It was wet, sloppy, dangerous and downright ugly. However, the Concordia men’s soccer team couldn’t have cared less as they captured the final playoff spot in the QSSF division by edging the McGill Redmen 1-0 last Sunday afternoon.
While most of the fans in attendance sought shelter underneath the stands, a battle was being fought on Loyola field where the loser would have their season cut short.
“We knew today was going to be a war and not a soccer game,” said Francois Bastien, who scored the game’s only goal.
There was added pressure put on the team, as a loss would have marked the final game for fifth-year players Ammar Badawiegh and Theodosios Analitis.
The early minutes of the first half indicated that not only would there be ugly play but even uglier scoring.
McGill nearly notched the opening goal when some confusion in front of the Concordia goal led to a loose ball nearly trickling past the keeper. However, it bounced off the post.
Apart from that near miss, it looked like it would be an uneventful and dull half. Then Bastien and Badawiegh came along and hooked up for what proved to be the game-winning goal.
After switching their positions, Bastien was left all alone on the left side of the net where Badawiegh found him with a perfect pass that he easily deposited in the goal.
The second half started off with a bang as McGill pressed hard in front of the net and looked sure to tie the game. They were turned away, however, as Concordia keeper Steve McCauley and the rest of the defensive tightened up and kept away any McGill snipers.
While both teams would get their fair share of scoring chances throughout the half, what was most notable was the fact that many players had a hard time staying on their two feet.
A series of dangerous slides and near collisions was bordering somewhere on hilarity and downright frightening.
Even Badawiegh, who was having an impressive game, left the match on two occasions after getting hurt. Fortunately it didn’t appear to be too severe as he returned to the game.
The Redmen, finally starting to panic, put on the most offensive pressure they had the entire game by nearly scoring on a header by Fernando Dalviso and a couple of other shots from close range. McCauley and the rest of the squad kept up a tight defence though, keeping the ball out of the goal.
The Redmen would pull out all the stops in the final moments of the game as they brought their keeper into the Stingers’ zone to try and get the equalizer. It would be to no avail however as the Maroon and Gold advanced to the playoffs where they will play at UQTR on Friday at 1:00 p.m.
“This really feels great cause we needed this win,” Badawiegh said. “Now we’re really into this and we want to go to the Nationals.