EDMONTON – The high-powered offence of the No. 1 ranked University of Alberta Golden Bears soccer team was on full display on Sunday afternoon, as they cruised past the visiting Saskatchewan Huskies 4-1 at Foote Field.
Fifth-year midfielder Ajay Khabra scored twice in the first half, while Ajeej Sarkaria scored his fourth goal of the campaign, and Daniel Barker-Rothschild adding his second of the season for Alberta. Rookie Zach Edwards, meanwhile, scored the lone Huskie goal.
Despite entering Sunday’s tilt as the underdog, Saskatchewan came out aggressive to open the match. The Huskies aggression and confidence led to a pair of early chances, however neither shot from inside 20 yards found the net.
The early scare woke up the defending champion Golden Bears, who wound up taking control of the game in the 27th minute. The Huskies attack left them shorthanded defensively, and Khabra was able to capitalize with his second goal of the season in the 27th, off a fantastic pass from Tolu Esan.
Khabra added his second of the game, and third of the season just two minutes later, heading in a beautifully crossed ball of the foot of Tomasz Chodorski.
The Bears onslaught didn’t end there, as Sarkaria notched his fourth goal in as many games in the 32nd minute, tapping in the pass from Sebastian Crema.
Alberta wouldn’t let up to open the second half, however their shot accuracy kept them from adding to their three-goal lead. Saskatchewan finally answered in the 48th, as Edwards was able to beat his defender in the box, and head-in his first of the season.
That would be as close as the visitors came to levelling the match, as the Huskies were forced down to 10 players following the second yellow card of the match for Bryce Marinus.
Barker-Rothschild sealed the Alberta win in the 64th, stealing the ball from a Huskie defender inside the box, before beating U of S keeper Kyle Moore on the abbreviated breakaway.
The 3-0-1 Golden Bears will get their first ‘bye’ week of the season next weekend, before visiting UFV and UNBC on September 15th and 17th. Saskatchewan, meanwhile, will return home next week, as they welcome Mount Royal and Calgary to Saskatoon.