TMU second-year forward Zak Abdi tallied a pair of goals in the second half of the consolation final at the U SPORTS Men’s Soccer Championships in Kamloops to lead his team to a 2-1 victory over the UQTR Patriotes.
Gabriel Wiethaeuper-Balbinotti opened the scoring for the Patriotes as he netted his third goal in two games at the tournament.
In their third game in three days, no team showed any signs of fatigue to start the match. Most of the game was a high-paced, back-and-forth affair with no team able to capitalize on the chances created.
The Bold had one of the best chances in the first half when Ameer Kinani found himself wide open 12-yards out from the goal but he was unable to direct his shot on target.
The deadlock was broken right before the final stroke of the first half when Second Team All-Canadian Wiethaeuper-Balbinotti, placed a left-footed ball into the bottom left corner from the top of the box.
TMU would respond three minutes after the restart. Bilal Reslan sent a freekick into the box that found Abdi, who put the ball into the back of the net on the half-volley.
Both teams would trade chances to find a winner in the 71st minute.
TMU sent in a freekick that resulted in a scramble, forcing two brilliant saves from Mathieu Lacharité and a crucial block from a Patriotes defender. On the ensuing counterattack, the Patriotes would go on to strike the crossbar from a powerful strike from Etienne Bertrand.
The Bold would take the lead in the 75th minute, as Abdi would not make a mistake after a deflection fell straight to his feet on the edge of the box. That goal would stand as the winner despite a late push by UQTR.
With the conclusion of this game, both teams cap off a fantastic season. The U SPORTS Men’s Soccer National Championships will conclude Sunday afternoon with the bronze medal game played at 11:00 a.m. PT between the Cape Breton Capers and the Montreal Carabins. The gold medal game will follow at 2:00 p.m. PT with the UBC Thunderbirds facing the host TRU Wolfpack.
Nike Top Performers:
- TMU: Zak Abdi
- UQTR: Gabriel Wiethaeuper-Balbinotti