CARP, Ontario—Monday, October 1, 2001

Semi-finals marred by playing of ineligibles
It was a picture perfect day at the OZ Stadium here yesterday when a good crowd turned up at this community just west of the Capital city in brilliant sunshine for the OZ Optics League Cup Final, played on a manicured natural grass surface that resembled a pool table, surrounded by no less than seven television cameras for viewers throughout Ontario to see the finale of a cup competition that started back in May.

And the partisan Ottawa support got their money's worth as their Ottawa Wizards fought every inch of the way to overcome a determined Toronto Supra, 1-0, on a goal at the 81st minute by forward Abraham Osman, his 17th of the season. The goal came when most were expecting a scoreless 0-0 deadlock at the end of 
regulation time. It was heading into extra time, to be followed by FIFA penalty kicks, if necessary.

But the Wizards' captain moved into a right wing cross inside the penalty box and in hushed silence throughout the ground he coolly made a looping header high over an oncoming Supra 'keeper Garrett Caldwell. The ball floated in what seemed slow motion, a ball that went just under the cross bar to give the inaugural-year Ottawa team its first triumph in a bid to win three CPSL titles during the next two weeks.

The OZ Optics League Cup semi-finals were played on Saturday and Toronto Supra earned its entry to the final with a 2-1 win over defending CPSL champion Toronto Olympians. Leo Marasovic put Olympians ahead at the 10-minute mark and Paulo Valdez equalized for Supra after 30 minutes. Christian Lombardo struck the winner for Supra just three minutes before the final whistle.

In the first game of the semi-finals, St. Catharines Roma Wolves defeated the Wizards 1-0 on a goal after 30 minutes by Andy McKay. But the game was put in default and awarded to Ottawa Wizards when the league ruled that two Roma Wolves players were ineligible, having played in the same cup competition for another team earlier this year. The league confirmed following an on-site inquiry at the end of the game that St. Catharines players Keith Moore and Andrew Wareing had played OZ Optics League Cup preliminary games for Ottawa Wizards against Montreal Dynamites and Durham Flames. This violated a FIFA rule adopted by Canada that says a player cannot take part in the same cup competition during a season for more than one team. League president Vincent Ursini expressed dismay after conducting the inquiry. "We met with the club and it was a huge disappointment to us all that the league had to disqualify a team this way, but there was no alternative, we just had to award the game to Ottawa," he said.

Clifford Dell, the CPSL director of discipline explained that all CPSL teams were officially alerted to this and other key rules several days before and St. Catharines were reminded by the CPSL on the morning of the game. "More than 70 players took part in the two semi-final games and a club's final roster is often not established until close to game time. We cannot possibly, nor are we expected to check every player's eligibility—that's a club responsibility," he explained following the inquiry.

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