Windsor Stars dropped points at home for the second week in a row, as Vaughan Azzurri scored two in the first twenty minutes (15' Dayonn Harris, 19' Dena Iezady) to march to a 2-1 win. Stars' striker Gino Berardi got the only marker for the home team (38') but the Stars could not find a way through for the equalizer.
"The penalty after we had a 2-0 lead early in the game kept them in the game and shifted the flow in favour of them," said Vaughan head coach Carmine Isacco. "We have to be better at managing the game, and that will come with time as we are still working on getting everyone to full match fitness. We are content with the result but we know there is still lots in the season to play so we hope we can work to minimize mistakes."
Isacco identified Stars' player Michael Pio as a constant threat:
"[He] found space behind the mid, got turned and dribbled at our back four, and was a handful to handle," he recalled. "Almost scored a great solo goal too. He was everywhere, and caused our backs a problem."
Isacco credited the Stars high press as a major challenge for Vaughan, as the Stars effectively removed options for the Azzurri to play through the middle to central mids or strikers, and kept the visitors pegged back for much of the game.
Unsurprisingly, given the nature of a contest that required the Azzurri to demonstrate defensive integrity under relentless pressure, Isacco picked out one of his defenders as his player of the game. In addition, he selected attacker Dayonn Harris, who opened the scoring.
"Joey Amato was strong in the air and did not let much get past him, and Dayonn caused a lot of problems on the wing, helping us get advanced and had a great finish off the cross.
Stars head coach Shane Topalovic said veteran midfielder Stephen Ademolu was a great inspiration to his side, and "played every man as hard as possible, never gave up and really motivated the Stars even when they were down."
Topalovic also credited Vaughan's pacey wing forward Dayonn Harris for an outstanding performance, and thought the Azzurri's defense effectively shut down the Stars in the final third, keeping them away from the net and nullifying the chance of a possible equalizer.
"The key moment in the match for us was when we got the penalty shot, which gave us new life and more energy," said Topalovic. "It gave us the feeling that we weren't out of the game even though we were down by two goals."