October 11, 2008 CSL Quarterfinal summary (from CSL menu)

Late winning Braletic strike puts Serbian White Eagles in semi-finals...............they meet Italia Shooters while Portugal FC travel to Trois-Rivieres

A winning strike by prolific scorer Alex Braletic in the dying minutes of the second overtime period at Esther Shiner Stadium on Saturday night put Serbian White Eagles into the semifinals of the Canadian Soccer League championship along with Italia Shooters and Portugal FC who triumphed on Friday night and Trois-Rivieres Attak who maintained their winning hot pace with a 2-0 victory over St. Catharines Wolves earlier on Saturday. Serbia defeated North York Astros 2-1 in an exciting, but grueling 120 minutes including 30 minutes of overtime to earn a spot in the last four where they will meet their International Division rivals Italia Shooters at a venue yet to be determined, while Trois-Rivieres will host Portugal FC on Saturday, October 18 at 3 o’clock.

Braletic scored with just four minutes remaining at Esther Shiner Stadium on Saturday, following an attacking play involving Nikola Budalic and Milos Scepanovic and the winning goal followed the opener by Scepanovic who beat Astros’ goalkeeper Joshua Lemos at the 10-minute mark. North York struck back with a goal by midfielder Franco Lalli just two minutes after the interval and this set up an entertaining encounter that extended into overtime.

A few hours earlier at the University of Quebec Trois-Rivieres, forward Jean-Louis Besse put Trois-Rivieres ahead with a solo effort coming from the left wing to lift the ball over the head of Wolves’ goalkeeper Claudio Perri at the 28th minute mark, a 1-0 lead at the interval. Nicolas Lesage made it 2-0 at 65 minutes when he took a pass from Pierre-Rudolph Mayard to hit the net from 20 yards and the Attak controlled the game to the end of 90 minutes to earn a berth in the semifinals.

On Friday night, Toronto Croatia were eliminated from the CSL Championship by a gutsy Portugal FC in one of two quarter-final playoff games. The defending champions crashed at home by a 2-1 score after taking a 1-0 first half lead in their bid to repeat last year's championship win over Serbian White Eagles.

In a second quarter-final playoff game, Italia Shooters nipped Brampton Lions 1-0 in overtime to continue their late season success that brought the York Region team the International Division title on the last game of the regular season.

Toronto Croatia took the lead on a goal at the 16th minute mark at the Hershey Centre in Mississauga by Tihomir Maletic, his 10th of the season and the goal held up until the 60th minute mark when Mike DiLuca found the net to tie the game 1-1 for Portugal FC.

Portugal continued to press in a game that could have gone either way and the winner came in dramatic fashion when a free kick by Croatia goalkeeper Roy Blanche was collected by a Portugal player who made a move toward goal and was taken down by the Toronto Croatia goalkeeper just inside the penalty box.

Blanche was shown the red card by referee Joe Fletcher and Portugal FC captain Danny Amaral made no mistake from the spot to put his team 2-1 ahead at 70 minutes and that turned out to be the winner.

Italia Shooters and Brampton Lions battled over 120 minutes in an end-to end game at Esther Shiner Stadium, a contest neither team deserved to lose. But following a scoreless 115 minutes during which Brampton's Alex Arbello struck the Italia crossbar from a free kick at 83 minutes and Italia foward Marco Terminesi's close call three minutes later, it was Terminesi who found the net for the Shooters with just five minutes to go. Brampton pressed for an equalizer in the late stages but ran out of time, a 1-0 final result.

The semi-finals will be played the weekend October 17-19 and the CSL Championship Final will be played on Sunday, October 26 at Esther Shiner Stadium, kickoff 5.45 pm

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