Chapter 53 – Penalty!
Afternoon at 1 pm.
Dong Xuebing was still thinking of how he could earn Xu Yan’s trust.
Li Qing, who was in wearing his sports attire entered the General Affairs Office. “The bus is here. Those that are participating in the match should change, or you all can choose to change at the stadium. The color is the same as yesterday’s match. The top must be white, and the shorts do not matter.” Li Qing’s face changed.” Everybody listen up. There are only 2 more matches, including this afternoon’s game left. The higher-ups and Chief Xu had given us a mission. We must not lose again. Put in your best performance later!”
“Ah? Cannot lose?” Everyone was groaning.
Li Qing replied firmly. “You must treat this as a political mission! Do you understand?”
Guo Panwei and Zhuang Zhi replied immediately. But they were not confident.
Dong Xuebing was glad that he had escaped this fate. He had heard from Tan Limei that their team had not won a single match out of the past 6 games and they had lost badly for every game they played. The scores were like 5:0, 3:0 and even 7:0. They had yet to score a single goal. This was why the Bureau’s higher-ups gave this “political mission” to them.
Dong Xuebing, Tan Limei, and Old Yan remained in the office. Changjuan, Zhuang Zhi and the rest followed Li Qing out of the office.
There was not a lot of work in the afternoon. Dong Xuebing made himself a cup of tea and watched a movie online.
During the National Day Holidays, their working hours were until 3 pm. It was 5 minutes to 3 pm, and Tan Limei started packing her things. She cheerfully patted Dong Xuebing’s back. “Bing Zhi, let’s go to Yuetan Stadium to watch their match. This time, the Bureau is anxious to get a win. If they were lost all the matches in this tournament, they would surely be scolded.”
Dong Xuebing had nothing to do at home, and he nodded. “Ok, let’s go and have a look.” Xu Yan was also there. Maybe there will be an opportunity to get closer to her.
The Bureau had booked this stadium. Dong Xuebing and Tan Limei showed their work pass and were allowed to enter the stadium. They walked through the entrance tunnel, and they could hear cheers. Under the scorching sun, over 20 State Security members were running on the field. Zhuang Zhi was sweating and panting near his goal post. Guo Panwei was running around aimlessly and shouting “Pass, pass to me!” Guo Shunjie was also holding on to his soccer boots and sitting by the side of the fields. It seems that he was a reserve.
“Defence! Defense!” By the side of the field, Xu Yan in her sports attire was shouting instructions to her team. “Everyone get back and defense! Mark that no. 21!”
“Don’t let him pass! Stop him!” Li Qing was carrying Xu Yan’s bag by her side and was also shouting to the players.
Tan Limei whispered to Dong Xuebing. “Our Chief Xu is very serious. Seems like she means what she said. Let’s go. Sister Juan is over there. Let’s go over.”
Dong Xuebing stopped for a while. “Shouldn’t we greet the leaders first?”
“Can’t you see the leaders are busy?”
Dong Xuebing looked at Xu Yn’s back view helplessly and followed Tan Limei to where Changjuan was sitting. Changjuan was sitting with some young men and women from the Political Section and Finance Department. They were cheering listlessly for their team. “Go forward and shoot!” But their cheers were too soft. Compared to the other team, their cheers could not be heard.
“Xiao Dong, Xiao Tan, you all are here?” Changjuan turned to them and was holding a fan to block the sun.
Dong Xuebing casually asked: “Sister Juan, how’s the match? What’s the score now?”
Changjuan replied: “This time, we are playing much better than the previous few matches. The score is 0:0, and there are 10 minutes left. Seems this match would be a draw. At least we fulfill Chief Xu’s requirement of not losing.”
Tan Limei gasped. “We are playing well!”
It was coming to the end of the match, and all the players on the field were tired. They were running slowly after the ball without any tactics or strategies. The Western District Branch Bureau’s team was not of the same standard as Chaoyang Branch Bureau’s team. Most of the time, they were playing defensively. Their opponent was trying to score from far.
Xu Yan shouted with her hoarse voice: “Defence properly! There are only 10 minutes left!”
Li Qing also shouts: “Run faster! All of you, run faster!”
