By Fraser Caldwell
Dusan Kovacevic has caused nightmares for the Western Mustangs for three seasons, and that trend continued Sunday at Ron Joyce Stadium.
The Marauders senior striker scored a hat trick, repeating the feat he managed in the same tie a season ago, as McMaster rolled to a 4-1 victory over Western to notch its second win of 2019.
Kovacevic has scored a remarkable total of nine goals across four meetings between the Marauders and Mustangs at Ron Joyce Stadium over the course of his career. His success against Western on home field mirrors that of his team, which has now won nine straight encounters between the two in Hamilton dating back to 2012.
In an uncharacteristic aerial bombardment, the Marauders scored all four of their goals on Sunday via headed efforts, with captain Yordan Stoyanov joining Kovacevic on the score sheet.
Goalkeeper Tristan Joyce was far from busy, but made two saves on three shots to pick up the win.
It took little time for the Marauders to grab hold of the game, as Stoyanov opened the scoring in just the third minute of play.
Midfielder Robert Tamale carved out the space to chip deftly into the box for his captain, who nodded strongly past Western goalkeeper Kody Thompson.
10 minutes later, Kovacevic began his assault on goal, providing the final touch on McMaster’s most incisive offensive move of the young season.
A perfectly-weighted long ball from central midfield picked out fullback Christian Cossidente on the touchline, and he promptly buzzed a low cross into the box, which Kovacevic met strongly with his head at the far post for 2-0.
Hope materialized briefly for the Mustangs in the 50th minute, when a loose ball in the Marauders box fell to Nimi Adeyemo and he alertly laid off to Kareem El Menyawi, who nudged past Joyce to scupper his hopes of a clean sheet.
But the moment was quickly tainted when Adeyemo was cruelly punished for his ensuing celebration and sent off with a straight red card, reducing the already ailing Mustangs to 10 men.
From there, the Marauders romped, and Kovacevic restored the two goal lead by greeting an exquisite long ball from Daniel Vicente with a diving header in the 54th minute.
His banner afternoon was complete nine minutes from full time, when Miles Green squared high and Kovacevic was able to nod home from close range to close out the hat trick.
NEXT UP: The Marauders take to the road on Saturday, September 14 to confront the 1-0-2 Brock Badgers in St. Catharines. That match will get underway at 3:00 p.m. following the preceding women’s match.