The Swiss went into the match against rivals Latini keen to continue their solid October form and came away 5-2 victors from a combination of calm defending, an energetic midfield, and fine finishing—with the latter being a key differentiator between the two sides.
This Swiss lined up in there all new, all white kit, thankfully largely to our new sponsor Netablity - voice video data communication.
After a weather delay, both teams were eager for the kickoff. Latini came out sharper with very clever movement up top and tight passing. Short of a keeper, the Swiss had turned to left-back stalwart Topher Stokkmo to man the goal. St. Stokkmo’s steady, if unorthodox, technique of relying on fingertip saves and the uprights to keep the opposition out of the goal left even the most vocal Latini and Swiss players speechless.
Surviving an early Latini barrage, the Swiss began to take control of the game, hitting their opponents on the counter and finding seams in their defense. The Swiss opened the scoring after clever midfield play released Norman Buerzle down the sideline. Buerzle bamboozled a Latini defender before crossing to Nikos Tsalkitsis, who calmly finished with a well-taken, left-footed strike.
Latini quickly equalized after the restart from a quick counter. Simone “I Polmoni di Lugano” Bobbia constructively criticized his wanderlust-prone teammate Dan Patton for his wayward marking in the build up to the goal.
The Swiss would soon regain the lead after Michel Kaiser showed quick feet to redirect a superbly curled Philippe Preite free kick into the back of the Latini net. Full of confidence, the Swiss piled pressure on the Latini defence and earned a third goal. Tim Walter cleverly switched the field, picking out Buerzle, who lofted a cross into the Latini box that Andreas Zehnder buried with a towering header before the break.
Latini were dangerous throughout the first half, and the Swiss knew they would have to focus on keeping possession and being smarter in picking up the opposition’s runs to protect their lead. The Swiss started the second half in the best way possible. Off the kickoff, Mark Stead sliced open the Latini defence with a through ball to an onrushing Buerzle who rounded the keeper and finished from a tight angle.
At 4-1, the Swiss were content to focus on defending their lead and not letting Latini back into the game. After a red card for a Latini defender and some strong challenges, the game quieted down, physically and audibly. Michel Kaiser then capped a fine midfield performance by completing his brace with some nice fast paced passing through the midfield and then as cool as the weather slotted home in the bottom right hand corner. Latini kept fighting and their tricky left winger scored their second goal of the game with a well-taken effort into the lower corner of the goal. Darkness came early and 90 minutes had been completed, then the game ended.
Thanks to Latini who displayed good football throughout the match and fought until the final whistle. A fine Swiss display, but the score line does not reflect Latini’s quality and the Swiss will need another top-level performance to take three points in the return leg.
The referees put in about as good as a performance as one could hope in a typical Swiss-Latini match full of tigerish challenges, off-color banter, and cries of injustice. Both teams and the refs are to be congratulated for the rare cosmo league feat of completing a game with no foul throws.
A referee's decision to hand out a red card is always a hard choice that he has to make, but there is no need for afters including raising your hand at another player, this has never had a place in football and never should.
Man of the match for Latini is #5, for always showing a fighting spirt and playing till the final whistle.