Challenge Trophy: quarter-finals set after day 3 in Calgary
Posted on 10 October 2015 in ↳ Challenge Trophy
Day three of the Challenge Trophy is in the books. A lot would be decided on the last day of men’s round robin. Eight teams would advance to the quarter finals with the other four packing their bags for the consolation round.
With Yellowknife FC out of the picture, British Columbia Estrella de Chile of Burnaby would square off against Saskatchewan HUSA Alumni to decide who would win Group C.
Club national’s veteran Jay Tomchuk got things off to a quick start for the 2011 champions from Saskatoon. Just three minutes into the match he scored the quickest goal of the tournament thus far. Ten minutes later he was at it again. It started with a magnificent run from Josh Northey. Northey then fed Tomchuk who had made a sneaky run behind the defender. Using the outside of his right foot slotted it home to the left of the keeper.
It was a 2-0 lead for HUSA with no less than 75 minutes left on the clock. Thus awaken the sleeping giants of BC. Estrella took the game to Saskatoon for large chunks of time and eventually got their due. Large in stature and skill, it turned into the Mohammed Habib show.
A cross from the right flank just cleared the head of a reaching HUSA defender. Habib took one delicate touch and chipped the onrushing keeper.
Only moments later, Habib took on the same defender, fired a low shot from the top of the penalty area, taking a deflection, somehow HUSA keeper couldn’t get to it. It would be all even at two heading into the half.
After the interval and Habib on the bench, it would be Eric Odhiambo Ray’s turn to impress. He took a one time hit bending a scorcher around his defender into the top corner of the HUSA goal. Comeback complete! That made it 3-2 BC with forty minutes to go.
HUSA Alumni had a number of glorious chances to tie it up. Tomchuk was brilliant in the first half but couldn’t find his third. Missing over the bar from close range and another blocked by a defender. More chances for HUSA resulted in much of the same.
Habib subbed back in and had his chance to seal it. In the 83rd minute, he put himself in shooting position but misfired, collected easily by HUSA keeper.
There was no love lost between these two teams by the end of it. Late in the match, tempers boiled over. After a nasty foul and retaliation, all players on the pitch got involved. Referee calmed things down and surprisingly all players escaped without a single card being issued.
HUSA pushed for the all important equalizer that would give them the group. It was time to throw caution to the wind as HUSA keeper JD Blakley made the length of the field to join the attack. In that sequence, a free kick into the box would find its way to Blakley. Blakley headed it dangerously towards the open cage. BC keeper Hugo Vasquez did well to get back, tipping it over the bar.
And with that, the match was over. Final score BC Estrella de Chile 3 Saskatchewan HUSA Alumni 2
Captain Ylya Malek spoke about the victory. "We always want to seed first and show that we are here for business. The guys really showed heart, especially after this last game being down 2-0 and showing a lot resilience to actually come back and win 3-2. We are happy with the result and the direction we are headed in."
Malek on his teammate’s performance: "The team collectively played outstanding. We are a strong side when we put our heads together and showed glimpses of that today."
Men's Quarter Final Match ups:
London Marconi (ON) v Newfoundland (NL)
Estrella de Chile (BC) v Fredericton Picaroons (NB)
Edmonton Green & Gold (AB2) v Rapides Chaudière-Ouest (QC)
Edmonton Scottish (AB) v HUSA Alumni FC (SK)