story from The London Free Press.
Monday, October 2, 2000
Croatia bags Primus Cup by upsetting Olympians
By KATHY RUMLESKI, Free Press Sports
Reporter Money can't buy a championship
was the message Toronto Croatia gave Toronto Olympians yesterday.
Croatia upset Olympians 2-1 to win the Primus Cup, the Canadian
Professional Soccer League playoff championship, before 500 spectators at
Cove Road field.
"It's great for the club and it's
great for the league to see that another team can win," said Croatia
midfielder Chris Handsor, a former A-League player with the Atlanta
Silverbacks who started last season with the Olympians.
Olympians finished atop the standings and won the League Cup this season.
Last year, they won the league, Cup and playoffs.
It was an evenly
played match and it took a penalty kick to get things rolling at the 67th
Olympian Peyvand Mossavat was called for obstructing
Handsor inside the box.
Defender Josip Draganic took the penalty
shot for Croatia. He fooled goalkeeper Brian Bowes by keeping the ball on
the ground, shooting it just to the left of Bowes, who barely moved on the
"That got things going for us," Handsor said.
Olympians played with more desperation after that but Croatia also
stepped up its game.
Croatia went up by two when Draganic's
brother, Deni Draganic, one-timed a shot from about 25 yards out. It was a
bullet that went through several people and Bowes didn't have a chance to
Olympians finally got on the board with less than a
minute left in the game when Croatia goalkeeper George Ascura came out of
his net for the ball and it got behind him. Gus Kouzmanis, the league's
top goal scorer, ran in and easily headed the ball into the net.
Olympians coach David Gee said Croatia deserved to win.
"We're too complacent now; it's tough to get motivated."
Olympians were highly criticized for paying two Vancouver 86ers of
the A-League -- Darren Tilly and Rick Titus -- to join them about two
"If I was in David Gee's spot, I would have done the
same thing," said former London City coach Tony LaFerrara, now technical
director for the North York Astros.
"(But) I'm very disappointed
the CPSL didn't try to protect other teams. Players such as Tilley and
Titus can come in and play the last three games of the season and it's not
City player/coach Jurek Gebczynski agreed: "They use the
loophole to bring in fresh guys."
CPSL director of operations
Chris Bellamy said club owners did not want a trade deadline.
said he was in favour of a deadline for signing players but, when the
owners didn't want one, he played within the rules.
it backfired on Olympians, who managed to win the League Cup in a 1-0
battle over the St. Catharines Wolves but couldn't mesh for the playoffs.
"It's sometimes tough to bring in players late. Sometimes it
breaks the rhythm of the team," he said.
Croatia won the
championship without its No. 2 goal scorer, Paul Moore, who got married
Handsor was Moore's best man and missed Saturday's
semifinal, a 3-1 win for Croatia over Wolves.
He said Moore was
willing to play in yesterday's match but Handsor told him to stay with his
"I said . . . 'We'll win it for you.' "
banquet was held after the tournament.
City's Michael Kubicki was
nominated for rookie of the year. A win would have given London the award
for the fifth straight year but Jimmy Kuzmanovski of the Oshawa Flames
Other award winners were: Biatte Smith of Olympians, best
defensive player; Willy Giummarra of York Shooters, most valuable player;
Peter Libicz of North York Astros, goalkeeper of the year; Lucio Ianero of
the Wolves, coach of the year. Olympians were given the fair play award.
Copyright © 2000, Canoe Limited Partnership. All
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