Concordia 1, Montreal 0: the Stingers stun the best team in the country
This is the Stingers’ first victory at CEPSUM in 15 years
No, you didn’t read it wrong.
The UniversitÃ© de MontrÃ©al Carabins men’s soccer team was the county’s top-ranked team at one mile. They were on a revenge tour for losing the National Championship in their own backyard last season and had easily sidelined the teams.
Concordia was one of those teams, having been crushed 6-2 in the season opener. This wouldn’t be the case the second time around as a 79th-minute goal after a missed penalty from Anthony Phelps handed the Carabins their first loss in a 1-0 thriller at CEPSUM on Friday 8 October. It was the first time the Les Stingers have taken three points in Montreal on the road in 15 years.
“I’ll be completely honest I’m not even surprised [that we won]Said captain Sean Holmes, who never shied away from believing that Concordia was a top team. âI couldn’t be prouder of each of our guys. If we can beat the best team in the country, then we can beat anyone.
Jordy Kerlegrand took the start between the sticks and was immediately put to the test. Eight minutes later, an imposing header from Mohamadou Sylla forced a big stoppage of reaction from him as the Carabins looked to open the scoring. Montreal‘s passing flurry was greeted with the same energy and steadfast defense that helped the Stingers take a point in both of their meetings last season.
âWe’re a very confident group and we try not to let anyone dictate how we play. We have a lot of players who are very good technically, âsaid head coach Greg Sutton. “It’s an accumulation of everything we’ve done and worked on over the past few weeks.”
The rest of the first half went at a surprising pace, with neither team really imposing its will on the other. The never-ending battle in the midfield eventually gave way to an attack as Phelps broke away from his marker and took off towards the Carabins’ net, but putting the ball off, ending the half still at 0 -0.
After the restart, Montreal wasted no time reminding everyone why they were the top ranked team in the country over the past few weeks. Two minutes later, Quentin Paumier sent a warning shot from the post and followed it ten minutes later with another nice curling shot from the same post.
The pressure would continue until the hour mark when the Stingers’ top scorer Alberto Correa stepped in and re-energized Concordia’s attacking spirit.
âFinding that trust and belief in each other is something that we have improved on throughout the season,â said Holmes. “The whole team are really good with the ball and it was just a matter of having the right mentality.”
That mentality paid off when, in the 77th minute, Phelps was knocked down in the box and received a penalty. The initial shot was saved as all of the CEPSUM held their breath, but the Concordia section erupted when he was right on the rebound. 1-0 Concordia.
âI scared myself a bit, but it turned out well at the end,â said Phelps, delighted. “I’m not looking at the guard [when I take penalties]. I only saw the ball bounce back to me and made sure not to hit it over the net.
But the job was far from over as Concordia still had to defend for 15 minutes against the best team in the country in desperate search of a goal. They did a good job rejecting every Carabins attack until the 93rd minute, as a last-breath header apparently went all the way to an incredible acrobatic save from Kerlegrand, sealing the historic victory.
âI’m so proud of him, he made some of the best saves I’ve ever seen today,â said Holmes. “Jordy just has the personality, the voice and the size to absolutely dominate there.”
Concordia will continue on its way to the playoffs when it hosts the Patriotes de l’UniversitÃ© du QuÃ©bec Ã Trois-RiviÃ¨res on Friday, October 15.