Supra narrowly defeat road-weary Lions
Aug 13, 2003 Author: Soccer Online - It's Called Futbol
The CPSL’s “Battle of Toronto” was waged on Tuesday night in…Etobicoke. The Toronto Supra squeaked out a 3-2 victory over the Metro Lions at Centennial Stadium on a hot, muggy night in front of a hundred spectators.
The Lions could perhaps be forgiven for leaving their A-game in the dressing room on this night, as they had just returned from playing back-to-back games over the weekend in Ottawa and Laval.
After allowing the Supra to score three first half-goals, the Lions shook off fatigue, cramps and injuries to come within a goal of equalizing before time ran out on them.
Supra winger Martin Peraza provided most of the action in the first 45 minutes. Just under a quarter of an hour into the match, he pounced on a loose ball, which had been mishandled by Lions’ keeper Courtenay Campbell, to score.
Peraza was instrumental in producing the Supra’s second goal, in the 24th minute. After collecting the ball in a scramble in front of the Lions’ net, Peraza calmly slid a pass backward into the path of an onrushing Michael DiLuca. The prolific Supra striker slammed a low drive into the back of the goal.
Peraza notched his second goal of the match on a fine individual run down his flank. After outpacing two Lions’ defenders, he deftly chipped the ball over Campbell.
The Lions failed to assert themselves for any significant period of time in the first half, and their defense struggled to cope with the Supra’s three-pronged striker attack.
It was not until 10 minutes had elapsed in the second half that the Lions began to press forward. The tactical switch paid quick dividends for the new Lions coach, Goran Miscevic. A Supra defender conceded a penalty kick for handling the ball in his 18-yard box. Lions’ substitute Darryl Gomez easily slotted the spot kick past Michael Silva in the Supra goal.
Five minutes later, The Lions whittled down the Supra lead to a single goal. Hayden Fitzwilliams received a precise through pass from Craig Patton and struck a low shot past Silva on a breakaway.
Sixty seconds after Fitzwilliams’ strike, Gomez rang the Supra’s goalpost with a low drive from just inside the penalty area.
Gomez hit the post again five minutes later, as the Supra appeared to be wilting under the visitors’ onslaught in the game’s final moments. In the end, however, the home team escaped with all three points.
The hero on the night was Peraza, who was forced to leave the match at half time due to a groin injury. “We have a big game against Ottawa this coming weekend for first place (in the Eastern Conference), so the decided to rest me,” Pezara said after the match. “We let (the Lions) make the game close in the second half, but we ended up with three points…and that’s what matters.”
“We put in a good effort, especially in the second half,” commented Gomez moments after the final whistle. “If we had finished a few chances in the first half, we could have won the game.”
The Supra remains undefeated in league play this season with a won-lost-tied record of 7-0-3. The Metro Lions, passing through a difficult portion of their schedule, are perhaps not as weak as their 1-7-3 won-lost-tied record would indicate. The East Toronto team has saved their best performances for the Open Canada Cup. The Lions are still contenders in this competition after ousting the Vaughan Sun Devils two weeks ago in Third Round action.
Match Rating: 4 out of 5
At the end of the first half, this game appeared to be all but a formality. Kudos to the Lions for bringing some drama to the final 45 minutes. The goals continue to flow in the CPSL, which is good news for the league’s fans. If you leave a CPSL match before the final whistle, you may want to check your sports section the next day to make sure the result held. Chances are it didn’t.
Futnotes: Toronto Lynx head coach Peter Pinizzotto was spotted in the stands tonight. He told Soccer Online after the match that he was impressed by a few of the players’ performances. Some of the players that may have caught his attention were the goal scorers -- Peraza, Gomez, Fitzwilliams and Di Luca.
The Lions seemed quite upbeat after the match, despite the loss. The schedule did not do Metro any favours this week. The clubs kicked off against Laval Dynamites less than 24 hours after eking out a tough scoreless draw at the Wizard’s home field in Carp. The difficult schedule of opponents combined with the three-hour jaunt to Ottawa, subsequent journey to Montreal and final six-hour bus ride home to play again on a day’s rest did not leave the Metro Lions well-prepared to face the red-hot Supra.
Games to watch: On Thursday, the Hamilton Thunder and the St. Catharines Roma Wolves battle for second place in the Western Conference at Brian Timmis Stadium (8:30 p.m.). On Sunday, the Ottawa Wizards will wrestle for first place in the Eastern Conference with the Supra at Victoria Park in Brampton (2.00 p.m.). The Supra will be hoping that the Wizards will arrive in Brampton tuckered out from their Saturday encounter with the Vaughan Sun Devils at Dufferin Clark (2:00 p.m.)
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