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Crunch; Late tackle, nothing malicious –
Just desperate, ill-timed. Too bad, referee
Points to ground – it’s a penalty kick.
Crowd cheers, in anticipation; ‘keeper
Tenses himself, then loosens up on the line
And his opponent steps forward, ready.
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Players from both sides cluster around
In rough formation, the kicker cleans
Ball on his shirt front – then places it
Firmly on the white chalk spot.
Twelve yards away from clinching victory
In a crucial league match – pressure’s on.
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Taker walks back to his mark, turning to
Face the goal frame. He pauses, then
Jogs forward – eyes say left, feet say right;
Goalie – indecisive – dives sideways and
Hopes for the best. Ball flys past him,
Hitting the net crisply, a moment of truth.
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Scorer ecstatic, mobbed by team-mates.
The man who conceeded gets no such
Attention – he’s been beaten, defeated
In a duel which will decide the points.
Football in microcosm; a contest to
Succeed, to triumph through adversity.