Quebec City – As the UNB Varsity Reds seemed on their way to victory, the McMaster Marauders turned things around in the final 15 minutes of the game en route to a 2-1 win in the second consolation semifinal of the Canadian Interuniversity Sport men’s soccer championship held at TELUS-UL Stadium in Quebec City, Friday (Nov.9).
The Ontario University Athletics champions will now face their conference foes, the Carleton Ravens, in the fifth-place match Saturday. The rivals met in the OUA final last Sunday, a game dominated 5-0 by McMaster.
As for the V-Reds, their first tournament appearance since 2006 ends after two losses. UNB now has an all-time record of 2-9-1 at the competition.
McMaster head coach Dino Perri was pleased with the way his troops bounced back to win this contest.
“I thought we played well today, we knocked the ball around. It’s a tough game to get up for, especially after the disappointing loss the night before,” said Perri.
“We probably should have scored a lot earlier in the game and not make it so close, but in the end, we pulled it out with two goals in the second half, and we got one more game,” he added.
UNB’s Miles Pinsent, the Canadian Interuniversity Sport coach of the year, also talked about the tough loss suffered the night before.
“With games like this, you’re always curious to see which team rebounds best from the disappointment of the day before. We started alright, but I think there were a lot of tired bodies on the field, and it kind of took its toll as the game wore on,” said Pinsent.
UNB opened the scoring in the 12th minute. Toronto native Mohammad Youssuf, well positioned in front of the net, took a pass from Pablo Urbina and kicked the ball into the back of the net, leaving McMaster keeper Angelo Cavalluzzo powerless.
The Marauders almost evened things up when Mark Reilley redirected a cross in front of the net, but V-Reds fullback Yassin Shehab El Din awkwardly deflected it just past his own goal post.
In the 26th minute, Mohammad tried to surprise McMaster’s keeper, who had ventured far in front of his net. The striker took a long-range shot from midfield and Cavalluzzo had to run back and jump to barely push the ball out of harm’s way.
The first 30 minutes of the second half were uneventful but the Marauders regrouped and came back to life. In the 75th minute, Marco Gennaccaro (Hamilton) took a good shot after a pass from Ryan Garnett that beat UNB’s goalkeeper, and suddenly the game was levelled.
Eleven minutes later, David Serafini (Oakville), who had been brought into the game a few minutes earlier, completed the comeback by scoring the winning goal on a pass by Reilly.