Written by David Velasco Arenas
Photo by Valerie Wutti
OTTAWA, Ontario – The Carleton University Ravens and York University Lions men’s soccer teams will face each other for the second time in a row in the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) final match after winning their respective semi-final games today at the MNP, Park.
The Ravens moved on to their second straight OUA final after shutting down the Western Mustangs 3-0 in the first semi-final, while the Lions reached their sixth straight OUA final after a 1-0 win against Ryerson University Rams.
After 30 minutes of battling for possession and few wide shots by Western and Carleton, Mustang Belal Halbouni missed to put Western ahead of the game in their best opportunity yet after Ravens’ keeper Nick Jeffs deflected the attempt with the tip of his fingers on what could have been a completely different scenario for both squads. Not too long after the next Mustangs attempt, OUA’s MVP Dario Conte responded, pulling the trigger inside the penalty box after Dante Cobisa brought down the ball on Emad Houache’s left cross to open the scoring 1-0 for the Ravens.
Only five minutes passed, and Carleton moved up on the board with their second. This time Gabriel Bitar placed the ball in between Mustang keeper’s legs after a double step inside the box, cutting with his left foot for the 2-0 lead before the break.
Coming into the second half, the Mustangs battled to get back in the game, but Ravens head coach Kwesi Loney’s squad was able to settle and take possession of the ball through out. “We just needed to be calmer in the first half and control our nerves coming into the second to start playing our game, keep possession of the ball and moving forward.”
After Carleton created a couple more chances, Mustang’s keeper Khody Thompson denied the Ravens’ a beautiful opportunity, shutting down Gabriel Bitar’s penalty kick. However, that did not prevent Bitar from scoring again, as he blitzed past a Mustangs defender on a counter attack to deposit the ball on Western’s back of the net for Carleton’s third and final 3-0.
“Today the team showed their commitment in their pursuit of excellence. We have matured from last year. The players’ consistency improved the team’s performance and we are better prepared heading into the final game”, said coach Loney.
In the second semi-final, the Lions needed well over 60 minutes to put themselves ahead in the game.
Despite a scoreless first half, both teams had a flurry of chances to open the scoring and while Ryerson had better control coming from the back, York created the best opportunities of the half with five shots on goal and three for Ryerson.
After 65 minutes of battling in the middle of the field, the Lions scored the game winning goal on a mistake by Ryerson’s defense. The Rams’ inability to clear the ball inside the 6 yard box on a corner kick created the opportunity for Lion Josh Kiselyov to dig the ball into the back of the net and score the game winning goal that put York in their sixth consecutive OUA final.
“We have to be hungry in front of the net and make every opportunity we have into a positive one. We encountered Ryerson’s mistake and our team took that opportunity.” Lions Head Coach, Carmine Issaco
The Ravens will be looking to capture the Blackwood Cup after last year’s attempt against York University, while the Lions will seek to reclaim their seventh OUA championship and fifth in the last six years.
OUA Bronze medal match
Ryerson vs Western
Saturday, November 3 – 1pm
MNP Park – Ottawa, ON
OUA Championship match
Carleton vs York
Saturday, November 3 – 4pm
MNP Park – Ottawa, ON