Hamilton City has advanced to the championship final after eliminating York Region Shooters, who had been the leading contender for Canadian Soccer League honours at the beginning of playoffs.
Hamilton City, playing its first season in the Steel City after transferring from London, ousted York Region 3-1 on penalty kicks when the teams were deadlocked 1-1 after regulation time and 30 minutes of extra time Sunday (Oct. 23).
York Region and Hamilton were scoreless until late in the second half in the second semi-final played at the Joan of Arc Stadium in Maple. Midfielder David Guzman broke the deadlock shortly after entering the game as a substitute. Guzman took a cross from the right wing to beat Hamilton City goalkeeper Adrian Becic at 76 minutes to give York Region a 1-0 lead.
Hamilton City equalized just two minutes later when Frane Grbesa found the net past York Region goalkeeper Adrian Ibanez and the 1-1 score held until the end of regulation time and 30 minutes of extra time.
Penalty kicks taken and Igor Krmar, Zdenko Jurcevic and Miroslav Cabrilo found the net for Hamilton City, while Richard West was the lone scorer of four penalties taken by York Region Shooters.
York Region finished on top of the table to take the First Division title at the end of the regular season.
In the other semi-final, Serbian White Eagles defeated FC Ukraine United. Ukraine United finished second in regular season play.
White Eagles and FC Ukraine United were scoreless at Esther Shiner Stadium in North York until Miroslav Jovanovic of Serbian Eagles beat Ukraine United ‘keeper Nazar Lytvyn with a low shot from 12 yards at the 71st minute mark and the goal was enough to settle what had been a hard fought encounter throughout.
Ukraine United pressed for an equalizer in the last 20 minutes, a time during which Serbian Eagles were reduced to 10 men following the ejection by referee Ramee Arbaji of Djordje Jocic at 88 minutes. Jocic was shown the red card following a second caution.
Serbian White Eagles and Hamilton City will meet at Birchmount Stadium in Scarborough Sunday (Oct. 30) at 2 p.m.
CSL PLAYOFFS SUMMARY
York Region Shooters 5, Milton 0
Hamilton City 3, Scarborough SC 0
FC Ukraine United 3, Brantford Galaxy 0
Serbian White Eagles 1, Toronto Atomic FC 0
Serbian White Eagles 1, FC Ukraine United 0
York Region Shooters 1, Hamilton City 1 (after extra time)
(Hamilton City won 3-1 on penalty kicks)
CSL CHAMPIONSHIP FINAL
Sunday, Oct. 30 Birchmount Stadium, 2 p.m. Serbian White Eagles vs Hamilton City