Chapter 90: As If God Was Helping
Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
After that wild moment, the audience became silent. It was as though the sound of breathing from both sides could be heard.
The sunlight was dazzling. This was what Zhang Lintao felt as he could not see clearly Yang Pan’s face; from the time No. 7 bent down to put the ball onto the penalty mark, and then straightened himself and stepped back. Throughout this process, Zhang Lintao could not see his opponent’s face, the face that had almost given him a year of nightmares.
Yang Pan carefully placed the ball on the white dot. He then got up and took four steps back, counting silently in his heart. After his fourth step, he stood still. He then lowered his head and saw the armband on the left arm of the red captain. He did not need to turn around to know the situation behind himself. He also did not need to look up to know what was going on at the stands of the stadium.
There were still fourteen minutes before the game ended. The score was 1:2 against Shu Guang. Now, Shu Guang had earned a penalty kick. The kicker for the penalty was going to be Yang Pan, Shu Guang’s captain, No.7, whose fastest shot speed reached one hundred and ten kilometers per hour. (Linhai Tingtao, the author, also believed that the ball speed of one hundred and eighty kilometers per hour was extremely ridiculous. So, Linhai Tingtao will make the corrections later, beginning from the start of the novel. However, for now, the modifications would start from here.) Everyone knew the power of Yang Pan’s right leg.
Zhang Lintao stood at the goal line and looked to the left and then the right at the distance. He then lowered his body and bent forward slightly, his hands ready at the sides.
Yang Pan took a deep breath, and then another deep breath.
Both of them, in fact, everyone, waited for the referee to blow the whistle.
Sun Laihong nervously looked at the venue. He did not notice his collar was soaked through with his sweat. Liang Ke stood on the sidelines and looked at the Ke Da High School penalty area. He gripped the bottle of mineral water in his hands even tighter.
Yang Pan finally took a deep breath. He leapt and started to run. On the third step, his left leg was placed onto the grass beside the ball like a pivot. His right leg then swung at the ball. *Bang* A clump of grass was also sliced off.
The moment Yang Pan touched the ball, Zhang Lintao jumped out like a compressed spring.
Punched away, yes, punched away.
“He punched the ball! Zhang Lintao made the correct call! He punched Yang Pan’s shot away! Incredible! He stopped the ball, he saved the goal from Yang Pan’s penalty kick! It is a miracle! Miracle! Really great!” The commentator unexpectedly became hoarse from shouting.
The ball flew out of the end line. Shu Guang did not even have the opportunity to make follow up shots. Or rather, it should be said that right from the start they never thought they would need one.
Zhang Lintao rolled on the ground and then jumped up. Punching his fist down energetically, he cheered, “Wow!” He had worked hard for an entire year just for this moment. How could he not be excited now that he had blocked Yang Pan’s shot from twelve yards away.
His roar was like a flame igniting a storage of explosives. The supporters of the Ke Da High School at the stands broke out with a roar as though they had won the national championship.
Luo Bin rushed forward and embraced Zhang Lintao’s head as he roared at him. After that, Deng Rui, Zhang Yang, Liu Chao … more and more joined the shouting party. Even Sun Laihong who was at the sidelines jumped up and yelled loudly. He absolutely did not have any demeanor of a ‘Gold Medal Instructor’.
Yang Pan kicked hard at the air. He felt a hand placed on his shoulder and looked back to see Zhang Jun.
“Sh*t! Even God is on their side!” Yang Pan said angrily. Right in front of him were the team members of Ke Da roaring loudly.
“No. I did not see it!” This was Zhang Jun’s reply. As he said this, his eyes were fixed at Ke Da’s goalpost.
Liang Ke threw away the dumbbell-shaped water bottle he had in his hand and turned back to the coach’s seat. Su Fei endured the disappointment in his heart and recorded the missed penalty in his book.
Ah Yuan stood up and placed one leg on the back of the row of chairs in front of him. He shouted fiercely. “It is so f*cking beautiful! F*ck! Beautiful!”
