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Blazers Come Up Short in Men’s Semifinal

0T8A5959-LSt-Boniface struck for two goals while down a man in the final ten minutes to oust the Blazers from the 2013 MCAC Men’s Soccer Championships, winning 2-1 and advancing to Sunday’s Final.

The opening forty-five minutes were highlighted by strong CMU defending and missed opportunities from Les Rouges. Entering as the #2-seed and riding the confidence of a 4-1 win against the Blazers on the same field a week earlier, USB failed to capitalize on four free-kick opportunities from inside 30-yards of goal in the first-half.

The early highlight came in minute twenty-five, when USB were provided their best chance to open the scoring. Harouna Gueye’s kick from the penalty spot was handled brilliantly by third-year CMU goalkeeper Blayne Stobbe who dove to his left to parry the ball around the post and into touch – a save that ignited the Blazers and pushed them onto the front foot to start the second half.

Nineteen minutes after the restart, CMU would receive their break. The same quick feet of Andrew Letkeman that forced USB’s Cheikh Amadou Sonko to take yellow in minute eight of the opening half caused the talented midfielder to take a second caution in the 73rd, resulting in his dismissal and forcing Les Rouges to play with ten men for the remainder of the match.

It was under this adversity that USB struck for two goals. Moments after the sending-off, Elmadhi Khattabi opened the scoring and later Nabil Ibnou Zahir put Les Rouges ahead by two goals to shock CMU and the crowd of nearly 300 spectators at the Winnipeg Soccer Complex.

With all hands forward attempting to climb back into the game, Alex Klassen punched in a CMU goal, reducing the deficit to 2-1 in the ninety-third minute moments before the final whistle.

The loss marked the fourth-consecutive season that the Blazers have failed to qualify for the Conference Championships in Men’s Soccer; a run that the team will look to end in 2014. For now, their sights turn to the fast-approaching Futsal season where the technically-sound Blazers impressed last season and expect to be favourites out of the gate.

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