FC Winnipeg Lions win 10th Manitoba Cup provincial title

FC Winnipeg Lions won their 10th Manitoba Cup provincial title to qualify for the 2017 Toyota National Championships Challenge Trophy finals. FC Winnipeg Lions won the men's final 3:1 over Winnipeg Ital-Inter SC on Saturday 26 August, their second consecutive provincial title and 10th title in 23 years since 1995.

A.J. Naumiuk was the hero as he scored both the opening goal (20') and go-ahead goal (59') in the second half. Shemar Thomas scored for Ital-Inter SC (54') while Go Kumagai scored the go-ahead goal for FC Winnipeg Lions (85').

"All the credit goes to the players as they came prepared after a good week of training," said Tony Nocita, FC Winnipeg Lions head coach. "Their tactical awareness was really good and we could have scored a couple of more. The team played really well and they managed the game from start to finish. I am really proud of the guys."

Naumiuk scored his first goal on a penalty and his second after a good chase to tap in the eventual winner. Kumagai scored his goal late after he chipped the oncoming goalkeeper.

In the provincial final, FC Winnipeg Lions' lineup featured Sean Golden in goal, Domi Antonini at right back, Andrew Aitken and Adam Hajkowski at centre back, Aaron Hidalgo-Mazzei at left bak, Tom Foderaro and Matt Appler at centre midfield, Anthony Lourence as an attacking midfielder, Edin Kurbegovic and A.J. Naumiuk as wingers, and Brendan Rattai up front. Go Kumagai, Krzysztof Szulc, Braeden Hidalgo-Mazzei, and Hugo Figueiredo featured as substitutes while Jordan Smith Smith, Tevin Olivier-Job, Moreno Alberti, Seifeddine Dhaoui, and Dan Keith all dressed for the final. Zachary Harrison was unavailable through injury.

Heading to the Toyota National Championships, FC Winnipeg Lions will face Ontario winners, Yukon winners, Québec winners, and Fredericton Picaroons Reds (New Brunswick) in Group B action starting 4 October. The men's Challenge Trophy finals run 4-9 October in Surrey, British Columbia.

Canada Soccer’s Toyota National Championships serves as our nation’s premier amateur competition, with the 2017 edition featuring close to 600 clubs from across the country competing for a spot at one of three locations: the men’s Challenge Trophy and women’s Jubilee Trophy finals in Surrey, British Columbia; the boys and girls U-17 Cup finals in Fredericton, New Brunswick; and the boys and girls U-15 Cup finals in Calgary, Alberta. The Toyota National Championships provide a meaningful soccer experience for host cities and participating teams, as well as the players, coaches, support staff, officials, and volunteers. These competitions are complimented by both the Futsal Canadian Championship and the Canadian Championship featuring Canada’s professional clubs.

With files from Rochelle Dziadekwich