Chapter 75: Fan Cunjie
Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
Running towards to Su Rui’s long ball, Fan Cunjie suddenly stopped to shake off the intimidating Li Hao. He then got away from Li Hao using a turn-and-pull.
Slipping away from two players in one go, he charged into the Shu Guang box alone!
“It appears that Fan Cunjie is finally showing his chops. Perhaps he’s not too happy that his team’s been pressed back by Shu Guang for some time? Shu Guang’s defense better be careful!”
Without pausing for a breath, Yang Yong made his own approach. It was his mistake that gave Fan Cunjie an opening in the lead up to Dingding’s first goal, so he wanted to make amends.
Still, there was an immense gulf between the two. Yang Yong saw the ball shifting around Fan Cunjie’s feet, but it disappeared even before he had time to reach out with his foot.
“A nutmeg! Another dribble!”
Kaka did his best to chase down the opposing captain, but he was simply one step behind.
The enemy was now at the gates.
Dingding had reached the penalty area, but Li Jieguang and Lin Xiaofang were hesitating. Should they challenge Fan Cunjie, or stay on the strikers they were marking?
Seeing that Fan Cunjie was not going to pass soon, Li Jieguang advanced. And in just two steps, he saw Cunjie’s foot arch. Shortly after, the ball rolled to Bin Fei behind him!
Startled, he turned back, but Bin Fei had already returned the pass!
“A one-two pass!”
Both striker and captain teamed up to enter Shu Guang’s penalty area.
An Ke stayed vigilant at the sight of Fan Cunjie’s very own charge.
“Fan Cunjie shoots!”
Just before the attempt, An Ke saw a twitch on Fan Cunjie right foot. Initially prepared to make a save on the right, he quickly dived sideways to the left. His left fingertips touched the ball, sending it scraping off the posts and out of bounds.
“That was close! An Ke’s stunning save keeps it out!”
Letting out a breath in relief, An Ke got up. He jumped when he saw Fan Cunjie’s stare.
He was staring daggers at the keeper, or more precisely, at the goal behind him. He looked prepared to hunt it down and gobble it.
And when he turned his eyes to An Ke, the goalie could not help but shudder.
Luckily, Fan Cunjie soon stopped glaring and ran to the corner flag.
The corner was taken and An Ke correctly judged where the ball would come from this time. Vaulting up, he caught it and held it fast in his arms, not allowing the “Opportunist” or the tall defender a whiff.
An Ke immediately drop-kicked the ball far away, and it fell sharply towards Yang Pan.
Facing it, Yang Pan held the clumsy Lu Hui back with his body, stopping him from shifting ahead to defend. With a fluid move, he stopped the ball at his feet; the rest was going to be an easy job.
Feeling where Lu Hui was, he poked the ball behind, slowing down his opponent’s reaction. He then turned and gave chase to the ball.
It was not a pretty skill, but a mere duel of speed. It was especially devastating when he was the one to use it. There were times he found it uncool too, but any marker would be left behind in just five steps.
However, things were different that day.
Lu Hui turned with him. It had already been five paces and Yang Pan still did not manage to shake him off.
“Yang Pan’s speed is really as fast as people say! Although, Lu Hui isn’t losing out. The two are neck-and-neck!”
Knowing that just being quick was not enough, Yang Pan opted to use his other trick again. Under breakneck velocities, he promptly pulled back!
The last time he did so, he rid himself of Lu Hui. But this time…
Lu Hui stopped together with him!
“Yang Pan is not getting away from Lu Hui!”
Yang Pan was startled.
“I’m not an idiot! You can’t use the same trick on me twice!” Lu Hui said, stretching his leg out.
After a brief moment of letting his guard down, Yang Pan was dispossessed.
“Yang Pan has lost possession!” The commentator made it sound like Yang Pan should not have done that; like it was doomsday.
Lu Hui quickly kicked it upfield to Dong Yiluo; Yang Pan might have reclaimed the ball if Yiluo had delayed.
However, in a team like Dingding, a substitute could be a regular in any other team.
Dong Yiluo was one of those substitutes. Although he was a third-year student, he did not make the first team. Nonetheless, he was a mainstay amongst the reserves. When the occasion called for it, Liu Wei’s first thought would be him.
The player stopped the ball a meter up front, a good distance away. It was suitable for his next move—if it was too far, an opponent could get to it. This alone showed that he had a good handle of the basics.
Chen Bo ran up to Yiluo “like a beast”, which was typical of him. The two tangled.
“Yiluo! Don’t hold the ball for too long!” Fan Cunjie ran up to offer his support.
Grabbing some space, Dong Yiluo passed it to his captain.
Turning naturally and adjusting himself once he got the ball, Fan Cunjie moved towards the Shu Guang goalpost.
Li Hao went out to fend him off. Not relishing the idea of going up against the burly defensive midfielder, Fan Cunjie dodged in an instant, facing Wang Ning instead.
