Monday October 1st, 2001.
Magical Goal for Osman
by Winnipeg Fury
Magical goal for Osman
Algonquin grad earns Wizards CPSL title
By STEVE MACFARLANE, Ottawa Sun
Just call him the Wizard of OZ.
Abraham Osman put a header past Toronto Supra goalkeeper Garrett Caldwell to give the Ottawa Wizards a 1-0 victory in the Canadian Professional Soccer League OZ Cup final yesterday.
"As soon as the ball crossed that goal line, it was like the world was lifted off my shoulders," said an ecstatic Osman after the game, still holding the OZ Cup in his hands. "I felt like I was on top of the world."
A wide-open second half saw the Wizards miss a few glorious opportunities to grab the lead before Osman put away a lofty cross by teammate Allan Popazzi with less than 10 minutes to play.
League-leading goal scorer Kevin Nelson showed off his fancy footwork early in the half, slipping through three Supra defenders before his shot drifted just wide.
But it was a different-looking Wizards squad in the final yesterday after clinching a spot with Saturday's controversial default win over the St. Catharines Roma Wolves. Although the Wizards lost that game 1-0 on the field, the Wolves were disqualified for using two ineligible players.
And while some felt the route to the final was tarnished, no one could dispute the title win.
"It was a tough game," said Osman, an Algonquin College graduate. "It was a struggle for 90 minutes. We kept saying at halftime it just takes one goal."
Wizards general manager Jim Lianos says the team regained its form just in time to take the first of three major CPSL titles late in their inaugural season.
"This is probably the best game the guys have played in the last couple of weeks," said Lianos. "We told them you should leave everything you've got on the field. When you come off you should be crawling, and they did that."
With a one-down, two-to-go attitude, the team is now focusing on a pair of crucial games at OZ Optics Stadium next weekend.
On Saturday, the Wizards play the Montreal Dynamites at 6:30 p.m., while on Sunday, they take on the Toronto Olympians at 4 p.m. in what will likely be the game that decides the regular-season title.
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