Men’s Soccer: “It’s A Cruel Game”
Stingers Lose 2-0 Against Top-Ranked UQAM Citadins
A crossbar, a post and a saved penalty were all that came in the way of the Stingers defeating the best men’s university soccer team in Canada.
Concordia University’s Maroon and Gold lost to the UQAM Citadins by a score of 2-0 at Concordia Stadium this past Friday night.
“It’s a cruel game. The way it went tonight, we easily could have won,” manager Greg Sutton said.
Last Tuesday, Canadian Interuniversity Sport released their weekly national top ten rankings for soccer. UQAM topped the list. It was the first time in their history that they ever reached the highest spot. Concordia, on the other hand, were looking to stay level with Laval for the fourth and final playoff spot.
The Citadins offense entered the match averaging three goals a game, and the speed of Kévin Le Nours down the wing, and the strong midfield play of Simon-Pierre Cote-Kougnima and Mohammed Saidi proved to be a formidable attack. However, the Concordia backline and goalkeeper Wes Aucoin were up to the task.
“We had a game plan and we stuck to the game plan until the very end,” Stingers captain Olivier Georges said. “And it showed. You could tell, they were freaking out.”
Following a scoreless first half where the UQAM Citadins dominated in possession and shots, the game sprung into life in the 65th minute.
Forward Amadou Lam fired a shot from distance and had Citadins goalkeeper Valentin Lamoulie well beaten. Unfortunately, the shot ricocheted off the right post and then bounced off Lamoulie’s body before being cleared off the goal line.
Three minutes later, substitute Eli Barutciski danced his way through the penalty area and beat two defenders, before being taken down by a reckless challenge. The referee pointed to the spot, and a penalty kick was awarded to the home team. Barutciski saw his shot saved by Lamoulie to the left side of the goal.
“To be honest, I think it’s luck,” Georges said about his teammate’s failed penalty. “Penalties are basically luck.”
Just seven minutes before full time, Georges fouled a Citadins player in the box, forcing the referee to signal for another penalty kick. Citadins player James Louis-Jeune, a four-time RSEQ all-star, made no mistake scoring to the right side of the net, while Aucoin dove in the opposite direction.
“I slipped up. I caused a [penalty kick] and then it was everything or nothing,” Georges said about his game-deciding foul.
With time dwindling, Concordia began to push most players forward in stoppage time, and earned two successive corners. Aucoin made his way up from his own goal, to add one more extra body in the box.
Lam sent in the curling corner kick, and of all people, Aucoin was the one to get his head to it. His header beat Lamoulie, but again hit the crossbar. The ball fell down on the line and was cleared out by a UQAM defender.
“We were unlucky. We hit a few crossbars and posts… including me,” goalkeeper Aucoin said with a chuckle.
On the ensuing counter attack, Aucoin was able to make it back to his goal, but could not save a Cote-Kougnima close-range shot, as most of the Stingers defenders were stranded upfield, ending the game at 2-0 for the Citadins.
It was a gut-wrenching defeat for the Stingers, who felt they deserved more from the game, but Sutton did his best to remain positive.
“We can take this [loss] two ways. We can be upset and sulk about it, or we can look at it and say we just went toe to toe with the number one team in the country,” Sutton said. “We showed tonight that we can compete with the best.”
The Stingers resume action on Sunday, Oct. 4 versus the Université de Montréal Carabins, the same team who beat them 3-0 a few weeks ago.
With the season officially at the halfway mark, the Stingers will hope to build on the confidence gained by nearly beating the top team.
“If we can play against the number one team in Canada like that, we can do anything,” said Georges. “We can beat UdeM on Sunday.”
In an earlier edition of this article, it was written that Eli Barutciski took a long range shot from distance in the 65th minute, when it was in fact Amadou Lam. Secondly, it was written that UQAM keeper Valentin Lamoulie sent in a corner kick during the late stages of the match, when it was in fact sent in by Lam. The Link regrets the errors.