helpless as they tried to take the ball from the opposition. Lady Liadrin started to shout from her designated spot on her players and what to do next. Silvermoon players started to actively tackle their opposition, but this opened their otherwise tight lines, and gave Lao Lang a chance for the first goal. Pandaren shot from a 35 meters distance, straight shot on the floor and scored.

This goal appeared to have sobered up the sindorei who were building castles to their own haughtiness up to that point. Bachi took the lead, and formalised an attack that once again involved an ingenious cross on the other side of the field where Sunblade caught with the ball and penetrated through Shado Pan defenders one after the other with his graceful dribbling and astonishing ball control. As he was about to shoot, he lost his balance as Tenwu tackled him from behind. The elves demanded a penalty shot, but referee gave yellow card to both Tenwu, and Sunblade who made demands to the referee. Silvermoon bench rose in protest, but the head referee Chromie was decided. As his was the final word, the game resumed.

Lady Liadrin replaced number 4, Sarithra with Alsudar the Bastion. It appeared she was decided to keep the current score until the end of the game. As Silvermoon forced a corner for their side, keeping the current score of 2:1 turned out impossible. As Bachi sent the ball to the penalty box, Bloodmourn made a header, scoring for the second time. Much thanks to the confusion of the defenders who somehow managed to bump into each other and failed to mark Bloodmourn properly. It is said that Bastion somehow managed to steal their attention just for a second, and that proved fatal.

As the game was coming to an end Shado Pan side lost their ardour, and only thing you could hear, was their stomachs demanding a fitting tribute. The game soon came to a close, and Silvermoon proved that attack is far superior defence than simply erecting the walls. Most of couch experts watching the game from the roofs of Stormwind agreed that in order to play a closed defence, you need aggressive counterattacks or speed to threaten the enemy. What we saw today was a mantid breach of the wall, or as Lady Liadrin would put it, Silvermoon proved once again their superiority.

You can watch and cheer for your favourite team on World Cup of Warcraft 14 over at Alt:ernative Chat, or on twitter under #WCOW14. The voting usually coincides with the start of the football matches in the alternative world.

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