September 28, 2003 CPSL Toronto Croatia vs Metro Lions details from CPSL website
TORONTO CROATIA CLINCHES PLAYOFF BERTH
Monday, September 29--Toronto Croatia defeated Metro Lions by a 2-1 score at Memorial Park in Streetsville Monday, to accomplish what many considered impossible just a month ago in qualifying for the playoffs in pursuit of the championship of the Canadian Professional Soccer League.
The victory puts Croatia with Hamilton Thunder, Brampton Hitmen and London City, all members of the CPSL’s Western Conference to join Ottawa Wizards, Toronto Supra and Laval Dynamites or Vaughan Sun Devils of the Eastern Conference, all bidding for the title.
Following a scoreless first half, Edin Kalic opened the scoring for Toronto Croatia at the 70th minute mark, but Lions’ Caswain Mason tied the game 1-1 at 86 minutes. Croatia’s Hugo Alstitut struck the winner three minutes from time for a 2-1 final.
Toronto Croatia, which went into Monday’s game needing a tie to qualify, won seven of its last nine games to move from struggling at or near the foot of the Western Conference, to become a playoff contender.
Croatia goes straight to the quarter-finals, a one-game knockout against Brampton Hitmen at Victoria Park on Tuesday night. That’s an 8.30 pm kickoff. The winner of this quarter-final will meet London City in the Wild Card game at Cove Road in London on Friday night, an 8.30 start to the CPSL Championship Weekend.
Tuesday night will also mark the last regular season league game in the CPSL when Vaughan Sun Devils play at home to Durham Flames at Dufferin Clark. The Sun Devils need a win to take third place in the east for the seventh and final playoff position. A tie or loss for the Sun Devils means Laval Dynamites will clinch third spot.
Should Sun Devils win their game against Durham, they meet Eastern Conference runner-up Toronto Supra in the western quarter-final Wednesday night, a 6.45 pm kickoff at Centennial Stadium in Etobicoke.
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