UBC reaches 16th CIS final, looks to add to record tally

UBC Thunderbirds

Nov. 9, 2012, QUEBEC CITY (CIS) – The UBC Thunderbirds earned the right to play in their record 16th CIS men’s soccer championship final with another convincing win, this time a 3-0 semifinal victory over the tournament host Laval Rouge et Or Friday evening at TELUS-Université Laval Stadium.

Sunday at 2 p.m. EST, UBC will go for its 12th Sam Davidson Memorial Trophy, eight more than any other school. To claim their first CIS title since 2007, the Canada West champions will have to prevail over the first-time finalist Cape Breton Capers, the AUS champions.

The Rouge et Or still have a chance to put their hands on some hardware in front of their home crowd when they play conference rival UQTR for bronze Sunday at 11:30 am EST. The affair will be a rematch of last Sunday’s RSEQ final won by the Patriotes on kicks.

UBC head coach Mike Mosher was not overly impressed with his team’s performance in the win, but in the end, the result is the most important thing. “It was a real battle in the first half. It wasn’t very pretty, but there are different ways to win games and we played what was in front of us. Fortunately, we got a scrappy goal, and then the goal early in the second half really changed the game,” Mosher said.

“We knew the game would open up a little bit more in the second half and that second one certainly helped to send us on our way,” he continued.

Laval sideline boss Samir Ghrib had good words for the winning side. “We played against a very good team, but you can’t beat UBC by making so many mistakes. The first two goals were direct consequences of mistakes on our part,” he said.

“We are already looking ahead to our bronze medal match on Sunday. It’s a medal game, and we will do everything to win it. Out of respect for the organization, we have to finish well at home with a win,” Ghrib added.

The first half was played in two stages. During the first 30 minutes, the T-Birds pretty much did what they wanted on the turf. Laval goalkeeper Vincent Cournoyer had to save two glorious chances in the third and 11th minutes, stopping strikes from Reynold Stewart and Gregory Smith. Stewart also hit the post to Cournoyer’s right at the 20-minute mark.

The inevitable happened in the 22nd minute. Canada West player of the year Gagandeep Dosanjh of Abbotsford, B.C., took advantage of confusion in front of the Laval net after a UBC throw to score his third of the tournament and put the Birds up 1-0.

Ironically, Laval had its best chances after 2012 CIS MVP Samuel Georget, obviously bothered by an injury, left the game in the 33rd minute. A couple of serious threats deep in UBC’s territory brought the Rouge et Or close to tying the contest, most notably when a corner kick from Jamel Berbèche was deflected by Nafi Dicko-Raynauld right on the goal post.

Dosanjh quieted the TELUS-UL Stadium crowd with his second of the game only moments after the teams came back on the pitch for the second half. The T-Birds striker took advantage of a defensive mistake to put his team up 2-0 and leave the Rouge et Or in a tough position.

Things did not improve for the locals when Berbèche was cautioned twice in two minutes and was ejected from the game at the 54-minute mark. Laval would then have to come from behind playing a man short.

UBC took full advantage of the situation and produced many more scoring chances. Dosanjh himself had five good opportunities to complete his hat-trick. It was ultimately Stewart who sealed the victory in the 82nd minute when he was nicely fed by Steve Johnson deep into Laval’s box. With only the keeper to beat, Stewart made no mistake and made it a 3-0 final.

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