Season 2 of the Interregional Left Football Association (ILFA) concluded this week, meaning that it is time to recap the 26-nation footballing organisation’s second season.
The season opened with the ILFA Entrants’ Cup, the newest cup competition in the ILFA’s arsenal, which was contested by the newest ILFA entrants, comprising of 8 nations this season. The pick of games from the Quarter-Finals would be Goncar’s 4-3 victory over Veniasufia, which would turn out to be one of only four games that Goncar would win all season. They would be brought down in the Semi-Finals by Harndon in a 6-0 humbling. Harndon advanced to the Final and faced Slotheria, who defeated Fevhader and Eriadni in previous rounds, but could not overcome Harndon, losing 2-1. Harndon were crowned the first-ever ILFA Entrants’ Cup winner, and would attempt to take that momentum in the IFLA Second Division, where the entrants would be joined by Llorens and Dylan Murdoch, who were relegated from the Premier Division in the first season.
The ILFA Second Division kicked off a day before the Premier Division, and was dominated for much of the season by Eriandi and Fevhader. They shared first place after 3-0 victories over Trabardia and Slotheria respectively, and proceeded to trade the top spot between themselves for the first two-thirds of the season, with no other team catching them for 12 of the division’s matchdays. However, after 7 games unbeaten, 6 of which were wins, Slotheria surged ahead of both Eriadni and Fevhader. They would win 3 of their next 4 games, but their loss to Nargovia placed them only 2 points ahead of Eriadni, with 1 game to go. Slotheria needed a draw with their title rivals to secure first place, but crumbled at the final hurdle, capitulating the title to Eriadni in a disappointing 5-1 loss and coming second. The third and final promotion place was secured by Fevhader on the last day, despite a 1-0 loss to Nargovia, as Entrants’ Cup winner Harndon choked in a 0-0 draw with Veniasufia, failing to overtake and forcing them to endure a second season in the Second Division.
The ILFA Premier Division began in style, with the 3 highest-scoring games in the first matchday witnessing a total of 24 goals. The most notable of these was Gregoria’s 6-3 victory over ILFA host nation Kavagrad, which saw Gregoria briefly hold first place. This would be the high point of an otherwise abysmal season, as they only won 4 of the 29 remaining games, finishing bottom of the division and being relegated with a game to spare. Yereha took first place on Matchday 2, but would be overtaken by Dawtania after losing 2-0 to Bakhare. Bakhare would themselves overtake Dawtania on Matchday 4, holding the top spot for 2 matchdays before Dawtania once again claimed first place.
Dawtania would go on an unbeaten run of 8 games, but multiple draws in that run stopped them from extending their lead significantly. Therefore, their 2-0 defeat to Grod Island on Matchday 13 also saw them drop first place to Morvan. Morvan would almost immediately drop the ball themselves, losing 4-2 to Canaltia. However, instead of Dawtania regaining their lead, they were now overtaken by Grod Island. They would go into the halfway point of the season with a 5-1 win over Yereha and an 11-game unbeaten run. They extended their unbeaten record to 17 games before losing 3-1 to Soviet Micronesia on Matchday 22. A second consecutive loss, to struggling relegation candidates Asturies-Llión, did not see them fall from first position, highlighting Groddian dominance over the rest of the division. They went back to winning ways with a 4-0 thumping of Bakhare, and would go unbeaten until they mathematically secured the title, 6 points clear of second-placed Dawtania with a game to spare.
Grod Island would lose their last game 3-0 to Yereha, but at that point it was irrelevant, and Grod Island lifted their first trophy in the ILFA. Previous champions North American Republics struggled to make an impact in the second season, coming 10th of 16 teams. Grod Island were the only team to finish in the Top 4 and qualify for the Copa De Atealia in back-to-back seasons, having come 3rd in the Premier Division in Season 1. Bakhare, who won the Copa De Atealia the previous season, came 5th, and the Copa’s runner-up from last season, Soviet Micronesia, finished in 8th. Gregoria, Cedoria and Asturies-Llión were relegated from the Premier Division, and will play in the Second Division next season.
The final chapter of Season 2 came in the form of the Copa De Atealia II, the second edition of the ILFA’s prestigious Super Cup. The top 4 teams from the Premier Division were entered into the competition. Grod Island, league champions, were knocked out in the Semi-Finals for the second year in a row with a 1-0 loss to Dawtania. Nottinhaps advanced to face Dawtania in the Final by defeating Morvan 5-2 in a thrilling match. But the drama climaxed in the Final, as Dawtania and Nottinhaps were drawing 2-2 after both normal and extra time, forcing the game to go to a penalty shootout. Nottinhaps would score their first four penalties, but Dawtania’s fourth penalty-taker missed with their shot. Nottinhaps’ fifth and final penalty found its mark, winning Nottinhaps the game and the much coveted Copa De Atealia. Dawtania were forced to come to terms with the fact that they had been runners-up twice in a single season.
With Season 2 of the ILFA now at a close, and with the organisation taking a short break for its member nations and organisers to recuperate, the sporting world waits to see who will take the 3rd season by storm.