After Thursday’s draw at UQÀM, the Stingers men’s soccer team were back in action on Sunday afternoon. The team played host to a victorious Sherbrooke Vert et Or at Concordia Stadium.
Concordia made two changes from last Thursday’s match against the Citadins. Striker Andrew Bryan returned to the starting lineup, after coming on as a substitute on Thursday. Midfielder Claude Diesse got the start at right midfield, replacing Gabriel Quinn.
In the early moments of the afternoon, Concordia’s Eduardo Mazzonna almost gave his team the lead. However, his shot was straight at Sherbrooke goalkeeper Shawn Galego Do Couto.
Almost 20 minutes later, the Vert et Or came close to opening the scoring. Sherbrooke’s Kalambayi Junias Ngoyi got on the end of a corner kick, but his quick shot on goal was blocked in front of the goal.
In the 30th minute, Concordia had more difficulties defending a corner kick. This time, the visitors made up for their earlier miss. Center back Ilunga was left unmarked in the middle of the box and made no mistake driving home his header.
Five minutes later, Sherbrooke almost caught the Stingers on the counter-attack. Attacking through the right flank, the team was able to find space and send in a low cross. The ball bounced around inside the Concordia box until it was blasted over the bar.
The Stingers were defending more times than they had hoped for in the first half. Besides the one slip-up, the team was able to keep the score at 1-0. Fabrice Ilunga got the game-winning goal scoring with a header in the 30th minute.
In the 55th minute, the maroon and gold almost levelled the score from their own corner. Bryan got on the end of Mazzonna’s delivery, but the header was over the crossbar.
Sherbrooke continued to work the flanks. Twelve minutes later, midfielder Mohamed El Bachir Haddadi fired his cross in front of the Con U goal. Forward Djibi Diao came within inches of doubling his team’s lead.
As the match neared the end, Concordia started to see more of the ball. Unfortunately, the team made poor decisions with their possession. The Stingers were never able to connect in the final attacking third. They were unable to find the equalizing goal.
“To be honest, I don’t think we deserved to win,” said assistant coach Francois Bastien. “I think we were limited. I give all the credit to Sherbrooke because they got the three points.”
Even though Bastien conceded defeat, he does not feel Sherbrooke dominated the 90 minutes. Rather, he feels his side did not play to their potential.
“I don’t think they [Sherbrooke] did anything special,” he admitted. “I think quality was missing everywhere. It was a shocker today. We’re disappointed.”
The Stingers have a tough road trip this coming week. They travel to Quebec City on Friday to face Laval and head to Trois–Rivières to take on the Patriotes on Sunday. Concordia already has one win against UQTR this season.
“Next weekend is crucial,” said Bastien. “We need to come out with a minimum of four points to stay in the playoff hunt.”