Where to start… Yesterday was an amazing day. I will try my best to give you an insight. I wrote a post yesterday around midday regarding this big Cup final and that I always play for Louise. I couldn’t ask for a better game!!
We left the hotel around 4.30 pm and came to the stadium around 1h 40min before kick off. I could feel my body was ready. Time went so slow, I had so much energy that needed to come out. I was finally in a Cup final again. This is why I came to APOEL, try and fight for trophies. Now we were in the final, and there was no chance I was gonna let this chance go to waste. I was really fired up, and I made sure the boys were as well. As I said to them: We have trained and worked hard for 11 months for this. 90 min away from an important trophy.
The game started badly, they put a lot of pressure on on and got the first goal. we played very bad for about 30 min. Then we got the equaliser, and we felt that was the turning point. We started playing our game, and they seemed to get tired after they started the game in a very high tempo. We even got the second goal to go 2-1 up seconds before half time. Conceding a goal just before half time is a big blow, and we got a big lift.
We decided to start the second half much better than the first. Keep the ball and let them run. We knew that we needed at least one, maybe 2 goals to kill this game. We scored 3-1 after 53 min. A goal that really gave us a big advantage. We felt in control and they started to make a lot of mistakes. But the best, for me personally was yet to come. If you remember in my last post, I wanted to really give my wife something for the support she always gives me. And I was hoping this final would do that.
Free kick, about 30 metres out. I knew this was mine to take. I have scored 5 goals this season, but I know the fans has been waiting for the typical “Riise rocket”. I walked up to the ball, put it down and when I did I said to myself: John, this is your big chance. This is the perfect game to show all the doubters, all the haters, everybody that believes you are done, that you are far from done! Most of all, this is the chance to score a Cup winning goal for my amazing wife. While I was preparing, some of the players in the wall started saying to me: John, please, don’t shoot hard, don’t hit us. At that moment I knew. I was gonna smash this ball so hard that if I hit the wall, somebody will be in pain. At the same time I knew that there was no chance they would stand still, some of them would move. So I decided to smash it towards the wall and if it went through, goalkeeper would have no chance.
7 metres run up, BOOM! through the wall, hit the post, goal! I saw the flight off the ball all the way into the net. Amazing!! I had done what I always believed I still had in me. My left peg hasn’t retired yet! Under you will see some great pictures of the celebrations after i scored. My emotions went crazy. I was so happy for the club, the fans and my teammates. They all deserved this trophy. On a personal point of view, I dedicated this goal to my wife! Just for being you.
I will not comment on what happened after I scored. I leave that to the federation. Very sad thing for Cyprus football. Something needs to be done.
We celebrated at the stadium with our fans, got the trophy and took a lot of selfies! These are the moments nobody can take away from you. I got another trophy on my CV, and it’s not over yet. It’s always great to prove some people wrong. The ones that think they know everything, that says I’m done, too old, not good enough, not fit enough. All I have to say to those people: Thank you for giving me an extra drive to keep going. I freaking love making you eat your own words! This red headed ginger is still here and will be for another few years, so keep coming with your shit. It only makes me stronger. For all the others who supports me, messages me, reads my blog, leaves comments: From the bottom of my heart i Thank you. You all makes it worth it.
We have one last game on Sunday in the league, a draw wins us the title. So last night was not a big celebration. We have to be ready for Sunday. Win the title and the celebrations can begin.
Some of the photos are from Snapchat, and you can always follow me there for more insight into my daily life. Riise3 is my nickname.