Saturday, 5 November 2011

OUA Men's Final Four - Toronto 4, YorkU 1

The first game of the Men's OUA Final Four was played today between the University of Toronto Varsity Blues and the York University Lions. York came into this game as the undisputed #1 team in the country and Toronto was the lowest ranked team in the OUA Final Four.

Last year the two teams faced each other in the OUA final with Toronto winning in penalties after a scoreless draw. John Smits of Toronto stole the game with two penalty stops. Today? Well, much different today.

The game started off with amazing speed and York tallied a goal in the 5th minute when Adrian Pena fired in a long free kick that deflected off of a Toronto defender and into the back of the net. Toronto answered six minutes later when Ezequiel Lubocki jumped on a loose ball and put it past York's first team All-Star goalkeeper Sotiri Variokostas.

York's top goalscorer Alon Badat went down with an ankle injury soon after, but was able to continue. This had a huge impact in the 25th minute when Toronto captain Geoffrey Borgmann tackled Badat in the area from behind. A penalty was awarded to York. Badat stepped up and took it, but Smits dove the right way and got both hands on the ball to keep the scoreline 1-1. Moments later Badat asked for a substitution and did not return to the game. At this time, Nesbitt from Toronto was shown the first caution of the match for dissent.

The next play left York defending a corner and one of their two centrebacks, Charlie Trafford down in the area clutching his arm and shoulder. He was taken off the field and, like Badat, he did not return to the match. York took their first caution in the 40th when defender Casey D'Mello was shown one for unsporting behaviour. The game went to half-time with a 1-1 scoreline.

The second half started brightly for the Blues, and they had been looking significantly better than the Lions since the penalty save. In the 60th, York's Branko Masjstorovic was shown a straight red card for tackling James Greatorex in the area. Lubocki stepped up to take the penalty and hammered it past Variokostas to give Toronto a 2-1 lead. In the 75th Borgmann chipped the ball into the back of the net to give Toronto a cushion and a 3-1 lead.

York began stepping up their play, but the Blues were outplaying them end to end on the pitch, showing an enormous amount of confidence.

Jermaine Burrell put the icing on the Blues' cake as a York defender tried to clear a ball from the goal area and it hit Burrell in the back and deflected right into the goal for a 4-1 lead, and final.

The momentum of the game completely changed when Smits stopped Badat on the penalty, and the Lions never seemed to recover. Losing their top striker and one of their centrebacks to injury certainly didn't help, and the red card to their other centreback finished them off.

With the win, Toronto booked their ticket to Victoria for the CIS Championships, joining the Montreal Carabins, Cape Breton Capers, McGill, and Victoria Vikes. The second OUA team will be determined in the matchup between McMaster and Carleton later this afternoon.

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