In the first article of a new series on Nischal’s Blog, Post-match thoughts are personal reflections and analysis on every football game I attend in the 2019/20 season.
My season began in Switzerland for the fourth time, and after beginning last season at Wembley, 2019/20 got underway in the Europa League 2nd qualifying round.
It’s unlikely that you’ve heard of either Luzern or Kí, which is understandable. FC Luzern are from Switzerland and play in the Swiss Super League, with FCL sort of being my “adopted Swiss team”.
Meanwhile, Kí Klaksvík are from the Faroe Islands, a set of tiny islands over 1,000km away from London. Even I had not heard of them before they were drawn against Luzern, yet I was excited to see what they had to offer.
If at first you don’t succeed, try and try and try again
Luzern came off the back of a successful start in the league, beating St. Gallen 2-0 in their season opener. Having not won a European tie since 1992, FCL were eager to get off to a strong start in Europe.
They were on top right from the start, hitting the bar in the opening four minutes. Yet their first half performance was massively underwhelming, as while they dominated FCL had no cutting edge or real urge to score.
After Kí came close to taking the lead, Luzern woke up and greatly improved in the second half. They played with more urgency and determination, as they forced goalkeeper Kristian Joense into some good saves.
With Joense making some wonderful saves Luzern constantly missing the utarget and hitting the woodwork countless times, it looked as if they wouldn’t score even if there was no goalkeeper and they were played for three hours.
But Luzern kept on fighting and, as they were roared on by their fantastic fans, finally got their reward. Christian Schneuwly fired home in the 93rd minute to deservedly secure the win and take control of the tie.
Although they go into the second leg 1-0 up, there is still work to be done. 28 shots and 1 goal sums it up, as they were prevalent in attack but lacklustre when it came to finding the net. Luzern were okay, but they must improve in the return game and finish off the job.
Standout player: Marius Müller
It was a battle of the goalkeepers in Luzern, and Müller produced a fantastic performance in goal for the hosts to earn his second clean sheet in two appearances.
Luzern’s latest signing made some unbelievable saves to keep Luzern in the game, flying across his goal to keep the visitors at bay and deservedly earn all the plaudits.
So close yet so far
Kí were the underdogs coming into the tie, but they were determined to progress in their best European campaign ever. The Faroese side were on the back foot from the start, but kept themselves in the game.
They had a flurry of chances to take a surprise lead before half-time, but squandered some huge opportunities where they cut open their hosts’ defence.
They stayed resilient in defence to keep Luzern out, and they did all they could before their opponents finally broke them down and broke the deadlock.
Kí can be content with their result, as they return to the Faroe Islands knowing that they can still get something from the tie. It will be an uphill task, but it is far from impossible for the Faroese minnows.
Standout player: Kristian Joense
While Müller was the man of the match at the other goal, Joense was also excellent in goal for Kí, keeping Luzern at bay until the final minutes.
Although his timewasting was frustrating, his shot stopping ability could not be doubted. He made some incredible saves, keeping shots out with his legs and tipping balls over the bar.
While the game was frustrating, the atmosphere was electric. In their first home game of the season, the Luzern ultras didn’t disappoint and were outstanding from start to finish.
It was a nice way to start the season, even if the football was underwhelming at times it was exciting. Two and a half months after my last game, football is back.
I’ll be back at the Swissporarena on Sunday, when FC Luzern host FC Zürich in the Super League.
Article date: Monday 29th July
– All photos taken by Nischal Schwager-Patel –