Chapter 78: Rising Dragon
Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
“There are only six minutes left and both teams are having a heated fight on the field! In the front, middle and the back, the two teams are fighting everywhere!”
“The enthusiasm of the audience is unprecedentedly high!”
“Dingding must win! Dingding must win!”
“Shu Guang, keep it up! Shu Guang, get the goal!”
As Yang Pan took the ball, the stands screamed in a frenzy. “Another one!” Those who were neutral followed along too. They hoped to see the rumored big shot. It was not enjoyable enough to only see two that day.
However, Yang Pan did not hear any of it. After he scored a goal, Lu Hui stepped up to defend while Dong Yiluo frequently withdrew from defending. He had to deal with these two, how could he allocate the skills to meet the demands of the audience?
Yang Pan and Zhang Jun were the stars of the Shu Guang team, but the audience liked Yang Pan a little more. After all, with Yang Pan’s wind-like speeds, his general destructiveness was equivalent to an avalanche. In addition, his position as the captain was also particularly striking to others.
What about Zhang Jun?
As a striker, he was mostly seen only when he reached the front of the goal. And when he took his shots, the ball would either enter or not. He did not have Ren Yu De’s dazzling and exhilarating skills, Kaka’s handsome face, or Yang Pan’s aggressive shots. What did he have? Goals; he was constantly scoring goals. While the fans ignored him, he had risen to the top of the scorer’s list, along with Ma Ni, who had already been eliminated.
Fans could ignore his presence, but his opponents absolutely could not. Ignoring him would mean death.
Therefore, Yao Wang remained close to Zhang Jun. If he could not keep up with Zhang Jun, he would delay him by pulling on him with his hands.
Yang Pan passed the ball he obtained from Lu Hui and Dong Yiluo to Kaka. Cao Po rushed over as if he was affixed to the ball like a bone.
Zhang Jun ran out, stretching Dingding’s defensive line. Kaka took the opportunity to cut in as Cao Po followed him into the penalty area. In all honesty, if there was a small amount of fouls or mistakes made in that area, it would send their team to hell.
Kaka felt a little pressure from behind and quickly took a shot at the goal!
Xia Bo did not dare to be careless and he kept the ball firmly under his body.
“Are they marking the others? If that’s the case, the striker should run forward, then it would be easier to handle the situation…” There was some truth in Chen Huafeng’s words. The striker and front defender’s interspersing runs at the front of the field were enough to disrupt the other team’s defensive line. Kaka’s shot earlier proved it.
Xia Bo kicked the ball towards the front. Shi Yan headed it over to Cao Po, and Kaka immediately stuck to him. He was not going to allow Cao Po to make a pass.
“Hey, I really hate you! You’re impossible to get rid of!” Cao Po said as he protected the ball.
“I’m the one who should be saying that!” Kaka replied as he ran around him.
“Cao Po!” Fan Cunjie went up to help. Cao Po flashed past Kaka’s foot and passed the ball to him.
But Fan Cunjie did not stop the ball. As a result, Wang Ning shoveled in and pushed the ball away.
Yang Pan got the ball and passed it to the middle right away.
Zhang Jun used his foot to stop the ball. After that, he increased his speed and ran past Yao Wang before he could react, rushing into the penalty area.
Su Rui came to fill in the defense, but as Zhang Jun made an emergency stop to change his direction, he managed to get rid of Su Rui. At this point, he was parallel to the goal.
“This is…” Chen Huafeng could not help but shout.
“Xia Bo!” Due to Fan Cunjie’s sudden lost of the ball, Dingding’s defense was not responding. It had been broken because of Shu Guang’s simple passes. So, it was only Zhang Jun against Xia Bo at this point! As Yao Wang looked back, he was shouted his goalkeeper’s name to allow him to attack.
When Xia Bo took his first step, Zhang Jun made his shot!
Xia Bo flew in the direction of the ball, but he did not see it coming!
“The ball went in… The ball went it…”
Xia Bo turned to look at the goal in disbelief. The soccer ball was really inside the goal.
“This is too much! How did the ball go in?”
“There’s an immediate replay of the goal. Let’s look at it closely!”
While the commentator commented about it, everyone turned their attention to the big screen. The big screen replayed Zhang Jun’s shot in slow motion.
Zhang Jun swayed Su Rui with an emergency stop and change of direction.
“That looks like Ma Ni’s 90 Degrees…”
“It doesn’t look like one, it is a 90 Degrees. But now, it seems like it’s going to be recognized as Zhang Jun’s 90 Degrees.”
When Xia Bo attacked and stepped out of the goal, Zhang Jun suddenly shot the ball from his right foot. Xia Bo’s reflexes were good; he quickly flew to the left, but he could not see the ball!
“That was probably the key!”
