November 8, 2012, QUEBEC CITY (CIS) – The host team of this 43rd edition of the CIS men’s soccer championship, the Laval Rouge et Or, held on to a one-goal lead claimed in the first half en route to a 1-0 victory over the McMaster Marauders in the last quarter-final of opening day at TELUS-UL Stadium, Thursday evening.

The RSEQ finalists will face the Canada West champion UBC Thunderbirds in the late semifinal Friday at 6:30 pm EST. Laval is going for a second national title, three years after the lone triumph in program history in 2009. As for the Marauders, they will battle the UNB Varsity Reds in the consolation round at 1:30 pm EST.

After the game, Laval coach Samir Ghrib talked about the pride he was feeling towards his players. “We didn’t play well recently but today, tactically, technically and psychologically, the guys were there. I couldn’t have asked for a better performance,” said Ghrib.

“We played against one of the best teams in the country. We were the underdogs, but it shows that when we work together and when we believe in our goal, we can get a result like tonight,” he added.

McMaster coach Dino Perri, whose troops were ranked third in the country in the final Top 10 of the season, talked about the difficulty of playing in a hostile environment. “We knew it was going to be difficult to play the host team on the first day. They controlled the first half, as we came out a little bit flat. We made some adjustments in the second half and I think we outplayed them but we just couldn’t put the ball in the back of the net,” said Perri.

The first scoring chance of the game belonged to the Marauders. In the 13th minute, David Serafini was left alone in the box, but his shot was stopped by Laval’s keeper Vincent Cournoyer, who had to dive to his left to make the save.

The Rouge et Or then took control of the game, getting a few corner kicks. One of them ended up in the net when Samuel Georget, the CIS player of the year from France, sent a perfect ball which found Goran Rimac, who didn’t miss his chance and headed it home to put Laval up front 1-0, to the delight of a large crowd gathered at TELUS-UL Stadium.

Leading by one at the break, Laval came close to scoring again only three minutes into the second frame. Following a great move deep in the offensive zone, Julien Priol crossed a ball that rolled dangerously in front of the McMaster net. Patrice Dion, well posted behind his defender, couldn’t touch the ball however and the score remained 1-0.

McMaster then had a golden opportunity to tie the game when Ryan Garnett was left alone right in front of Cournoyer’s net. Seemingly surprised to be all alone with an open cage, his deflection went wide to the right of the Laval keeper, leaving the host team up front.

The OUA champions went all-in in the final minutes of the contest. At the 85-minute mark, a couple of headers came very close on back-to-back free kicks and corner kick. Despite playing on their heels, the Rouge et Or held on to win the game and move on to the next round.