Fan Cunjie expected his adversary to make another charge at him so that he would dribble away in response. Wang Ning however, did not—he stayed three meters away where he could intercept any pass and stop him from breaking away.
For the first time in this match, Cunjie found the person in front of him difficult to deal with. He had easily slipped past Wang Ning so many times before, but at this moment, he was forced to slow down. He kept feinting to stave him off.
Wang Ning remained unmoved. Li Hao’s heavy footsteps were ringing behind him, and Fan Cunjie knew that it was no time to dawdle. He peeked behind Wang Ning to look at the space behind; Dong Yiluo could run up to it, and with a pass, they would break through.
Seemingly noticing the same thing, Wang Ning moved slightly in that direction. Even though it was not a huge movement, it did not escape Fan Cunjie.
With one jerk, Fan Cunjie pulled his entire body off to the other direction!
But he quickly stumbled and fell. He looked behind to see Wang Ning on the floor too; his outstretched right foot holding on to the ball.
“Fan Cunjie has been dispossessed!” The commentator made it sound like Fan Cunjie should not have done that; like it was doomsday.
Sweeping the ball away to the oncoming Li Hao, Wang Ning told Fan Cunjie while he was still on the floor, “Sorry! Hehe, to me, Ren Yu De’s feints are far more deceptive!”
It was not Fan Cunjie’s first failure in dribbling. Nevertheless, it was an unforgettable one.
Wang Ning’s move towards the direction of his gaze was done to direct his run towards the other direction. His marker had counted on it, prepared a trap and waited while he walked headlong into it.
He had been played like a fiddle and calmly told off at the end. “I’m sorry, you don’t cut it!”
With his desire to win jumbled with the shock from that failure, Fan Cunjie finally exploded.
Cao Po had just won the ball from Kaka when he heard Fan Cunjie shouting at him ahead. “Quick! Pass the ball to me! Pass it to me!”
Left dumbstruck, Cao Po did not immediately send it to him, so Fan Cunjie kept shouting, “Why are you dilly-dallying? Hurry! They are running back to defend!”
Finally realizing that the player urgently waving for the ball was indeed his captain, Cao Po quickly stabbed the ball to him.
Liu Wei was truly shocked to see his captain screaming for the ball on the pitch. Something had changed within Fan Cunjie. However, there was no telling if the change would be a potion or poison for Dingding.
Once he got the ball, Fan Cunjie pushed into Shu Guang’s box alone.
Li Hao shoved him with his body, only to shockingly find that the other boy held immense strength despite his average build. Every shove seemed to be a push up against a wall.
The captain darted to the front, pushing Li Hao to the back as he accelerated. One more thrust with his upper body and Li Hao finally dropped. He was unable to withstand the pressure.
“The mighty Li Hao has been shoved down by Fan Cunjie! What brute strength!”
Wang Ning did not rush in, keeping some distance away from Fan Cunjie.
However, the other had no intention of slowing down, and kicked out with his right foot. Wang Ning, thinking that it was a pass, quickly raised his left foot to stop it.
But his foot only fleeted over the ball without touching it. As Wang Ning tried to figure out what Fan Cunjie was up to, the captain retracted his foot and backheeled it!
“A back pass!”
Fan Cunjie rounded Wang Ning and sped away.
Shi Yan, who received the pass had witnessed the whole thing; he lobbed it over Wang Ning’s head to get it to Fan Cunjie.
Li Jieguang rushed out, sticking his leg out to get the ball. Fan Cunjie raised his own foot too; he lobbed the ball that just dropped and it flew over his marker’s head!
“That’s a beautiful skill! Making such difficult lobs in the middle of a run! He is the master!”
After Li Jieguang, Fan Cunjie faced the oncoming Yang Yong. He lifted his right foot and pulled the ball to the left, skittering away. It was an utterly enjoyable, fluid movement.
Reaching the penalty area, Wang Ning caught up and got in front of Cunjie. He was intent on stopping him from shooting.
As expected, Fan Cunjie raised his foot, looking ready for a drive.
Wang Ning lifted his own to cut down the angles he could shoot from.
Rounding the ball with his right foot, Fan Cunjie did not kick it. Instead, he backheeled it to his left. Holding Wang Ning off with his hands, he squeezed out and slipped away!
Right after that, Fan Cunjie immediately thumped the ball near the penalty spot!
An Ke judged it correctly and dived to the upper right corner. Still, Fan Cunjie’s drive was too powerful; even with both his palms out, the keeper could only shift the trajectory by a mere fraction.
The ball struck the crossbar and bounced into the net!
“It’s in—it’s a goal by Fan Cunjie; 20 minutes into the second half! What an exhilarating strike! Blowing down castle walls and striking down generals! Fan Cunjie’s individual strength tips the scales!”