Rino’s supporters were treated to 240 minutes of non-stop action this past Sunday as the fighting spirit of both Rino’s Fury and U-21 squads produced a pair of thrilling extra time affairs in the BCSA Provincial Cup.
The U-21’s kicked things off in the early match vs. Estrella de Chile. Rino’s boys controlled the tempo in the first half, but seemed to lack the cutting edge in the final third of the pitch. As luck would have it, Chile opened the scoring early in the 2nd half as a counter attack down the right flank lead to their player sliding the ball under the onrushing keeper. Rino’s were quick to reply as Grayson Allen latched onto a ball in the Chile penalty area and calmly deposited it in the net. Despite some good chances for both teams, neither could convert and the match went to extra time.
Chile struck first in the extra time period as their speedy substitute raced in on a breakaway and beat Rino’s goalkeeper Justin Roets. At this point the match went end-to-end with both teams taking turns attacking. Shortly thereafter, the same player repeated the feat, giving Chile a 3-1 lead. At this point the game really opened up and both teams took turns going on the attack. Into the second period of extra time, Rino’s mounted a great deal of pressure, which finally paid off in the form of a second goal for Grayson Allen, assisted by Konstantin Vasic who had pushed up from his centre back position. Rino’s kept pushing to the end, but couldn’t manage to draw level, and fell as the hard luck losers by a 3-2 scoreline.
The second match featured Rino’s Fury against VMSL Division 2A winners, Sarajevo FC. The Fury had a poor start to the match, conceding 2 goals in the first 30 minutes as the direct attacking soccer played by Sarajevo caused problems for their backline. After the halftime break, the Fury emerged like a new team, controlling the play with incisive passing and looking likely to score. The goals came courtesy of Cory Matheson, who was twice setup by Vinny Martin to draw the game level at 2-2. The pace of the game started to slow down, as both teams began committing unnecessary fouls, and a number of bookings were made by the referee. Then out of nowhere with just minutes left, Sarajevo’s #9 wriggled free of his marker and slotted Sarajevo into the lead. A defender was sacrificed for an extra forward as Rino’s Fury pushed for yet another equalizer. Ian Solven won a corner and all 11 Rino’s players pushed into the attacking half. As Vinny Martin’s corner kick swung into the box Ryan Arceneaux rose majestically above everyone and powered a header off the underside of the crossbar and into the net, knotting the score at 3-3!
As the teams returned to half, an altercation occurred, and each team had a player dismissed. When the kickoff took place, the fulltime whistle sounded and extra time beckoned. In the extra time period, Rino’s fitness appeared to be an advantage as high pressure lead to the Sarajevo keeper misplaying the ball near the top of the penalty area. The miscue lead to a great opportunity for striker Ian Solven, but he overhit his shot and sailed over the unguarded net. Sarajevo had their own chance to take the lead as a long free kick deflected off the fist of Nathan Verbeek and crashed off the left goalpost. With no one able to finish, the match went to the dread penalty shootout. Sarajevo shot first, and it was their keeper who blazed over with the first shot. He did however make amends with a smart save to his right on the Rino’s first shot. Both 2nd shooters scored, and it looked to be a tight battle. However, it was not to be as consecutive misses by Rino’s and successful penalties by Sarajevo eliminated them from the competition. It should be noted that folks from AFTN Canada were on hand, and compiled a first round wrap-up which includes a detailed report of this match.
The club now looks forward to participating in the 33rd edition of the Richmond Regional Soccer League. Matches kickoff next week with our Div 1 entry playing Ajyal Tigers on Thursday April 25, and Div 2 squad facing Richmond All Blacks on Tuesday April 23. Both of which are teams still alive in Provincial Cup Competition!