MRO 5, Lanaudiere 1: Tempers Flare as the Griffons Extend Their League Lead

Rennan Dias Scores Twice to Seal Win In Heated Match

Griffons attackers look to make a play on the ball as opposing goalie storms out the crease to capture it. Audrey Magny

The Mont-Royal-Outremont Griffons played host to FC Lanaudière on Sunday afternoon, edging out the visitors with a 5-1 win to keep their lead atop the Première Ligue de Soccer du Quebec standings.

The Griffons looked to extend their unbeaten run to start off the season with another strong outing against FC Lanaudière, as they controlled most of the possession and the pace of play in the first half.

The opening goal of the match came within nine minutes, as midfielder and captain Renan Dias played a perfect cross to striker Ritch-Andy Jean-Pierre to put away for his second goal of the season.

MRO took advantage of the space given to them on the left wing, as Dias and fullback Drew Ramsay made frequent runs and created attacking opportunities in the first half.

“We tried to expose it and get in behind to create chances,” said Ramsay. “Helping on offense is one of the main parts of my game so I’m glad I had that freedom today.”

FC Lanaudière’s response came just before the 30th minute mark when winger Antoine Henry took a stunning shot from 30 yards out that found the bottom left corner of the net, just beyond the reach of RMO keeper Gabard Fenelon.

The Griffons restored their lead just before half-time when Adama Sissoko pounced on a defensive mistake and calmly slotted the ball past the keeper for his fourth tally of the young season.

As the first-half ended, defenceman Hamza Methamem found himself in the middle of an altercation with two opposing players. This prompted several minutes of verbal exchanges before the teams headed off for the break.

“We have to keep a cool head if things start getting heated,” said Dias. “If we just play our game and not worry about the other team, it’ll mean better results every time.”

Head Coach Luc Brutus was unhappy with his players arguing with their opponents throughout the game.

“If we want to play the best we can, we have to stay focused,” Brutus said. “We can’t get involved in talking with their players and getting distracted.”

MRO’s formation tightened up to start the second-half in order to protect the lead. Play was mostly around the center circle, where both team’s midfielders fiercely battled for possession with hard tackles.

The game opened up in the 71st minute, when Dias broke away from the defence off a header provided by substitute Dex Kaniki and finished it into the bottom left corner to make it 3-1 MRO.

Kaniki followed up on his assist with a goal of his own in the 84th minute, tapping in a rebound for his team’s fourth goal of the afternoon.

As Lanaudière was pressing high up the field looking for a goal to get back in the game, Dias was once again sprung behind the opposing defensive line to score his second on the day, this time assisted by late substitute Joseph Saint-Simon.

Despite the scoreline, Dias believed the game was close and the victory had to be earned by the team.

“It was a really close game, even if we were able to score a few near the end,”said Dias. “We played well, I’m happy with the team’s performance and the win.”

​In the end, the difference between both teams resided in how well the Griffons were able to keep the ball and build up play to create scoring chances.

​“We know we have players that are strong on the ball and are comfortable in possession,” said Coach Brutus. “That’s why we can establish a style of play where we can control the ball with a lot of movement.”

MRO sits at first place in the league standings with 13 points, four ahead of second place CS Monteuil. They’ll look to keep their strong form going when they visit CS St-Hubert on June 16.