U-14 Boys: Alberta, Quebec, Manitoba and Ontario’s North Mississauga to meet in semis
The Inter ’98 (AB) boys’ soccer team has proven it can score in bunches during the U-14 Cup at the 2012 National Club Championships.
After doing just that in a 5:0 win against the Sherwood-Parkdale Rangers (PE) Friday, Inter scored twice in less than a minute Saturday and punched its ticket to the semifinals by defeating the Aurora Diablo (SK) 3:1 at the Soccer Centre.
“It means the world to advance because everyone on this team has worked so hard for this opportunity, and just to be in the final four and have a chance at the championship is great for us,” said Inter captain Francesco Mantella.
Inter’s Elvis Omerovic opened the scoring for his team in the 37th minute, but two goals in the 48th minute by Abush Shibiru and Kenneth Johnson put the game out of reach. Tyler Werbicki got the Aurora Diablo’s lone goal on a penalty kick in extra time after a handball was called.
Saskatchewan head coach John Nicholson wasn’t surprised by the quick strikes after his team viewed Inter’s contest against the Rangers.
“That team has done that multiple times,” Nicholson said. “We watched them do it to P.E.I. (Friday). They’re a very solid team. I’ll be the first one to say they were probably the better side out there today, no questions asked.”
Despite the win, Inter head coach Nick Anastacio says his squad has to play an “80-minute game” and can’t allow late markers if it wants to advance to the final.
“The first 60 minutes we were in control and it was the last 20 where we let things slip by,” he said. “We’re thinking more about scoring goals than maintaining a 3-0 lead. We’re going to get those things sorted out before our next game.”
Inter will play Lanaudiere-Centre (QC) at 9.30 local time at the Hershey Centre and Anastacio knows the game will be his team’s toughest to date.
“(Quebec’s) a big, strong team and they’re very dangerous,” he said. “We’re going to have to play a really solid game in the back and get some better performances from all our players, in regards to the offensive part of the game. It’s going to come down to who wants it more.”
The Lanaudiere-Centre’s (QC) first objective at this year’s U-14 cup was a top-4 finish.
With Saturday’s 1:0 win over the Mount Hamilton Avalanche (ON) at the Soccer Centre, the club has accomplished its original goal by advancing to the semifinals and will now play for the opportunity to go to the tournament final.
“We play very well (today),” said Lanaudiere-Centre’s Gabriel Wiethauper-Balbinotti. “We played well defensively and now we have a chance to bring a medal home to Quebec.”
Less then two minutes into the second half, forward Don Junior Bobe’s strike from 20 yards out found the top left corner of the Hamilton net and turned out to be all Quebec would need to move on.
“It just drives us nuts when we see a goal like that go in,” Lanaudiere-Centre assistant coach Bernardo Brini. “It was a very nice play and when we get compensated for our hard work, it makes everyone happy.”
While ecstatic about the victory, Brini said his team looked “nervous” throughout the match, something that can’t happen when it faces Inter ’98 (AB) Sunday at 9:30 local time at the Hershey Centre.
“We usually play a more controlled game,” he said. “I would say of the 80 minutes, the first 60 minutes they were nervous and then we were able to play our game.”
“We’ve met our first objective. It’s now a just a matter of settling the boys down.
This is the first time for them at a tournament of this level and they know what’s at stake.”
Despite the loss, Avalanche head coach Peter Tougher praised his club’s performance in the close contest.
“I thought we were probably the better team,“ he said. “We gave them one opportunity and they punished us on it. It was a great shot, great goal and I’m
not going to take anything away from them but possession -wise and the playing the game the way it supposed to be, we were the better team.
“At the end of the day they scored the goal and we’re going to play for fifth place.”
North Mississauga Panthers (ON) beat Surrey United (BC) 4:0
Winnipeg South End United (MB) beat Sherwood-Parkdale Rangers (PEI) 3:0
North Mississauga and Winnipeg South End United will play at 9.30 local time at the Hershey Centre on Sunday.