PFC head coach Pa Modou-Kah said the winning match reflected the overall performance of his team: “Our boys fought and fought and fought and the character of our team showed itself.”
PACIFIC FC 2 – CAVALRY FC 1 after extension
It turns into a fairly nifty Canadian soccer maneuver known as pulling an Alphonso. That’s exactly what Kunle Dada-Luke did, who saved the ball from elimination and then passed it from the goalkeeper in extra time to give Pacific FC a dramatic 2-1 win over Cavalry FC in the Canadian Premier League playoff semi-finals game in Calgary on Saturday.
Canadian international Alphonso Davies scored a goal in last month’s World Cup qualifier against Panama after saving the ball just before rolling over the sideline.
“You never stop. You have to keep playing and keep playing, ”said PFC head coach Pa Modou-Kah of the versatile full-back / striker Dada-Luke’s determination to keep the ball in play as it appeared to roll.
Kah said the winning game reflected the overall performance of his team: “We showed resilience. Our boys fought and fought and fought and the character of our team showed. “
The winning goal was hotly contested, with Cavalry FC coaches and players arguing that the ball got rolling before Dada-Luke knocked it off the legs of Cavalry goalkeeper and former Canadian U-20 player Marco Carducci.
“It was a controversial decision,” said Cavalry FC head coach Tommy Wheeldon Jr.
“But the linesman is the only one who counts. We cannot change calls until VAR arrives. I’d rather focus on our boys until the administration improves. A call here or a bounce there and it’s off to the final. It’s numbing to be honest. Our changing room is very quiet. “
PFC will rise to the top of today’s semi-finals in Hamilton, Ontario, between first-placed and two-time defending champions Forge FC and fourth-placed York United. If Forge FC wins, they will host the CPL championship game against PFC on December 5th at Tim Hortons Field. If York United causes a stir, PFC York will host the final next weekend at Starlight Stadium in Langford.
“The most important thing is that we want to win the championship, whether at home or away – we want to do that for our fans,” said PFC goalkeeper Callum Irving.
“It was all at stake [Saturday]. We knew the winner would go to the final and the loser would go to the end of the season. We fought, fought and won and the guys gave everything for over 120 minutes. We are exhausted but happy. I’m proud of the boys. “
There was deflation in the Calgary team’s room, especially when it came to the winning goal.
“It hurts to know how everything has turned out,” said Cavalry FC captain Mason Trafford.
“It’s hard to take. In nine out of ten cases this does not happen or it is called. I thought there is a chance they might flip it. But that didn’t happen. Then the ball goes to the center line and all you have to do is keep going. I haven’t seen a definitive repeat yet. The discussion about VAR is about my pay grade. But everyone would love to see VAR.
“Ultimately, chance plays a bigger role in a playoff than in the 28 regular season games.
“It felt like this was the year for us to become masters. It still feels that way. It hasn’t sunk in yet. I had no doubt that we would win this game. Even after this goal I was sure that we would equalize it again. “
The always lurking PFC striker Terran Campbell hit the post in the first minute. Manny Aparicio, a Josh Heard cross, headed the ball at Campbell’s foot to give PFC a 1-0 lead in the 33rd minute. Karifa Yao, on loan from CF Montreal from Major League Soccer, equalized in the 47th minute with a header from a corner for Cavalry.
“That was a great game for the league. It wasn’t pretty, but it was playoff football and a great advertisement for tough, gritty Canadian football, ”said Wheeldon. He got no argument from the PFC bank manager.
“The CPL needs such games and such rivalries. Calgary is a top notch organization, ”said Kah.
“Football is a game with small margins. Today the margins were on our side. And we’re happy to get them and go to the final. This group is never satisfied and wants to reach another level. “
PFC will get this chance.