Windsor Border Stars of the Canadian Professional Soccer League and Ottawa St. Anthony Italia, an amateur team in the Ottawa Carleton Soccer League, will meet in the Open Canada Cup Final on Labour Day following semi-final wins at Cove Road in London Sunday.
Border Stars gained a berth in the final following a 5-1 semi-final victory over Capital City Ambassadors of Ottawa and Ottawa Italia scored a well-deserved 3-1 win over Metro Lions of the CPSL's Eastern Conference.
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Windsor Border Stars, in its inaugural season in the Canadian Professional Soccer League with strong support from both sides of the Canada-U.S. border, scored five goals in succession after being 1-0 down after 31 minutes.
br>Capital City's first half lead resulted from the penalty spot goal by goalkeeper Sabrahima Traore following an infringement inside the 18 yard line. But Windsor took control beginning with goals by midfielder Tati Errelade at 37 minutes and forward Steve Wonsch at 44 minutes to make it 2-0 at the break. Jeremy Harkins 80 minutes, midfielder Mike Vonella at 84 minutes and Errelade with his second at the 86th minute mark completed the 5-1 final score.
Ottawa St. Anthony Italia took a 1-0 lead on a goal by Allan Popazzi at the 41st minute in the second semi-final and forward Huffman Tabe made it 2-0 at the 69th minute mark. Metro Lions’ defender Marko Janjicek cut the lead to 2-1 at 70 minutes, but Italia came back with a strike by Abraham Osman at the 87th minute mark for a 3-1 final.
Border Stars and Ottawa Italia will meet at Cove Road in London Labour Day for the Open Canada Cup Final, a 3.08 p.m. kickoff shown live on Rogers with highlights in southwestern Ontario on the New PL network.
Metro Lions edged their way to the semi-finals of the Open Canada Cup with a 2-1 defeat of London City in a wild card game at Cove Road in London Friday, an encounter reminiscent of the 2003 final when these two teams met in the first year of an open competition being pointed Canada-wide in the next year or two.
London City won that one on penalty kicks following a 1-1 deadlock at the end on 90 minutes plus overtime, but Lions were taking no chances on experiencing the same fate this year as the Scarborough-based team fought to hold on to a precarious 2-1 lead through to the final whistle.
“We had the edge early, but London controlled the second half, I’m pleased we came through,” said a relieved Goran Miscevic, Lions’ head coach minutes after the game ended.
Romanian-born forward Gabriel Salustius headed the ball past London ‘keeper Haidar Al-Shaibani to open the scoring for Metro Lions after 28 minutes for a 1-0 half-time lead and Maxim Dorneval made it 2-0 for the Toronto team at the 77th minute mark, his eighth goal of the season.
London midfielder Tonino Commisso struck the London goal two minutes later, to set-up a tense and physical cup-tie tussle lasting more than 20 minutes during which the game could have turned the other way.
London’s Erik Elmauer came close to breaking through, but the Lions’ defence, which included the A-League’s Edmonton Aviator Chris Handsor, held tight.
Tempers flared near the end and an altercation resulted in Lions’ goalkeeper Gregory Drakes and newly-signed London defender Mark Wagenaar being red-carded.
Harry Gauss, head coach and GM of London City was disappointed in coming so close in searching for a repeat of last year. “We had the chances, we could have done it, but didn’t. I’m disappointed, of course,” he said.