Stingers 1, Redbirds 1: Rivals share points in tense battle
Reaction to hard fought draw shows expectations for this season
Death, taxes, and Concordia-McGill games leaving you on the edge of your seat. The highly anticipated matchup between the two men’s soccer teams was no exception as the longtime rivals played to a 1-1 draw on Friday night at Percival-Molson Stadium.
“We were disappointed to take all three [points] tonight, I don't think we played at the level we know we’re capable of,” said head coach Greg Sutton. “I just think we weren’t sharp in all phases. I think we were just off a bit especially in the midfield.”
Concordia came into this game on a three-game unbeaten streak including having taken points away from defending national champions Université de Québec à Trois-Rivières Patriotes.
Currently sitting at third place, this Stingers side has ambitions of challenging for a title this year, explaining why captain and Man of the Match Sean Holmes and his men were less than pleased with the result.
“We gotta win these games. We have bigger aspirations than competing with McGil,” said Holmes. “We’re playing for second place in the table and we just can’t start slow because it catches us and we have to come from behind.”
The game started at breakneck pace with McGill playing largely through the flanks and causing Concordia's narrow diamond midfield problem early with Gaetan Hamid wreaking havoc on the right wing.
With all the sustained pressure, the Stingers seemed unable to get forward and consistently threaten Chris Cinelli-Faia’s goal. The pressure came to a boil from a McGill corner 20 minutes in when a mad scramble led to defender Bilal Bouchemella scoring his first goal of the season and putting the home side ahead.
Concordia was a hair away from equalizing only ten minutes later when a cross from Holmes left Mohammad Reza with only Cinelli Faia to beat but an incredible save kept the Redbirds ahead. Concordia’s strongest weapon this season has been their set pieces, creating at least one goal scoring chance almost every game.
“I started celebrating. I thought we had pulled it back to be honest,” said Holmes. “We like to play that set piece to the back post because that gives me a lot of space.”
However, Concordia would get that chance to celebrate ten minutes into the second half. A horrible series of defensive blunders led to Reza being left all alone from ten yards out. This time he would not fail as he calmly placed the ball into the bottom right corner.
This extends the Stinger’s unbeaten streak to four games while they remain in the hunt to host their first playoff game since 1999.
“They brought a few of us in a couple years ago to really turn this program around and you can really see the results,” said Holmes. “We care now and we know we can beat any team in this league.”
Concordia will travel to the CEPSUM on Oct. 8 to face off against the only team that has beat them this season, the Université de Montréal Carabins.