Top teams take charge
Top teams Serbian White Eagles and St. Catharines Wolves, together with International Division runners-up Toronto Croatia, all scored quarterfinal victories to advance to the semifinals following three games in the CSL Championship playoffs on Sunday.
Serbia edged Windsor Border Stars, 2-1, St. Catharines outlasted Canadian Lions in penalty kicks following a scoreless tie after overtime and Toronto Croatia scored a come-from-behind 4-2 win over North York Astros. These winning teams join Saturday’s winner Trois-Rivieres Attak following the Quebec team’s 3-0 defeat of Italia Shooters Saturday.
It was not an easy passage for Serbian White Eagles in their 2-1 victory over Windsor Border Stars at Esther Shiner Stadium, a game that could have gone one way or the other following a 1-0 Serbia lead at the interval.
Serbia’s Nikola Budalic beat Windsor goalkeeper Anthony Santilli from 16 yards at 26 minutes for that lead and Windsor forward Aaron Byrd tied the game 1-1 at the 54th minute mark. A well-taken winning goal by Serbia’s Zoran Kokot at 61 minutes held up to the final whistle. Kokot lifted the ball over an advancing Santilli to find the net, putting the International Division winners through to the semifinal.
It was a ding-dong end-to-end affair at Club Roma for a scoreless tie at the end of regulation time and 30 minutes of overtime and the back and forth continued into penalty kicks ending with a 10-9 result in favour of St. Catharines Wolves. Defender Stepfen Kamendy found the net to clinch the victory and a place in the semifinals for the home side.
Toronto Croatia came back from a 2-0 half-time deficit to win 4-2 over North York Astros at The Hershey Centre in Mississauga. The Astros took a deserved lead on a goal at 17 minutes by midfielder Gill Vainshtein and forward Selvin Lammie made it 2-0 10 minutes later.
Croatia fought to get back into the game in the second half and it was Mario Pupic who scored at 64 minutes to narrow the lead at 2-1 and Hayden Fitzwilliams struck at 90 minutes for a 2-2 tie, taking the game into overtime. Fitzwilliams scored again five minutes into overtime and Pupic sealed the win with a goal at 105 minutes for a 4-2 final score.
The semifinals bring together Serbian White Eagles and Trois-Rivieres Attak, while St. Catharines Wolves will play Toronto Croatia. These games will be played at Esther Shiner Stadium, one game each on Saturday and Sunday, October 20 and 21 with the kickoff times to be announced on Monday, October 15.