MGCI’s Boys Soccer Teams practice on the back field. Photo: Cindy Cui

On 3 Oct 2016, Central Toronto Academy defeated MGCI’s Boys’ Tier 2 Soccer team in a nail-biting match on Marc Garneau’s back field. One of the highlights of the team’s season, the game’s intensity remained high until the very last whistle. The final score was 6 goals to 4 for CTA, despite MGCI’s home ground advantage and pressure from Cougar spectators for a win. Throughout the game, both teams blamed the other for heavy foul play. They eventually reconciled their arguments by agreeing that the refereeing was below standard.

The Marc Garneau Tier 2 Soccer team entered the match with a win behind them—albeit against Greenwood, a significantly weaker team. MGCI had expected at least a tie. However, they lacked the strong defensive lineup they needed because their key defender, Hannibal Menghistab, was sick at home. The resulting lineup played unsuccessfully: MGCI conceded a goal within the first ten minutes.

The following goals scored alternated between the two teams. CTA kept taking the lead only to have MGCI equalize the score moments later. The game saw a stunning array of goals from scissor kicks and bicycles to clinical finishes and superb headers. MGCI captain, Faysal Yusuf, even scored a beautiful, arching freekick. Unfortunately, both teams defended dreadfully. Both sides fumbled with the ball, failed to clear their lines, and let attackers dribble past them. Only CTA captain, Jerson Jay, and MGCI’s Ali Siraj maintained the solidity of their defensive lines.

The goalkeepers of both sides disappointed as well. After conceding three goals, first choice Ubaid Rehman was substituted for Mohammad Walizada. The CTA goalie was of a slightly higher caliber, the eventual reason for the school’s win.

As mentioned above, the refereeing of the game was quite contentious. The referee missed at least five hand-balls, and often ignored proper claims of fouls. Both teams eventually lost their sportsman-like composures, and began contesting the possession of the ball without consulting the referee. MGCI attackers Ahmad Al Damook and Mouaz Al Kadiri both received yellow cards for losing their tempers. Mouaz claimed that he did not understand the calls because the referee had spoken unclearly. Ahmad’s reactions could not be noted as he left the field angrily after the game. CTA also received a number of yellow cards during the game.

The game against Central Toronto Academy drew in fewer spectators than the previous game had. The poor weather on the day was likely the cause. However, Vice Principals Mr. Sharp and Ms. Liebster attended parts of the event, and were impressed with Faysal’s goals. An anonymous spectator of MGCI said, “That was the best game of soccer I have ever seen,” but mentioned that he wanted the lineup to be changed. For instance, an attacking midfielder missed a penalty in the second half, at a crucial turning point in the game. Ulas Arslam, a spectator who came from CTA, commented that Marc Garneau was a strong team that needed more training.  Ulas also attested that CTA’s defence was usually amazing, and to score four goals against them was a notable achievement.

CTA captain, Jerson Jay, also believed that Garneau was a capable team that lacked practice. He was amazed at the spectator support MGCI received. In his opinion, “the guy who scored the freekick [Faysal],” was one of the best he’s played against. He expects his team to become stronger defensively throughout this season.

MGCI’s captain, Faysal, described the game as very intense. Like the others, Faysal commented on the weak defensive line: “We must be stronger at the back and work on our defense, but also keep the ball moving during an attack. We tried our best but the team is only as strong as the weakest man, and the weakness at the back was visible today.” When asked about Jerson Jay’s compliment, he responded humbly that one man does not make a team.

The Senior Boys’ Tier 2 Soccer Team will play a match on Wednesday 19 October 2016, at 2:30 pm. The game will be against against Danforth Tech on MGCI’s back field. At the end of his interview, captain Faysal requested everyone’s full support at MGCI’s next soccer game.