Ke Da’s screaming party only lasted for half a minute. It was because the referee reminded them that there was still a corner kick. The excitement was understandable but the celebration had to end.
Kaka sent the corner kick to Lin Xiaofang again. However, Luo Bin shouted loudly and jumped. He had jumped higher than Lin Xiaofang and stretched to head the ball out of the penalty zone.
Zhang Lintao’s penalty save did not just end there!
Zhao Defeng wrested control of the ball from beneath Wangning’s feet after Luo Bin’s header. He then turned and tapped it to He Jialin. He Jianlin stepped back a little but then suddenly passed an overhead shot. Zhang Yuchao sped in from the left!
It was Ke Da’s most proficient tactic, the high speed counter-attack.
Zhang Yuchao tapped the ball forward. He accelerated to try and shake off Chen Bo. Lin Xiaofang did not have the time to come back after the corner kick. This meant that the only center back remaining was Li Jieguang. How was Li Jieguang alone going to prevent Zhang Yuchao from breaking through?
It looked like he had to depend on An Ke.
An Ke shouted loudly and attacked.
However, just as An Ke strode three steps forward, Zhang Yuchao suddenly lifted his leg and kicked the ball up high.
An Ke turned pale with shock and hurried back. After that, he jumped up and extended his hand. Striving very hard, he managed to just push the ball away from the crossbar of the goal.
“A close call! An Ke has quick responses! Otherwise, Shu Guang would suffer an even heavier blow after missing their penalty!”
Zhao Defeng took the corner kick. As Li Yongle was injured and needed to mark Zhang Jun, he did not charge out but stayed behind to keep a close watch on Zhang Jun.
“The corner kick is off! Its the front post! This time, Lin Xiaofang did not let Luo Bin gain the advantage and headed the ball away first.”
“Lin Xiaofang is in his first year but was already playing center forward in the main force. He has truly progressed with amazing speed. In the final match with Ke Da, he has precise defense and dares to go onto the offensive. Next year, he would inevitably shoulder the heavy burden of Shu Guang’s rear defense.”
The ball headed out by Lin Xiaofang was received by Zhang Yulin who was waiting at the outer area. Just as he was about to lob it into the penalty area, he was intercepted by Xie Wei.
Xie Wei quickly sent the ball to Wang Ning. Wang Ning then took the ball and ran quickly. When he first entered the team, he was a defending midfielder. On the field, his job is to intercept the balls, and intercept some more. After intercepting the ball, he would immediately pass it to his teammates. And now, after going through the experience of numerous games, he was brave enough to make a break with the ball. He even knew how to act according to the situation on the field to decide whether to steadily carry the ball or quickly pass the ball.
Now, he was becoming even more qualified to be a defending midfielder.
Wang Ning saw that no one was coming up to attack him. The other Ke Da fullbacks were giving more attention to the other four players in front. He then decided to dash straight to Ke Da’s penalty area.
After running about twenty four meters, he suddenly made a long range shot. Although Wang Ning had the right angle, it was very easy for Zhang Lintao to catch this even with his eyes closed.
The ball flew high. Zhang Lintao positioned himself and leaned forward. His hands folded like a shovel and his legs was slightly apart.
When the ball arrived, and smashed into his palms Zhang Lintao lifted his palms slightly and curled his arms to receive the ball firmly into his arms. However, the ball spun in his arms and bounced away.
“It bumped from his hands! Zhang Lintao has made a basic mistake!”
Zhang Jun was agile like a hunting dog and dashed towards the ball. Li Yongle did not dare to be careless and tried very hard to cram outwards to make it difficult for Zhang Jun to reach the ball within a short time.
His efforts were effective. Zhang Lintao’s second reaction was quick. He lunged forward, grabbed the ball and then held it firmly with both hands under his body.
“The crisis is over! However, Zhang Lintao’s mistake was indeed puzzling!”
“Actually, it is understandable. He probably thought that Wang Ning’s shot from that distance would not pose any threat to him. So, he was imperceptibly relaxed. This led to a slight change in his movements, causing the ball to slip out of his hands.”
