September 7, 2006 CSL Toronto Croatia vs Serbian White Eagles (from CSL web site)

Friday - September 8, 2006
The bubble bursts

Serbian White Eagles went into their 15th league game of the season with a near perfect unbeaten record, but ran into a freight train at Lamport Stadium to crash 3-0 to Toronto Croatia, the only game played in the Canadian Soccer League Thursday night.

Eagles had previously dropped a single point, a scoreless tie against Italia Shooters on August 25, had amassed 53 goals in just 15 league games and had dominated the individual goalscoring race with two players, Gabriel Pop and Serbian First Division ace Sasa Viciknez, accounting for 35 of the markers.

But the bubble burst in the west end Toronto stadium when from the word go Toronto Croatia, on a high after winning the North American championship for Croatian teams at Coral Springs in Florida last weekend, took charge in the first half and controlled the game early while driven in the midfield by the experienced Velemir Crljen in his familiar role as player-coach.

It was Crljen who showed the way to the net also with a blistering drive from 30 yards that just went wide after just 10 minutes to signal what was to come. It was as though he was sending a message to his players that to dominate the midfield is not going to be enough. There were other near misses, including a header from six yards by Peter Curic.

The first goal came from Croatia forward Boris Maric who took a pass to score from close range at the 23rd minute, he repeated in the second half at 76 minutes and again for the hat-trick five minutes later.

Serbian White Eagles maintain their position on top of the International Division with a 13-1-1 WLT record for 40 points with Toronto Croatia a closer second with an improved 11-1-4 record for 37 points.

The two teams clash again next Monday, September 11 at Brian Timmis Stadium in Hamilton, an 8 pm kickoff and while Serbian White Eagles are more than capable of turning things around quickly, Croatia player coach Crljen was confident enough after the game to say his team has started its drive to the championship. "We will not give up until the last ball is kicked," he said.

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