Matchweek 2 Rumours

[written by: Bassam Basit, Humeid Khan & Hashim Ghazi]
Matchweek 1 is in the books and we got a taste of what each team brings to the table. Andalusia looked in midseason form, while Hejaz surprised many with a great result of their own. In the late night matchup, two offensive powerhouses exchanged jabs en route to a 3-3 draw. What does Matchweek 2 have in store? Let’s find out in this week’s rumours. 
With the early kickoff again, Jerusalem will be hoping to redeem their sub-par start to the season. They were dealt an unlucky blow when midfielder Zeem Khan came off after a few seconds on the pitch in result of a nagging ankle jury, leaving the Sky Blues thin up the pitch against the tireless Hejaz FC. Albeit both goals in Jerusalem's 2-1 loss were gifted in possession and down to a lack of communication, it's still the chemistry in the final third of the pitch between the likes of Syed Murtaza Tirmizi and Bassam Basit that they still need to get working. A tactical change may be imminent for them. Samarra will be disappointed conceding a last-minute penalty last week to forego a 3-2 lead against Anatolia FC but their momentum sure is flying high. With the team firing from all ends of the pitch, their main threat has been Player of the Week Atif Mian with two goals plus an assist. Being part of a thrilling 3-3 draw does keep a team hungry and Samarra will be looking to replicate their firepower against the bullish Jerusalem defence. Both GMs will need to take out pages from Mourinho's and Wenger's playbooks, respectively, to try to edge out on top!
ANDALUSIA vs HEJAZ (8:45PM Field 3)
Andalusia may have had the most dominant week one performance against Sham last week, with GM Omar Sheikh’s tactics playing out perfectly. The team pressed up high and relied on wide play from Ali Wadee and Owais Ansari to overwhelm Sham in attack. In defence, the team played tight and gave their opponents no room to operate. However, despite some crafty build-up play en route to three goals, the highlight of the night came on the other side of the pitch. In the second half, Muhammad Shah perfectly struck the ball with his weak foot to pull one back…or so he thought. Keeper Jibran Waqar, with his BSL-gold glove shortstop skills on full display, dove and fully extended – like fully extended – to palm the ball away to make an incredible save. Though Andalusia controlled the match, that sort of quality goalkeeping will always give you a leg up on your competition. The Spaniards face the other winning side from Matchweek 1 in Hejaz. Hejaz’s front three of GM Taqi Ahmed, Nasir Rehman and Hannan Ahmed (coined BISL’s equivalent to the mid-2010s MSN of Barcelona by the Hejaz GM), ran ragged en route to a 3-1 victory of their own. Ahmed and Rehman styles complement one another, with Rehman playing a box-to-box role and Ahmed pulling the strings on the ball. Adding in Ahmed’s finishing quality only makes the trio more troublesome for opposing defences. Rookie defender Farhan Butt made a great first impression at the back and even contributed a goal of his own in his debut. This early top of the table match will be a frenetic affair, with both sides looking to continue their top form at the start of the season.
ANATOLIA vs SHAM (9:45PM Field 3)
Anatolia walked away from Week 1 with a point in what will undoubtedly feel bittersweet. On one hand, they were up 2-0 and looked in complete control but after conceding three quick goals, they found themselves down 3-2 in the closing minutes of the game. A last-second penalty salvaged a point for the team. This week they go against Sham’s defense that will put a lot of pressure against GM Zain Khilji and #1 Pick Fawad Akram, two forwards who relish making defenses look silly. With Altamash Khan and Shaheen Limbada as your back-line, they probably expect to not make the same mistakes twice. On the other side, Sham is coming off a loss, which is not something this team saw much last year. The lack of bodies seemed to have an effect on their game, as they seemed completely outclassed by Andalusia who dominated the majority of the game. The sorely missed start front man Khizer Shahzad as their offense had no rhythm or structure. The team is trying to drill their system into the new players and a learning curve is inevitable. However, you can count on GM Muhammad Shah and his right hand man Asif Ibn Rehana to make sure this team comes prepared for Week 2 to wash away the taste of last week’s loss. They will be shorthanded once again this week but they aren’t making any excuses. A team of Sham’s caliber isn’t used to starting the season looking down 6 point, but if they don’t sort their system soon and fall subject to tired legs again, it may be inevitable.