“One must really not relax for even a second against a team like Shu Guang!”
“Yes! Never underestimate the opponent .”
Zhang Lintao, holding the ball, then got up from the ground. Li Yongle happened to stand in front of Zhang Jun, blocking his way. He gave Zhang Lintao a questioning look. Zhang Lintao shook his head with a smile. He then patted Li Yongle’s chest and thanked him for the timely block that had saved him and the team.
He then threw the ball to Luo Bin who was known for his steadiness. Luo Bin stopped the ball firmly and then looked for Zhang Yuchao.
Ke Da attacked once again. They were powerful in such moments.
When all of his teammates had their backs facing him, Zhang Lintao did not look to the front as usual to watch the battle at the frontline. Instead, he looked down at his left hand and gently flexed his left wrist.
However, the rally cries at the stands became louder, causing him to raise his head.
“Wang Ning and Chen Bo has successfully won the ball from Zhang Yuchao in a pincer attack! Shu Guang immediately turned from defence to attack!”
Wang Ning passed the ball to the swift Yang Pan. During a counterattack, the speed of the striker was very important.
Yang Pan did not disappoint the hundreds of cheering squad members roaring off the field. He quickly took the ball to Ke Da’s court. Lu Qing chased desperately from the back while Zhang Yang was coming in obliquely in front of him.
Yang Pan easily skipped over Zhang Yang’s intercepting tackle but Lu Qing had already caught up with him.
When he finally got rid of Lu Qing, Zhang Yang appeared before him again.
“Chain… defense!” Chen Huafeng called out. In their competition last year, Yang Pan was tightly chained by Li Yongle and Zhang Yang. Most of the time it would not be effective. But, what about this year?
When Yang Pan realised this he laughed. “Last year, I was alone. However, we have a very sharp knife this year!” He did not wait for Zhang Yang to pounce on him again and passed the ball across to Zhang Jun!
“Beautiful!” Chen Huafeng praised. “As long as you pass the ball, you can break this chain!”
However, Li Yongle, who had always marked Zhang Jun, was not to be tifled with. He immediately tagged tightly onto Zhang Jun, pushing the doctor’s warning, that another collision may aggravate the injury, to the back of his mind.
However, Zhang Jun did not carry the ball into the penalty area as the others had expected. Instead, he sent it rolling to his front right with the back of his foot. There was literally nobody, neither Ke Da’s nor Shu Guang’s people, in that area. So, nobody knew why he did it.
However, Yang Pan immediately revealed the answer. He moved in at high speed and went past Zhang Yang. Zhang Jun’s pointless pass had just reached his feet. He made a minor adjustment, and shot with all his might from the penalty box corner.
The ball headed straight for the corner of the goal mouth.
In the midst of the shocking cries and cheers, Zhang Lintao once again leapt into the air and knocked the ball away with his fists.
“God’s help! Zhang Lintao had God’s help again! Yang Pan has shot seven times in this game and he managed to block six times! This is an astonishing number! It was his outstanding performance that allowed Ke Da to maintain the one-point lead till now.”
Zhang Lintao’s hand was propped on the ground. When he tried to get up he, unexpectedly, had a sharp pain shooting into his left wrist. His hand turned soft and he almost collapsed on the ground.
‘Could it be that the pre-season training was only able to improve my defensive ability but not the strength of my arm? Or perhaps Yang Pan’s shots were really unstoppable?’
‘Unstoppable shots? What a joke! There is no such thing in this world!’
Zhang Lintao suddenly jumped up from the ground, and immediately waved his fist and roared.
“Ah! Zhang Lintao seems to be very spirited today! He is bursting with confidence from continuously blocking Yang Pan’s shots! His loud roars seems to shatter Shu Guang’s remaining hope.”
“There is not much time left for the rest of the game. There is only less than ten minutes left. Shu Guang’s most destructive shots were, unexpectedly, all completely blocked. Zhang Jun is also being marked closely by Li Yongle. Looks like Shu Guang is in danger!”