York9 FC and AS Blainville battle to a scoreless draw

Canadian Premier League club York9 FC and PLSQ Champions AS Blainville played to a scoreless draw on Wednesday, May 15 in the first leg of Qualifying Round 1 at the Parc Equestre in Blainville, Quebec. Both teams will reconvene on May 22 at York University in Toronto for the second leg and a chance to move on to the next stage of the expanded 2019 Canadian Championship.

Both teams had their fair chances at their opponent in a night where the ball simply refused to cross the goal line. The hosts were the first to knock at the door when striker Maxime Leconte made his way to the box before sending a high shot from the left side that was brilliantly deflected by York9 keeper Nathan Ingham for a corner in the 15’. Three minutes later, it was the visitors who came close off a Kyle Porter free kick. The Blainville wall resisted the first assault at the top of the box, but Porter lobbed the ball on his second attempt to reach Roberto Gattas on the right side. The York9 striker beat the out-coming keeper to the ball, but his redirection to the net was pushed back from the goal line by defender Bila Dicko-Raynault.

Blainville’s best scoring chance came just past the half-hour mark when Mohamed Farsi confidently made his way to the top of the box before dropping the ball on his left to a rushing Pierre-Rudolph Mayard. The former Canadian youth international blasted a right-footed shot on goal, but the ball was aptly deflected and crushed the crossbar before bouncing out of harm’s way. The visitors had an opportunity to open up the score on a set play off the right of Blainville’s box in stoppage time before the half, but the ball was cleared away and both teams retreated to the locker rooms on a stalemate.

The situation remained the same for the final 45 minutes despite both teams trying to find gaps in the opposite side’s defence. York9 FC came the closest to unlock the score at the 79’ when the host defence fumbled a cross in the box. Blainville’s keeper Erwann Ofouya first punched the ball away while fighting two York9 players at the landing mark inside the penalty spot, then substitute Cyrus Rollocks could not capitalize on the bouncing rebound and Blainville escaped unscathed from this close call.

AS Blainville’s Starting XI featured goalkeeper Erwann Ofouya, the only non-Canadian on the field for the hosts, behind defenders Bilal Lachouri, Idir Redjradj, captain Nafi Dicko-Raynault and Mohamed Farsi. Omar Kreim, Wandrille Lefevre, Nicolas Bertrand and Bila Dicko-Raynault patrolled the midfield, behind strikers Pierre-Rudolph Mayard and Maxime Leconte.

Blainville’s bench boss Emmanuel Macagno made a double substitution at 59’ sending in Canadians Mitchell Syla and Hoshang Noor-Ali on the pitch to replace Bertrand and Ballouchi. Then Hugo Chambon took over Leconte’s position at the 85’.

For the visiting York9 FC, Canadian Nathan Ingham was the starting goalkeeper, with Justin Springer and Canadians Daniel Gogarty and Luca Gasparotto on the backline, captain Manuel Aparicio and his Canadian teammates Kyle Porter, Emilio Estevez and Diyaeedine Abzi in the midfield along with Wataru Murofushi, and Simon Adjei with Roberto Gattas up top.

Visiting coach Carmine Iassco made his first substitution at 62’, sending in Ryan Telfer for Abzi. At 74’, it was Adjei’s turn to come to the bench, letting Cyrus Rollocks join the action and Steven Furlano replaced Esteves at 85’.

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