(Photo: F10 Sports)
(Photo: Kevin Raposo Photography)
(Photo: F10 Sports)
In an action-packed match, Masters FA earned a 2-2 aggregate draw at Oakville Blue Devils' home, advancing to the 2019 League1 Ontario Men's Championship Final due to the away goals tiebreaker.
The first leg ended 0-0 on September 14, 2019, at L'Amoreaux with seven yellow cards (five to Oakville Blue Devils' players) and two dismissals: Anthony Wright from Masters and Deryn Armstrong from Oakville, who was suspended from the second leg match.
Right off the bat, Oakville caused the first scare as a Spencer Barber shot from outside the box went inches wide. Later, the hosts had another opportunity to take the lead, but unmarked Rajvir Kahlon's strike from inside the box on a cross from the right was off target.
After those incidents, Masters woke up, closing spaces in the back-line and moving their lines forward. They started to manage the game and could have found the net at the end of the first half.
On 42 minutes, Daunte Walkes burst toward the byline, taking on three Oakville players and their keeper Lucas Birnstingl before passing the ball to Francis Ameyaw, who saw his finish cleared off the line.
Three minutes later, in the first minute of the two minutes of first half stoppage time, Walkes almost scored, but his shot from six yards went an agonizing inch wide.
The hosts started the second forty-five minutes with three changes as Rajvir Kahlon, Hitesh Joshi, and Reshon Phillip were replaced by Braden Culver, Konner McNamara, and Logan Podrebarac.
Podrebarac impressed instantly with two attempts: first, his shot from inside the box was cleared off the line by Shawn Brown, and then his strike from ten yards was controlled by the Masters keeper, Spiridon Koskinas.
Suddenly, it was a siege on the visitors with shots and crosses coming in from all angles. Carlo DiFeo's shot from the corner of the box went over, and minutes later, Barber rattled the frame of the goal and his strike bounced back off the bar.
At the 66th minute, Oakville deservedly took the lead. Evan James controlled a Barber cross from the left side, turned and finished it low from point-blank range.
After the goal, Masters pushed forward to find goals. Substitute Eddy Dabire's shot from the edge of the box went inches wide, and then a close-range attempt from another substitute, Anwar Al-sawi, after a Walkes' rainbow pass ended in a corner kick.
The pressure finally paid off on 76 minutes, Birnstingl parrying a ball directly to Adam Czerkawski, who nodded it in off the line.
The final 15 minutes was wide open, with chances for both sides. The hosts pushed forward even further, and Masters relied on counter-attacks.
On the fourth minute of the six minutes of the stoppage time, a long ball over the top sent Walkes down the left. He ran towards the goal and beat the keeper in a one-on-one situation, sending the Masters' fans into a frenzy.
It was not the end of the story as two minutes later Oakville's James tied it up with an outstanding attempt on a free kick, leaving the keeper standing, but a 2-2 was not enough to send his team to the final.
Masters FA will play the 2019 League1 Ontario Men's Championship Final against FC London on September 27 (7:30 p.m.) at Ontario Soccer Centre, Woodbridge
(Photo: F10 Sports)
FC London advanced to the 2019 League1 Ontario Men’s Championship Final after a 10-0 second leg victory against Alliance United FC, following up on a 5-0 first-leg away victory six days prior.
London would come out with all guns blazing as Bradley Heath (4') finished past Alliance keeper Tristan Martino after the defender stayed in an advanced position following a corner kick.
Minutes later, Tomas Alvarez (9’) would be played through on goal and blast his shot past Martino to double his side's lead. Martino would come up with a fantastic save to keep the score at 2-0 before defender Uche Osamusali would out-due his keeper with an incredible, sliding goal-line clearance.
However, London would find their third when Chad GoPaul (29') would show his composure at the top of the Alliance penalty area to tuck his shot into the bottom left corner.
The best goal of the night would come when Mohammad Reza Nafar (36') would complete a nifty dribbling sequence past five Alliance players before chipping the oncoming keeper. Surely a contender for goal-of-the-year.
The home side would enter the interval four goals to the good. London would waste no time making it five when Chad Gopaul (47') grabbed his second after pouncing on a Martino rebound to slot it past the Alliance keeper.
Fifteen minutes later it was his brother, Ethan Gopaul (62'), who would add to his tally for the year after finishing into the bottom corner with a smooth one-touch finish.
Mike Sneddon (64', 77', 79'), who only entered the match in the 54th minute, would grab three goals for himself, combining with a Ben Vyfschaft (67') finish to end the misery for Alliance and wrap up a 10-0 victory for the home side.
Alliance can hold their heads high after a largely unexpected regular season which saw them finish a record third in the table with the best defensive record in the league.
FC London will now prepare for the 2019 League1 Men's Championship Final against Masters FA on Friday September 27 (8 p.m.) at the Ontario Soccer Centre, 7601 Martin Grove Road, Woodbridge.