The McMaster men’s soccer team saw its dream of a national championship dashed by the host Laval Rouge et Or in the opening round of the Canadian Interuniversity Sport men’s soccer championship in Quebec City on Thursday (Nov. 8).
The Rouge et Or scored the only goal of the game in the 35th minute of the first half when the CIS player of the year Samuel Georget controlled a Laval corner kick and sent the ball in front of the net, finding the head of Goran Rimac. He didn’t miss his chance to put Laval in front, to the delight of a large crowd gathered at TELUS-UL Stadium.
The Marauders had a golden opportunity to tie the game in the second half when Ryan Garnett was left alone right in front of the Laval net. Seemingly surprised to be so alone with an open cage, his deflection went wide to the right of Laval’s keeper to preserve the lead.
The OUA champions kept up the pressure and in the 85th minute, a couple of headers came very close to going in after back-to-back free kick and corner kick chances. Playing on their heels, the Rouge et Or held on to win the game and move on to the next round.
McMaster coach Dino Perri talked about how tough it was to work in a hostile environment.
“We knew it was going to be a difficult time – to get the host team on the first day. They controlled the first half, as we came out a little bit flat. We made some adjustments in the second half and I think we outplayed them but we just couldn’t put the ball in the back of the net,” said Perri.
Laval coach Samir Ghrib talked about how proud he was of his team.
“We didn’t play well in the last little while but today, tactically, technically and psychologically, the guys were present. I couldn’t ask for a better performance. We played against one of the best teams in the country. We were the underdogs, but it shows that when we work together and when we believe in our goal, we can get tonight’s result.”
Laval will now face the Canada West champions UBC Thunderbirds in the second semifinal of the tournament Friday. Laval is going for a second national title after winning it all in 2009.
The Marauders will face the UNB Varsity Reds in the consolation round, also on Friday.