Coach Freeman Amponsah took plenty of satisfaction from Berry Ladies FC’s battling display in the 4-0 win over Thunder Queens FC on Monday, 24th April 2023 that clinched ‘three super-important points and securing the Top 4’
Victoria Salifu’s 90th-minute finish saw off Thunder Queen’s side at Madina Astroturf after an action-packed, 4-goals in the Malta Guinness Women’s Premier League.
Jafaru Rahama opened the scoring whiles Jacqueline Amponsah followed up with a Goal to extend the lead against thunder queens fc.
Jacqueline Amponsah grabbed her second of the afternoon with a well-taken volley from an assist from Priscilla Agyeman to make it 3-0.
On Thunder Queens FC making Berry Ladies FC work hard for the victory…
Yes, especially when the ball was out, then the game really started – the throw-ins created a proper mess for us. You can prepare a lot in football – and this game was now the preparation for us for the future – but for this kind of thing, obviously we were prepared well enough. We knew about the threat: I think Portia Asante was a bit too much in a fight with whoever was around her, but she was able to quickly turn her mistakes.
A lot of possession for us. I still don’t have the stats from the second half, but first half I think it was 86 per cent or something, which is a really good percent– it was really a good game on what we did.
We came through it, and I am happy, really happy, because we showed a lot of things I wanted to see. It was obviously a different game to the Police Ladies FC game because you need to score to change their way and you need to keep the lead. If we are 1-0 up and can score a second one, that’s the moment the game changes – apart from that there is no chance the game changes at all. Thunder queens sat deep, they waited for their chances to counter attack, and berry ladies knew if the ball passes the sideline, then thunder will be dangerous, but our defenders were there to cover every loop.
On whether ‘some things have changed’ with his team…
No, some things changed a bit but tactically the player changed to suit their style of play. It’s now strange to say after a game like this, because we didn’t have to defend a lot, but the main difference between Police Ladies FC and all the other games was the way we defended and the way the attackers played today. It was much better. So, ball-orientated, really being compact and that doesn’t mean only a high line, it means really moving to the ball side, giving us options. Today I saw a lot of top, top, top counter-pressing moments – I loved that – and that’s, for us, super-important. I think we are much clearer again in that department. We have to prove in days ahead for our final match but for us it changed, and our play was obsolutely marvelous. If you are solid and not only solid but really good and aggressive and positive in defending, then you can build on that. For me, it feels like it’s the first time this season that we have that – late but hopefully not too late and now we have to build on that.
But the most important thing in football is obviously our results and fighting through this situation today and getting three points, you just have to look in the dressing room and congratulate them, but they are really happy about that. It’s three super-important points and a qualification to the top 4. I told them at half-time, we had these kind of games hundreds of times where it’s really tough to get through and stuff like this. You have to be patient, you have to stay positive, you have to go for the moment. Ask if anybody would be happy if we win the game 3-0, of course everybody would. So that means we fight and work for this one moment where we can decide it. And in the end, we needed three – but that’s fine. So yes, I think things changed but to show consistently we have to keep going and it will be a really tough game again against Ridge City FC. They will fight for everything, at least to beat us to end the season so we have to be ready for that.
On Victoria Salifu’s confidence…
Yeah, I think the last goal you really can see what goals do to offensive players. They give confidence. It was a super first touch header, it didn’t look like a massive chance in the first moment when you see three in the box and their goalkeeper coming in to clear it, then bam, she heads the ball, and it was just exceptional. She could have scored a lot in the first and second half –Again, that shows you can, as an offensive player, be involved in absolutely each defensive situation and be still a threat offensively. There’s no if [or] or – you can do both and Victoria Salifu is doing that. That makes her, for us, so valuable and that’s why she deserves that obviously. It’s wonderful after the long, long time that she was out and now having these positive things – was involved in the Police Ladies FC threats and scored her second goal and now scoring two goals in two matches – is top.
On Regina Donkor’s responsibilities when Martha Appiah plays the hybrid role…
That’s a bit football-specific but, of course, it changed the role slightly, that’s clear. We cannot have one full-back in the centre of the field and the other one constantly high up on the left side. That’s difficult. So Regina Donkor has to judge the situations when she can be involved. Martha’s positioning has changed slightly but she’s obviously a very experienced player, a very smart player and she knows when we need her there. Today it was a bit of a mix because we needed as well width and depth. That means from time to time she had to be high – but that just depends on the moment and the situation.
The girls have to learn to read these situations right and do these things in the right moment. Today, obviously Thunder Queens FC tried to girl-mark both Jafar and Portia Sakyiwaa so you could see Martha Appiah moved abit further into attacking to reduce the pressure off the midfielders to allow Jackie and Jafar switch roles whiles Regina, Elizabeth and Comfort Yeboah stay defensively to cover Martha.
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