Written by Samuel Hill
Photo by Valerie Wutti
TORONT – It was the second of two meetings between the second and third-ranked team in the country, and the array of talent on both teams was on full display yet again on Sunday in Toronto as York and Carleton tied 1-1.
Yesterday’s match was another intense, feisty affair between two evenly matched teams. Carleton started off the game the better of the two sides, and it was clear they weren’t discouraged by the loss on Friday night. The Ravens felt they played better than the 2-0 score indicated and showed the Lions early Sunday that they wouldn’t back down from a fight.
Gabriel Bitar (Ottawa, Ont.) was all over the ball in the first fifteen minutes as his quality was shining through the cloudy Toronto sky. His most dangerous contribution was a lovely slip pass that cut through three York defenders to find the feed of Rapahel Garcia (Ottawa, Ont.), but the right-back’s shot was straight at the Lions keeper.
The Ravens were playing a near-perfect game, they had five shots before York even had one, including a post, but they still found themselves behind after eighteen minutes. A careless Carleton turnover in their half led to the Lions getting a penalty after a York player was hacked down just inside the box. Star striker Merci Yuma (Toronto, Ont.) stepped up to take the spot-kick and slotted it home cooly to tie for the OUA lead in goals with twelve.
However, the Ravens responded like any top team does and went back on the attack. It was constant pressure from Carleton as their counter-pressing style suffocated York’s defence. The Lions struggled to get the ball out of their half, but still, the Ravens couldn’t find a way past York keeper George Tzimas (Vaughan, Ont.).
That was until an individual piece of brilliance from Raven winger Matteo De Brienne (Ottawa, Ont.) saw Carleton draw level on the stroke of halftime. It was the type of goal that you dream about scoring as a kid. Ravens centre-back Tareq Hamad (Dhahran, Saudi Arabia) played a floated ball over the top, which landed perfectly on the left foot of De Brienne, who took it on the volley straight out of the air into the far corner. It was a goal that Carleton thoroughly deserved, and it will be a pleasant memory for De Brienne.
The away side came out firing in the second half, but York withstood the barrage of shots from the Ravens. The game started to turn into a bit of a chess match as neither team wanted to take too big of a risk and leave themselves exposed to a counter-attack. Carleton didn’t let the match fizzle out, though, as the trio of Garcia, De Brienne, and Bitar continued to dominate the ball and create chances. Despite eight second-half shots, the Ravens had to settle for just a point.
On paper, taking just one of six possible points from the team directly behind you in the national rankings doesn’t seem ideal. But considering how well Carleton performed in both matches and the fact that back-to-back OUA MVP Dario Conte (Ottawa, Ont.) didn’t suit up for either game, it’s hard not to see this weekend as a promising one for the Ravens.
The Ravens have just two games left before they get ready for the OUA playoffs and eventually Nationals on their home pitch. Their next home match is at the Ravens’ Perch on Sunday, October 31st. The kickoff is set for 3:30 p.m.