Written by U SPORTS
Photo by James Hajjar
MONTREAL, Quebec – Gabriel Wiethaeuper-Balbinotti’s second goal of the tournament in extra time was the difference as the UQTR Patriotes qualified for their first Canadian university final, downing the Carleton Ravens 1-0 at the 2019 U SPORTS Men’s Soccer Championship presented by La Cage – Brasserie sportive in Montreal.
Patriotes keeper Félix Clapin-Girard made five saves, including a pair in the extra session for his second win in as many days. Nick Jeffs made six saves in a losing cause for the OUA champions.
It was a historic victory for the Patriotes, who for the first time have qualified for the U SPORTS national championship match. Their previous best finish was a bronze medal at the 2012 championship at Laval.
“This is a really special moment for us,” said Patriotes head coach Shany Black. “I am so glad that we’ve accomplished this feat with this particular group, as we have so many fifth-year players. We’re making history and hopefully we’ll capture a title.”
The road to the championship game was not an easy one for the Patriotes, as Carleton held the advantage in the opening 45 minutes of play, outshooting UQTR 6-3. But the UQTR defence held and the teams headed to the locker room in a scoreless draw.
“We controlled the start of the game but things just didn’t go our way,” said Ravens head coach Kwesi Loney.
UQTR created more offensive chances in the second half but were unable to find the target.
In the 88th minute, Carleton forward Daniel Assaf picked up his second yellow card on a 50-50 play resulting in his team playing down a man for the entire 30-minute extra period.
Wiethaeuper-Balbinotti scored in the first minute of extra time and the Patriotes defence held enough to qualify for Sunday’s final.
“Although we were playing with only 10 men, we created lots of chances in overtime and came close to tying the game,” said Loney. “But I congratulate UQTR for their win.”
UQTR will face the winner of Friday’s second semifinal between the Cape Breton Capers and the defending champion Montreal Carabins in Sunday’s gold medal game at 2:30 p.m. ET / 11:30 a.m. PT. The Ravens will face the loser of that match for the bronze on Sunday at 11:30 a.m. ET / 8:30 a.m. PT.
Nike Top Performers
UQTR : Guillaume Comtois-Noel
Carleton : Tony Mikhael