It was cool but the sun was peaking out over the UCC home turf when the Blues took to the pitch to face Appleby College in the CISAA semi-final. Perfect “ football” weather! This was to be the third meeting between the teams. The Blues defeated the Blue Dogs previously in League play and in the CAIS National finals. Naturally AC would be determined. The AC squad lined up in a new defensive formation with some of their strongest players in the backline. The Blues started well and strikers Goldhar and Langlois as well as midfielder Brown made some penetrating runs into the AC “defensive wall”. AC set the physical tone early when their lone striker received a yellow card after running through Theodore Heinzman well after the ball was gone.
Finally in the 22nd minute midfielder Justin Kim penetrated the AC defense on the left flank, crossed into the box, where HiIli rose high and buried a strong header into the AC net. 1:0! AC reeled and abandoned their defensive formation and one minute later, Hilli dribbled through the
AC defense and rang a blistering shot of the bar. Leading scorer Oscar Brown followed the rebound a buried it to put the Blues two ahead thus netting his 19th goal of the season !
After halftime, the play deteriorated into a chippy physical contest culminating with a second yellow card offense to AC #7 after two consecutive blatant fouls. Despite being a man down Appleby threw everybody forward aggressively and keeper Jeremy Zhang had to show skill and bravery even after taking an elbow to the teeth from one of the Appleby strikers. The referee had to stop the game several times to calm the proceedings down but the Blues defense of Yatchew, Ashebir, Broer, Heinzman and Cooper held strong to preserve another “clean sheet”.
The squad would like to thank all of our loyal fans including captains Jamie Clark (05) who flew in from London, England and Kal Shaw (17) who jet-ed in from Princeton, as well as team alumni Mo Assaf and Oli Mugabo. Soccer legends Johnny McGrath and Bernard Lecerf were also in attendance to witness (and approve of) the victory :) Men of the Match: Hilli and Jeremy.
CISSAA championship game will be on Wednesday afternoon (1:30 PM) at UCC . The Blues will face our perennial rivals SMC who defeated SAC 3:2 in the other semifinal.