FC Winnipeg Lions win 2012 Manitoba Cup
Posted on 18 August 2012 in ↳ Challenge Trophy
Third time is the charm: after back-to-back defeats in the provincial final, FC Winnipeg Lions won the 2012 Manitoba Cup championship on kicks from the penalty mark in Winnipeg, MB. The Winnipeg-based team, formerly known as Sons of Italy, won 4-3 on kicks after a 3:3 draw with Hellas SC in the 18 August championship final.
Both FC Winnipeg Lions and Hellas SC will represent Manitoba at the 2012 Canadian Soccer Association National Championships in the senior men's Challenge Trophy competition. As host of this year's two senior competitions (men's and women's), Manitoba has been alloted two representatives for the 3-8 October club championship. Both FC Winnipeg Lions and Hellas SC qualified after winning their 14 August semi-final matches: an 8:0 win for FC Winnipeg Lions over Bonivital United and a 2:0 win for Hellas SC over Winnipeg Juventus.
In the 2012 Manitoba Cup provincial final, FC Winnipeg Lions took the lead on three separate occasions, with Domi Antonini making it 1-0 before A.J. Naumiuk gave the team 2-1 and 3-2 leads. Each time, Hellas SC answered the call, with equalisers by Chris Musto, Jorge Mendez and Edin Kurbegovic (the last of which was scored in added time).
"I wasn't even nervous at this point because we had been here before," said FC Winnipeg Lions coach Tony Nocita. "We talked about it before we went into extra time: we knew what it was all about because we had been here before."
Indeed, FC Winnipeg Lions lost the 2011 MSA Cup final to Juventus on kicks from the penalty mark. The two sides had played to a 0:0 draw before Juventus won 3-2 on kicks. In 2010, FC Winnipeg Lions lost 3:4 after extra time to Lucania. That year, the Lions had fought back from an 0-3 deficit, only to concede the winner in extra time.
In the 2012 final, goalkeeper Steve Sawatzky made two saves in a 4-3 victory for FC Winnipeg Lions. Adam Hajkowski, Moreno Alberti, Matt Appler and Domi Antonini, meanwhile, were the goal scorers. Antonini was also the game's most valuable player.
For the final, FC Winnipeg Lions' starting XI featured Steve Sawatzky in goal, Dan Keith at right back, Andrew Aitken and Adam Hajikowski at centre back, Tevin Oliver-Job at left back, Rob Gale, Matt Appler, Anthony Lawrence, A.J. Naumiuk and Go Hiroko at midfield, and Domi Antonini up front. Coach Tony Nocita then featured Nevin DeKorompay, Moreno Alberti and Graham Halford as substitutes. Also on the team lineup that day were Justin Parry, Jordan Rodger, Richard Gray, Oleg Andrushchyskyn, Sean Golden and Joseph Passi. The team staff featured Tony Nocita, Riccardo Dethomasis, Ray Parry and Sean Edwards.
Hellas SC's roster, meanwhile, featured Andriy Szkwarek, Tom Foderaro, Phillip Porpiglia, Vinny Ferlaino, Tomas Findlay, James MacLean, Trevor Perault, Chris Musto, Jorge Mendez, Edin Kurbegoci, Dimitri Ifantis, Jordan Goetting, Patrick Janczak, Papa Ndiaye, Christian Weah, Sean Dong, Theodoros Panaritis, Justin Kastalanos and Stuart Ayres. The team staff featured Kostas Vailas, Angelo Charalabopoulos, Karyn Fanstone and Michael Gobenciong.
Since the club was established in 1996, FC Winnipeg has won five provincial titles in 17 years: 1996, 1998, 2002, 2007 and 2012. This year marks the team's fourth participation in the Challenge Trophy competition, having previously won bronze in 1996 and gold in 2002. Hellas SC, meanwhile, return to the Challenge Trophy competition for the third time in five years. Hellas SC were MSA Cup winners in 2008 and 2009 and Challenge Trophy national champions in 2009.