Chaoyang District Branch Bureau’s no. 21 forward received a pass from outside the penalty area, and he turned to shoot at the goal. Zoom! It was an awkward angle, and the ball missed the goal post by inches. No. 21 held his head in anguished and then gave a thumbs up to his teammate who passed him the ball.
Dong Xuebing blinked/ “Who is that guy? Why is he so good?” Dong Xuebing had played soccer with his University classmates. Although he was not good at it, he could tell the difference between a good player and a novice. This no. 21 was on a different level from the rest.
Changjuan replied: “I heard that guy was formerly from the national youth team. He is more professional than the rest. He had almost broken our defense several times.”
Not far away, Xu Yan was shouting angrily. “Mark that no. 21! Don’t let him get the ball!”
These few days, Xu Yan was in a bad mood. She thought these were all friendly matches to let the staff workers participate in some sports activities. That’s why she took on the role of the team manager and coach. But the rest of the branch bureaus were trying their best, and her team had been losing since the start of the tournament. Xu Yan was too embarrassed by her side. This was why she gave out the orders that they must not lose today. Even a draw is good enough.
8 minutes left……
5 minutes left……
The score was still 0:0.
Xu Yan was relieved. She looked at a middle-aged woman watching the match not far away and frowned.
The bespectacled woman also saw Xu Yan and returned a sneer.
Dong Xuebing was observing Xu Yan and watching the game when he noticed this detail. He asked Tan Limei if she knew who that woman was. “Who is that person? Chief Xu does not seem to like her. Is she the team manager for Chaoyang team?”
Tan Limei looked at that direction. “I had never seen her before. Sister Chang, do you know that person?”
“Who?” Changjuan looked towards the direction where Dong Xuebing was pointing. “Why is she here?”
Dong Xuebing asked: “Who is she?”
Changjuan looked around her and dragged Tan Limei and Dong Xuebing to the side. “That person’s name is similar to Chief Xu. Her name is Xu Yan too. She is the Deputy District Political Commissar of Eastern District Branch Bureau. Oh, I know why she is here. Tomorrow our last match is against the Eastern District Branch Bureau. She should be here to watch our team.”
Dong Xuebing was puzzled. “Isn’t this a recreational tournament? Is there a need to be so serious?”
Changjuan laughed. “There are many things you don’t know. Chief Xu and Political Commissar Xu are not on good terms. To others, this might be a friendly match. But for both of them, it’s not. I heard that both of them were often arguing during the City Bureau’s meeting. Hmmm……. I will tell you all another secret. Keep it to yourself.” Changjuan lowered her voice. “Do you know Chief Xu is a divorcee? Her ex-husband remarried, and his new bride is that Xu Yan. Because of this reason…… Hehe….. Do you all understand now?”
Tan Limei said: “Oh…… I was still wondering why Chief Xu gave out such orders. She does not want to be looked down by her rival!”
Dong Xuebing also understood.
Changjuan replied: “Don’t talk about this anymore. It is not nice if this is spread around. The match is ending soon. Come, let’s cheer for our team!”
There were only 3 minutes left on the clock.
Tan Limei waved her hands excitedly: “Western District Team! Go, go go!”
Dong Xuebing was also influenced by the atmosphere and started to cheer loudly for their team: “Defence! Defense!”
Dong Xuebing and the rest were only hoping for a draw.
But things did not go as they wished. Guo Panwei, who was playing defender, accidentally knocked into one of his teammate outside the penalty area and both of them were slowed down. This gave no.21 a chance to break through their defense. He ran into the penalty area with the ball and tricked the central defender into the wrong direction with a feint. He continued onwards, and only the goalkeeper was left standing before him!
The goalkeeper was Xiao Gao, from the Political Section. He does not know how to play soccer. He was chosen to be part of the team because he was taller. He rushed forward to try to block no. 21, but he accidentally tripped no. 21 to the ground. Before no. 21 fell to the ground, he kicked Xiao Gao with his boots!
Both Xiao Gao and no. 21 were rolling on the field in pain.
The referee from the City Bureau blew the whistle and points to the spot! Penalty!