Concordia 2, McGill 2: Rivals Share Spoils in Physical Men’s Soccer Match

McGill Hangs on After Late Stingers’ Surge to Secure a Draw

Stinger forward Simon Spenard Lapierre chases ball across midfield in classic Concordia McGill rivalry game. Photo Caroline Marsh

Concordia striker Simon Lapierre walked off the field with his head in his hands, swarmed by his teammates teasing him about the late chance he missed that would have given his team the win.

A perfect cross fell right to him for a header, which he put right into the keeper’s hands. This lack of final execution was one of the many missed opportunities that plagued the Stingers during last Sunday’s windy afternoon.

“We created some good chances and we really came close to winning in the end,” Sutton said. “But you have to give McGill some credit, they defended well enough and had some chances of their own.”

In the end, it was a tie that was defined by physical battles for possession and lapses in concentration on both sides. In the fifteenth minute, McGill defender Ramdane Tafer put the ball into his own net on a routine back pass to his keeper.

A couple minutes later, after the Stingers had controlled most of the game until that point, the ball bounced fortunately to the feet of McGill’s Dalin Saheb, catching goalie Julian Petrilli off guard to even the score at 1-1.

“There’s nothing you can really do about a game like this, with weird bounces and unlucky moments,” captain Sean Holmes said. “Now we’ve got to watch the game film, see what went wrong, and try to fix it before the next game.”

Coach Sutton made a few changes to his squad at half-time, notably inserting promising rookie Nareg Kalloghlian. Fresh off a season with CS Fabrose of the Première Ligue de Soccer du Québec, the skillful forward’s season is off to a strong start, scoring a wonderful long range volley in Friday’s win in Sherbrooke.

Kalloghlian quickly showed flashes of his fluid footwork with good link up plays with his teammates and impressive runs through several opponents. What was also apparent, however, was how much he still has to learn about the physicality of U Sports soccer.

“This league is definitely more physical than what I got used to in the PLSQ,” Kalloghlian said. “I got knocked around a couple times and had a hard time getting back up each time.”

Shortly after coming on, Kalloghlian got tangled up with teammate Lester Gariba, remaining on the ground for several minutes. He received treatment before returning to play on a slight limp. Tests after the game revealed that he suffered a bruise to his knee, and will be out of action for an indefinite period.

With 10 minutes to go, he was subbed off for forward Cristian Aviles. Kalloghlian’s promising yet frustrating afternoon epitomized the Stingers’ game and Coach Sutton’s postgame thoughts.

“We expected a bit more out of the guys that came off the bench and hoped they would affect the game in our favor a bit more,” Sutton said. “We don’t want our level to drop when we make substitutions and we’ve got to make sure the effort is consistent.”

On a weekend where the team played two games in less than 48 hours, making sure there were fresh legs on the field was a key part of Sutton’s gameplan. Substitute Yacine Slimane quickly leveled the game at 2-2 after McGill had taken the lead in the fiftieth minute.

Six changes were made by the Stingers’ head coach throughout the match, giving many players a chance to make a difference.

“We have a good bench and we trust a lot of guys on our bench,” Holmes said. “We know they can come in for the starters and help us out.”

The last few minutes of the contest were as exciting as can be, with two big stops by Petrilli and great chances for the Stingers’ forwards. One effort by Alberto Correa found the back of the net, but it was called back for a handball.

The final whistle meant that Concordia would only get one point, leaving them wondering what could have been had they executed better in front of goal.

The Stingers men’s team faces the UQAM Citadins on Friday night before visiting the reigning national champion Université de Montréal on Sunday afternoon.