An eventful pitch

Both the men’s and women’s soccer teams were scheduled to play at UTM’s North Field on Sunday, October 7. The women’s game was set for 11 a.m., but it was cancelled when their opponents, Victoria College, failed to show up. UTM won by default and now has a record of 3–0.

Following the forfeit, the UTM men’s tri-campus team took to the field to take on St. George Black. The field was soggy and scattered with puddles from the rain on Saturday, forcing the players to adjust to the messy conditions.

It was obvious right from the get-go that the game was going to be close; both teams displayed good ball control. St. George Black had a number of scoring opportunities from corner kicks, but UTM’s goalie, Akil Ladha, was fierce between the posts, making some spectacular saves.

UTM hurt their own scoring opportunities by committing errant offside calls. They ended the half with a goal set up by Antony Said and headed into the net by Bobatumi Sodade.

For the whole first half, St. George’s net was on its wheels, which had not been taken off when the field was set up that morning. During the break, St. George Black’s goalie, Mikhael Lamont, argued with the officials about lowering it. It was decided that the net should stay the way it was to keep the playing field the same as it was in the first half, but Lamont lowered the net anyway.

Early in the second half, Mikhail Patel and Daniel Michaliov scored two goals for St. George Black. The second goal was answered right away by UTM’s Ryan Tawil, who scored from outside the 18-yard box.

Immediately after Tawil’s stunning goal, Antony Said came running to the sideline; one of his Nike Mercurial cleats had completely split in half.  Said scrounged around the sideline for an extra pair of cleats, and ran back onto the field a few minutes later wearing a teammate’s cleats.

The ball stayed in the UTM zone until another goal was scored, a second for Patel. He cut straight through the centre of UTM’s defence and pushed the score to 3–2 in favour of St. George Black.

UTM got lucky when the St. George Black goalie kicked the ball with the outside of his foot, sending it spinning in the opposite direction. Antony Said, wearing his new cleats, gathered the ball right away and scored another goal for UTM. A few minutes later, St. George Black’s goalie made another mistake: he held the ball for too long, giving UTM a free kick. But the Eagles were not able to get a goal from the free kick and the game ended a few minutes later, with the teams having to settle for a tie.

“We played well,” said Omar Jbaihi,
UTM’s head coach. “There was about 15 minutes in the second half where the defence broke down. We were missing our starting centre defenceman, but overall it was a good performance.”

Last Sunday the men took to   Scarborough, facing UTSC. UTM’s Eagles were stomped, 5–0. The Eagles season now stands at one win, one tie, and a pair of losses. They head to Varsity Field to take on St. George   Black again  next Sunday at 3 p.m.

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