Zhang Jun performed a mock shot with his right foot and when the ball reached the front, he immediately followed up with his left foot to catch the ball. He then pulled the heel of his right foot slightly, sending the ball up. The scene looked just like an ordinary heel pass to others.
The series of movements was done very fast with a good amount of strength. When the soccer ball rose to Zhang Jun’s waist, his right foot followed. He leaped up like a dragon and the heel of his right foot acted like a dragon’s tail, which swayed the ball. It flew behind him into the corresponding direction of the goal.
There was a slight flaw when Zhang Jun landed. The move was indeed very demanding of one’s flexibility and coordination. It was already considered pretty good that he did not fall.
With the replay on the big screen, the screams from the stands grew louder and louder until there were no other sounds that could be heard.
“Such-Such a goal! It’s truly incredible! It really is a rising dragon! He’s like a dragon in the air, swinging his tail!”
“This is a goal from God! I have nothing else to say. I can only marvel!” Faced with such a goal, the commentator seemingly could not find any suitable words to describe it.
Li Yongle looked at the big screen with his mouth wide opened. The other two pretty much did the same too.
Li Yongle was finally able to speak after some time. “This… This is my first time finding out that you can kick a ball like that!”
“I’ll be damned! I’m not reading some comic, am I?” Zhang Yang rubbed his eyes.
Zhang Lintao did not wait for a reply to his question. He shook his head and said, “If it had been me, I would have been fooled too. This goal… He may be the first to shoot it. If I have to defend against the Rising Dragon, the ball would surely go in. If I think about it and make the first move, the ball would still go in. No matter what, there are only two options. The answer is nonetheless hidden in his heart, unless I can see through it…”
“Then there’s no other way?” Zhang Yang asked.
Zhang Lintao had a painful expression. “Don’t ask me, I really don’t know…”
That loss made Liu Wei speechless. Although it was likely that he would be left empty-handed again, the fact was, no one could have blocked such a ball, no one.
Looking at some of his teammates such as Xia Bo and Su Rui, who had lost their spirit, Fan Cunjie’s heart suddenly jumped and an ominous feeling surfaced. The tenacious players of Shu Guang ran past him and all of a sudden, he felt tired. He thought of just laying himself down on the grassy field, and sleeping until the sun rose again.
Since he joined Dingding three years ago, they never obtained any honors. Things had been really mediocre for the past three years! Would it end the same way then?
“Zhang Jun uses a magical dragon to dominate the scoreboard! The score is now 4: 3 and there are only three minutes left until the end of the game. Dingding is in a desperate situation!”
The referee sounded the whistle and Dingding released the ball from the middle. The game resumed once more.
Perhaps the Rising Dragon was not big enough to be an eliminating factor. When Dingding made its move, its attacks were even stronger.
Shu Guang was forced to play on the defensive throughout the last three minutes due to Dingding’s strength. Even the top-ranking Zhang Jun had to return to the midfield to defend.
“Fan Cunjie, want to join the soccer team?”
“Hehe! I told you! Having a partner to dominate the country together isn’t going to be a mere dream anymore!” Bin Fei held Fan Cunjie’s shoulder as he said these words in front of a poster. It was a poster of Dingding’s soccer team recruiting new players and it had attracted a lot of attention.
“Bin Fei suddenly shoots from the penalty zone! The ball flies over Lin Xiaofang’s head towards the goal!”
Because Lin Xiaofang was blocking his sight, An Ke’s view was hindered. So, he used his foot to block the ball from the bottom line.
“So close! A corner kick!”
“My name is Xia Bo. I’m from Class 4.”
“What a beautiful save! Xia Bo, you can be Dingding’s main goalkeeper!” Liu Wei patted Xia Bo on his slender shoulders. His thin body bore Dingding’s entire defensive line and he continued to do so for three years. When he first entered the team, who would have thought that a small-sized goalkeeper like him would win the title of “Best Goalkeeper” in his first year?
Fan Cunjie took a corner kick. Shu Guang’s penalty area was almost overcrowded as it was filled with players from both teams. Even Dingding’s goalkeeper, Xia Bo had rushed in.
Fan Cunjie made an opening with the ball and the penalty area suddenly felt like a stone that fell into water.
An Ke jumped ahead, wanting to snatch the soccer ball directly. However, someone jumped higher than he did!
“It’s Xia Bo!”
Xia Bo jumped, but unfortunately he was still in front of Li Jieguang. He could not reach the ball with his head. Realizing that the ball was going to fly away from his sight into An Ke’s arms, he suddenly extended both of his arms and hit the ball.
An Ke was shocked by Xia Bo’s move. He was immobilized as he watched the soccer ball fly into the goal behind him.
At the same time, the referee sounded his whistle. “Dingding’s No. 1, handball foul! Invalid goal!”
As Xia Bo fell, the referee ran over to him and flashed him a yellow card. The handball was done on purpose. It was reasonable to say that the red card would not have been excessive either. However, the referee took into consideration the fact that this game was Xia Bo and Dingding’s last chance. So, he was merciful towards him. Failure was failure, but he did not want Xia Bo to carry the stain of a red card in the match.
