A bicycle-kick stunner at the final whistle pushed the game into extra time, but the Montreal Carabins overpowered the Trinity Western Spartans in the U SPORTS Men’s Soccer Championship semifinals on Friday night, earning a 3-1 win with two goals in the extra session.
Down 1-0 in the 93rd minute, after a free kick was partially cleared by the Carabins’ Aboubacar Sissoko, Spartans midfielder Vaggeli Boucas got on his bike to deliver the unbelievable finish. Dropping the ball over the defence and just in behind Montreal keeper Félix Goulet, Boucas had the B.C.-based crowd roaring.
With all the momentum at their backs, Trinity Western was stunned just five minutes into the first extra-time session, as a wonderful ball from Frédéric Lajoie-Gravelle on the fast break picked out Guy-Frank Essomé Penda, and the forward dropped in a header to take the lead back for Montreal.
Montreal added to the lead shortly after, as Lajoie-Gravelle was taken down by Spartans defender Noah Kroeker in the box. Zakaria Messoudi took the ensuing penalty and made no mistake in adding the insurance marker.
“It was a great Canadian game, a great U SPORTS game,” noted Montreal head coach Pat Raimondo. “Trinity (Western) is a very good team, it was a high-level game, and exciting to be a part of it. Both teams did well. My boys responded well in overtime.”
The first quality chance of the opening frame came from the Carabins. In the 23rd minute, Pierre Lamothe and Lajoie-Gravelle combined on a run on goal. After laying it off to Lajoie-Gravelle on the left flank, Lamothe nearly converted on the veteran forward’s rebound, but his attempt sailed over the bar from in close.
A flurry of chances off a Lajoie-Gravelle corner, including a rocket from Lamothe and a 30-foot volley from Sissoko that climbed just over the bar, saw Montreal threaten again around the half-hour mark.