Two soccer juggernauts, Fabrose and St-Laurent, engaged in one of the most anticipated matches of the U18 ‘AAA’ season last Wednesday evening.
Fabrose sits at the top of the standings, while St-Laurent lurks close behind in second place. Only five points separate the two teams, and it showed during last week’s match as the rivals jostled their way to a 1-1 draw.
“We wanted to get the three points to help secure the league title but we still got a point, which will go a long way,” said Fabrose head coach Abderrahmane Saadi.
St-Laurent opened the scoring midway through the first half, after Mohammed Anis Kardoussi took advantage of a loose ball just outside the 18-yard box. Fabrose defender Ali Camkiran slipped, leaving the field wide open for Kardoussi.
Kardoussi, St-Laurent’s most effective player on the night, made no mistake popping the ball over Fabrose keeper Younes Soubaa. St-Laurent thrived off the momentum shift and attacked their rivals with a never-ending stream of crosses.
However, their tentative 1-0 lead wouldn’t hold for long. With time running out in the first half, Fabrose struck gold. Samuel De Melo stunned the St-Laurent faithful with a hard shot from 20-yards out. The ball squeaked through the hands of Gianluca Primiani and into the bottom left corner.
“We were able to come back, even on this terrain,” said Saadi. “And the match was physical on both sides.”
The field was impossible to predict after a wet and rainy day. But navigating difficult field conditions wasn’t the only obstacle. Both teams engaged in physical midfield battles.
The second half shifted from an offensive bout to a defensive showdown. The two rivals never shied away from hard tackles, resulting in a flood of yellow cards with one player, Camkiran, receiving a red card.
Already decimated by suspensions and injuries, the match expulsion didn’t do Fabrose any favours as they were already short benched. However, St-Laurent failed to produce with the man-advantage, losing an opportunity to gain some ground on their rivals.
“I’m proud of my players because they responded well,” Saadi said. “They’re 17 years old and one is even 15 years old, today was like the championship game, and they played with adversity.”