November 11, 2012, UEBEC CITY (CIS) – Guillaume Surot netted the only goal of the game in the 70th minute to lift the University of Quebec at Trois-Rivières Patriotes to a historic 1-0 bronze-medal win over the tournament host Laval Rouge et Or at the CIS men’s soccer championship, Sunday afternoon at TELUS-UL Stadium.
The RSEQ champion Patriotes, making third first appearance at the CIS tourney since 2001 and only the third in program history, had never won a single game at the event before this week. They edged Alberta in Thursday’s quarter-final round before dropping a 2-0 decision to Cape Breton in Friday’s semis.
As for the host Rouge et Or, their seventh appearance in eight seasons ends with a disappointing fourth place in front of their fans. Laval beat McMaster 1-0 to open the championship before losing 3-0 to UBC on Friday.
“I didn’t think my guys had that much energy left!,” said UQTR head coach Pierre Clermont. “Before the game, we really wanted this historic medal, especially since we knew Laval were irritated about their loss against us last with week in the RSEQ final.”
UQTR defeated Laval on kicks last Sunday in the Quebec conference championship match.
Clermont believes his team deserved to win today. “Without their keeper Vincent Cournoyer and fullback Nafi Dicko-Raynauld, the score would not have been this close,” he said.
Laval bench boss Samir Ghrib’s thoughts went to the players who were wearing the red and gold uniform for the last time on Sunday. “I am disappointed, especially for those who are leaving us. The bronze medal would have been a logical finish for this team. But with the match we played, and with the lack of resources, I think UQTR deserved the win,” said Ghrib.
The Rouge et Or coach also talked about his team’s inability to put the ball in the net. “The players gave everything they had. We’ve had a big problem up front since the beginning of the season and it was the same during the championship.”
The heavy rain that was falling early in the game didn’t seem to bother the Patriotes, who got their first scoring chance in the third minute of play. Karim Acharid served a nice pass to Surot, who evaded a Laval defender before taking a close-range shot on Cournoyer. The keeper touched the ball just enough with his foot to deflect it to his left.
Laval seemed to come back to life at the 10-minute mark. Julien Priol ran past a UQTR defender on the right side before taking a powerful shot to the net, which was saved by the keeper. On the ensuing corner kick, Priol crossed the ball perfectly in front of the goal but Dicko-Raynauld’s header was pushed back by a nice header from a Patriotes defender.
Priol was at the centre of three more offensive threats before the end of the half, but each time, no teammate was able to put the ball in the back of the net.
The Patriotes came very close to open the score in the 56th minute. Valentin Seger’s shot took a deflection on a Laval player, but Cournoyer was able to make the save.
It was only a matter of time for Trois-Rivières however, and in the 70th minute, Surot scored one of the most beautiful goals of the tournament. Even with three defenders around him, the native of Cholet, France, managed to get through them and take a quick shot that found its way between Cournoyer’s legs.
The Rouge et Or had some opportunities to level the score, notably in the 76th minute when Kenneth Beugre’s superb free kick from 25 yards out was saved brilliantly by keeper Raphaël Bélanger Vaillancourt, who dived to his right.
Dicko-Raynauld kept his team in the match a few moments later when his perfectly-timed slide kept a ball hit by Surot out of an abandoned net. The Patriotes would still hold on to win the game and the bronze medal.