It was a shame someone had to lose as McMaster and Ryerson battled for 120 minutes without either team able to score in the second semi-final of the OUA men’s soccer final four. Moving to penalty kicks, Mac keeper Angelo Cavalluzzo denied Ryerson’s second shooter Jackson Tooke, and all five Marauders were able to score to give the 1-0 victory to the Maroon.
McMaster now advances to the OUA final on Sunday, November 2nd versus its arch-rival, the York Lions. York defeated Toronto 2-0 in the first semi-final.
It was a contest of very evenly matched teams with McMaster carrying the early play and getting some good scoring chances from Mark Reilly and Gersi Xhuti, but Rams keeper Christian Maraldo was on his game and kept the sheet clean against the Mac pressure. In the 31st minute, Reilly went down after a hard challenge by one of the Rams, which drew a yellow card. McMaster’s leading scorer had to leave the game, but did return before the halftime whistle.
The second half saw Ryerson push forward with pace as the Rams looked to break the scoreless draw, getting some good pressure from Raheem Rose, who came on as a second-half substitute. McMaster started the half with Reilly on the bench and another key player, Brandon Gutierrez was subbed off early, nursing a sore knee that took a shot in the first-half.
Despite some good pressure, the Rams could not get anything past Cavalluzzo in the Marauder net. With extra time looming McMaster coach Dino Perri went to the bench to get a spark, bringing Reilly and Karl Bicamumpaka into the game in the 80th minute. It turned out to be an inspired move as the fresh legs grabbed the momentum and McMaster started to dominate the play. Marauder Sasha Ricciuti made a brilliant strike from 20yards, but Maraldo was equal to the task and got enough on the shot to save his team. McMaster almost won the game in the 90th minute when both Ricuitti and Bikamumpaka had chances off corner kicks, but failed to connect.
After extra time the teams remained deadlocked at 0-0 and went to 30 minutes of overtime. Ryerson had a glorious chance off a free kick from the edge of the box in the 14th minute, but somehow Cavalluzzo made a blind save to deny the Rams. The final 15 minutes saw a great deal of mid-field play as both teams were careful to keep the scoring chances few and far between.
With nothing to show after 120 minutes, it was time for penalty kicks with McMaster shooting first. Marco Gennaccaro buried his shot, with Ryerson’s Nick Lambis matching his successful strike. David Serafini gave Mac the lead, but Cavalluzzo denied Tooke, opening the door for McMaster. Successful strikes by Marauders Xhuti and Peterson Farrell kept the pressure on Ryerson, who responded with goals by Rose and Viktor Anastasov to keep pace. Mac’s 5th shooter was Christian Truyen, who had come into the game as a late substitute because of his penalty kick prowess and he did not disappoint, with a perfect strike past Maraldo to end the game.
The Player of the Game award went to Cavalluzzo, who stood tall in the McMaster net.
Sunday’s OUA Championship game will be played at 5:30 pm at Ron Joyce Stadium, with both semi-final winners McMaster and York also advancing to the CIS Championship being hosted next week at UPEI.
Source: Bill Malley