U Sports Soccer: York narrowly get past Varsity Blues, book spot in final

OUA soccer dominated the York University campus on Friday night with the men’s final four taking place at the Alumni Field. The winners of the semi-final games on Friday earned a spot in Saturday afternoon’s championship final, but more importantly a berth to the 2019 U Sports championship in Montreal next weekend.

The first game of the day went a full 105 minutes before the Carleton Ravens got their winning goal against the Guelph Gryhpons, catapulting themselves into Saturday’s final. The recap and post-game interviews can be found on 49 Sports as well.

For the evening’s second game, fans were treated to a Toronto derby and a home game for the York Lions as they faced the University of Toronto Varsity Blues. As the commentators said as the game kicked off, “Let the battle of the 6ix commence!” and commence it did as both sides played a very fast and tough game for all 90-minutes.

There was an important face missing for Toronto as Stefan Dusicic was not found in between the pipes. The second team all-star made way for backup Sebastien Scarbarrossa in an intriguing move by head coach of Ilya Orlov.

Toronto had a prime chance a mere nine minutes into the game when Nikola Stakic was pulled down in the penalty area, a foul which led the referee to award a penalty. Under the airhorns and berating of the crowd, Stakic stepped up to the ball, only to fire it off the post and allow the game to continue at 0-0. That miss changed the storyline of the night. Up until that point, Lion’s transition and offensive game were very lacklustre, but after, it was fast and mystical.

York got their first goal off a corner kick in the 35th minute when Jorgo Nika directed his header into the low left side of the net and past the Varsity Blues goalkeeper. That goal only boosted the York Lion’s spirits and exuberance in attack more and it was clear that Toronto was going to have a tall task for the remainder of the game.

Most of the time, it is the conceding team that has the fighting spirit after conceding, but it was not abundantly clear for the Varsity Blues as their energy was nowhere close to that of York. Whether it was the crowd’s volume or purely the skill of the Lions, their players looked more present than any of the Blues.

All of those aforementioned factors led to the home side’s second goal which erased the dreams of an OUA final for Toronto. The second goal was executed with exceptional technique with Omar Marzouk firing his volley into the netting, sending his team to the final and booking them a trip to Montreal.

Neither coach was available for interview after the match, but at 49, we do want to thank Toronto head coach Ilya Orlov who has been very helpful to 49 all season.

The winner of tomorrow’s final gets a much friendlier draw in nationals, paving their road towards a U Sports championship. Both the finals on Saturday can be watched for free on OUA TV with coverage to follow here on 49.

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