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CMU Blazer Athletics

Comeback Ends Season in Semis

Ahmed Charif’s goal in the second minute of added-time gave Les Rouges of the University of St-Boniface a 4-3 comeback victory in Saturday’s MCAC men’s semi-final, leaving the Blazers defeated and their championship hope left void.

The story of the opening 45-minutes was CMU’s passing-game and the heroics of fifth-year striker Chris Epp-Tiessen (#9) who received the starting assignment in what would be his final opportunity to play for the Blazers. Epp-Tiessen opened the scoring in the 12th minute and only moments later put CMU up two goals when he converted on a pass from Takuro Mizuno when the two attackers broke free of the St-Boniface defenders.

An error on the CMU back-line, allowed les Rouges back into the match mid-way through the first-half and all-conference striker Nabil Ibnouzahir capitalized, blasting the mistake past goalkeeper Adam Bergen, cutting the lead in half.

In what was the final kick of the half, Mizuno’s running volley off a Jonah Langelotz corner-kick found the back of the St-Boniface goal making the score 3-1 and charging the Blazers with confidence at the half-time whistle.

“We really wanted to focus on possessing the ball, continuing to play our style and to limit their chances as we started the second-half,” said CMU head coach Russell Willms. The first time the two teams met this season, leading 3-0 at halftime, the Blazers allowed 4 goals in the opening 17 minutes of the second-half. “Obviously that was in our minds, but I don’t think any of us expected we would let them back into the game this time.”

As play resumed it only took a few minutes before les Rouges would catch their breaks. The first came when Ibnouzahir went softly to ground, coaxing the referee’s whistle and a converted penalty-kick in the 50th minute, cutting the lead to one goal.

Coming from a cross in the 78th minute, Ibnouzahir brought his team level when the loose ball fell to his right foot at the edge of the six-yard box and then as the referee’s watch had all but expired, a free-kick from just outside the penalty-area was pounded into goal by the head of Charif, putting les Rouges through to the final and ending CMU’s dreams of the trophy.

For the Blazers, the loss put a damper on what was a significant improvement for the team. In 2010, the Blazers completed the MCAC season void of a win and in 2011, missed championship weekend by finishing fifth and winning only a single-game.

This season, the green-shirts went 3-0-3 in league play and took wins in Thunder Bay against Confederation College and Lakehead University to bring their overall record to 5-0-5.

 

 

Manitoba Colleges Athletic Conference Northern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association