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Eagles win their second match of the tournament

Eagles 3-2 Sorokasari

Eagles' win in their first match ensured that they would face tougher opposition on Friday. Their opponents, Sorokasari, were well aware of Eagles' quick breaks and rapid pace.

After being pressed for a while, Eagles had a chance via a short corner midway through the first quarter that went just wide of the target. Within a minute, they gained another short corner as they pressed their opponents back, but a fine save by the keeper sent the ball over the bar. Just as Eagles were close to scoring, they received a blow when Julian Lopez received a hefty ten-minute yellow card, leaving Eagles without a key player for the remainder of the first quarter and the start of the second.

With the touchline asking for calm, Eagles slowed the pace somewhat. Sorokasari had won their first match and were, at the time, Eagles' closest rivals. Eagles held on to go into the first break scoreless but fortunate not to have conceded despite being a player down.

The Hungarian side tried to push forward at the start of the second quarter but were met with resistance from Eagles. Playing for time and preventing Sorokasari from getting any attempts at goal, Eagles grew in confidence. Julian Lopez returned to the field with a number of changes as Eagles sought to change the dynamics of the match. Within a minute, the keeper was forced to kick the ball out, conceding a short corner. Julian's attempt grazed past the far post.

Sorokasari found themselves backtracking and ended with a green card, giving Eagles the numerical advantage. Almost immediately, Eagles struck with Dobinson receiving in front of goal and securing the first goal with seven minutes left. However, the celebration was short-lived as the Hungarian side responded with a great goal within a minute. Borge made a good block moments later as Eagles found themselves backtracking, a mistake in a pass allowing the Hungarians back on the offensive.

With four minutes left before half-time, Eagles earned themselves a short corner. A confident hit by Julian Lopez sliced through the defense, making it 2-1 for Eagles. An injured Robert Guiling had to endure Eagles' continuing play and wait for the opponents to put the ball out after Eagles players tried to maintain their momentum forward.

Joe Borge showed his value with a keen eye, ensuring he was alert to a run behind the defense. Coming off his line and timing his challenge well, he blocked the run and then made a second save, kicking the ball away before the opponent could collect the rebound. Sorokasari was denied a chance to equalize after Eagles' defense had been caught out. Eagles responded by going on the offensive, but Lopez's drive to goal was too soft and easily stopped by the keeper this time. Eagles headed into the half-time break leading 2-1.

Eagles started the third quarter with confidence. However, the umpires' decisions did not win any friends in the stands as calls went against the hosts. Dobinson, alone against the keeper in a one-on-one, was denied by good goalkeeping. Eagles had moments of lost focus, with passes going astray and breaking their fluidity. Some assertive passing from veterans such as Da Silva brought the focus back, pinning their opponents back.

Eagles earned a short corner, but not before one of Sorokasari's players was replaced for a head injury after being struck by the ball, surprisingly with no medics entering the field. The short corner was well executed, with Thomas stopping the ball and Julian scoring his brace.

Eagles momentarily found themselves having to chase back without their front players running in support, raising calls from the back expressing frustration at the risk of being exposed. Sorokasari earned themselves a short corner with three minutes left in the quarter, which ended in an easy clearance. Moments later, the umpire was once again the focus of attention, giving a green card after his whistle had not been heard and the Eagles player continued play. Eagles saw another player sent off moments later, playing the final minutes without two players.

Some incredible defending, including a defender clearing a lobbed ball on the line and Borge making a great save, kept Eagles' lead intact going into the break. This was a blow to their opponents, who were once again frustrated despite having numerical superiority.

Eagles were punished after some talkback to the umpire just after creating excellent pitch-wide distribution to get into the D. Although one player short, they saw an attempt at goal saved by the keeper with his shoulder pads on the very goal line. Julian Lopez then struck over the crossbar as they returned to eleven men on the field.

With nine minutes left, Sorokasari faced mounting pressure, scrambling to clear several times in front of their goalmouth. Eagles were firmly on the front foot and playing with confidence, while their opponents looked tired as they chased. As the match entered its final five minutes, Eagles were not producing the final finish to add to their tally. Instead it was the visitors who scored in the final seconds. Their opponents with a loser's point after keeping the goal difference below three.

The victory meant that Eagles now merely needed to ensure they grabbed at least a point from their final match to definitively secure their place in the crossovers. With the points system giving one point to losers who did not concede more than three goals, Eagles could afford to play with less pressure on Saturday.

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