MRO 2, Fabrose 1: Griffons Remain Undefeated, Slide Into Second

MRO Stay Level With Blainville on Points but Trail League Leaders on Goal Difference

MRO Griffons look to keep pace with first place AS Blainville nearing the midway mark of the season. Photo Alex Perez

Approaching the midway point of a season, one tends to think that a team with a zero in the loss column would be looking down on everyone else. However, that was not the case following the MRO Griffons 2-1 victory over CS Fabrose at TMR’s Recreation Centre Sunday night.

The win helped bolster their record to 5-2-0 and match AS Blainville’s 17 points.

While the result was definitely a positive one, Blainville’s 6-1 defeat of FC Lanaudière the night before saw them climb to a +19 goal differential — three more than MRO — and secured first place for the time being.

This comes following a game that the Griffons could end up looking back on with regret. While head coach Luc Brutus isn’t worried about goal differential, it’s a crucial tiebreaker especially in such a close title race.

“I don’t believe that championship will be decided on goal differences,” said Brutus. “We’re a team that likes to score goals and they will come with time. What’s most important is to keep getting good results.”

The Griffons took the lead just before the half hour mark as leading goal-scorer, Adama Sissoko, rose above everyone to get on the receiving end of a perfect Nazim Belguendouz corner. The goal brought his tally to five on the season.

Sissoko — one of the league’s top scorers — spent the game in the midfield, stepping in for injured regulars Renan Dias and Bilal Qsiyer. His inclusion into a less attacking role was something that did not concern Brutus however.

“More than half of our midfield was not available or injured,” said Brutus. “It’s a position he’s played last year and he knows well so we had no concern about that.”

The 2-1 score that pushed the Griffons back into second place could have been even more one-sided, as the Griffons completely dominated the second half and missed out on a slew of golden opportunities.

Belguendouz did nonetheless double the lead after darting past two defenders and making no mistake when alone in front of goal. A lone goal from Fabrose’s Nareg Kalloghlian was enough to make the game tight, but the Griffons never seemed at risk to drop points.

Regardless of the fact that Fabrose was pushing to equalise for most of the game, MRO’s counter attack constantly saw them squandering chances to improve their goal differential. Missed opportunities are something that Belguendouz is worried might be a factor later in the season.

“By the end of the season it could end up becoming a three-team race for the title and goal differential is going to play an important part in who’s champion,” said Belguendouz. “It’s up to us to prepare for every game properly especially games against big teams that we need to get wins against.”

The next big team they’ll be playing will be one of the clubs challenging for the title in AS Blainville. The first-versus-second contest could put as much as three points between the two rivals and promises to reignite what could be a three-way race for the title.

Monteuil — who sit only two points behind the leaders — are facing a slumping FC Lanaudière and will be looking to get back in the running.

“We have to make sure that every game is a derby,” said Brutus. “People might not believe it but this is another game for us so we’re going to prepare like it.”

The Griffons will be looking to retake first place as they host AS Blainville on Sunday, June 30 at 6:30PM.