After Xia Bo looked at the yellow card in the referee’s hand, he silently turned and walked back. When he turned, Fan Cunjie noticed that he was wiping his face with his sleeve. However, no one knew if he was sweating or tearing up.
“Haha! He’s such a moron! Using his hands to attack! Did he think that he was still guarding the goal? Using both hands to attack? Haha!” Zhang Yang laughed boisterously.
But Zhang Lintao shot him a glare. “What’s so funny? If we fall behind, I would do the same as him too!”
Zhang Yang did not laugh this time.
“Fan Cunjie, I want to talk to you about something. Is tomorrow the semi-final?” his father placed the plates on the table as he talked to Fan Cunjie, who was currently watching the news.
“Yes.” Fan Cunjie nodded. He did not take his eyes off the television.
“If you still don’t sail into the National Championship this year, you have to stop playing soccer. You have to focus on your studies since your college entrance examination is near.”
Fan Cunjie turned and looked at his distressed father.
“Sure, sure, if you make it to the National Championship, it would be good news of course! You can then continue playing soccer, we won’t stop you!”
Fan Cunjie looked at his father silently. In order to help his own child to study, he had to be careful with his words. Fan Cunjie understood his parents. They paid so much for him to play soccer, but he never expressed a word of gratitude. Compared to other kids who had to drop soccer because of their parents, he was considered very lucky. They were not wrong in wanting him to focus on his studies, and enter his ideal college. It was only for his own good.
“Alright”—he nodded—”if we don’t succeed, I won’t play soccer anymore and I’ll concentrate on my studies.”
“The referee is looking at his watch! Dingding is running out of time and the team is still one goal away! Fan Cunjie takes the lead and this may be Dingding’s final attack!”
“He dribbles pass Li Hao! In the brink of such desperation, there is no trace of panic in his body and his actions are still steady! As expected of Fan Cunjie!”
“He takes a shot!”
An Ke rushed out and tackled it. However, the strength of the ball was too great and it bounced, flying towards the goal!
“The ball is about to go in! Dingding is adamant on equalizing the score!”
Chen Bo rushed over and forcefully swept the ball out!
*Beep! Beep! Beep!*
“The game has come to an end! Shu Guang High School is the first to reach the final round, which will be held in one week’s time!”
“Regretfully, Dingding High School has to say its goodbyes. The team played excellently in this game, but there can only be one victor. At the end of the day, Shu Guang High School played better. Sadly, Dingding’s days to the National Championship have been delayed yet again.”
Fan Cunjie stood on the line of Shu Guang’s penalty area—the place where he launched his shot. His force was great and he had most likely used up all his strength. But it did not occur to him that the ball would be saved by An Ke and Chen Bo. He wondered why he did not collapse onto the grass when the referee blew the final whistle, or turn into a crying mess like Xia Bo.
He would have to bid farewell to soccer forever and focus on his studies. Why could he not cry when he was being separated from his dearest partner? He wanted to win the game, but he was calm now that he had lost.
He thought back to the time he lost to Zhongyuan High School in the semi-final. He cried, needing his coach to help him up and walk again. Without realizing, it had already been three years since he grew up. Maybe it was because he had become numb.
Fan Cunjie began to help his teammates, who were lying on the ground crying. He got them on their feet and they lined up to thank their fans. For the past three years, their fans had been their most loyal supporters, regardless of the outcome of their matches.
Liu Wei watched Fan Cunjie pulling the players up and patting them on their backs. He allowed them to line up before Dingding’s cheerleading team to thank them.
He was the one about to leave soccer, so was he not supposed to feel the saddest? Despite that, he could still stand as a responsible captain. He remembered the time when he first entered the team. He bowed politely as he said, “I hope my coach will provide me with more guidance and care!” But, who was really the one to provide care for the past three years? Without Fan Cunjie, Dingding would have never had the influence they possessed in the present high school soccer world. Perhaps, he should have been the one who said this to Dingding’s captain, the No.10 player.
Li Yongle stood up. “Let’s go. We have to hurry and train. It’s our turn tomorrow.”
“You don’t want to watch?” Zhang Yang pointed at the celebrating field. The Shu Guang team was surrounded by reporters, who were constantly flashing their cameras.
Li Yongle turned to watch Zhang Jun, who was being surrounded in the middle. He laughed. “Wait till we win, then we’ll really enjoy it.” He walked away after he was done with his speech.
Zhang Yang turned back to the field, but he could not find Zhang Jun amid the lively scene. He shook his head and spun around to follow Li Yongle.
“That Rising Dragon…” Zhang Lintao said.
“There will be a way. There’s no such thing as an invincible move in this world…” Li Yongle turned to watch the lively stadium.