Story from Canada Kicks

Olympians Silence Wolves
Controversy mars second leg of cup final.
by David Bailey
Saturday, September 26, 1998 10:22:24 AM
  The unstoppable march of Toronto Olympians over the rest of the Canadian Professional Soccer League continued Friday night as they played host to St. Catharines Roma Wolves at Scarborough's Birchmount Stadium in a controversial match played in front of a very disappointing crowd of approximately 250 who had gathered to see the 2nd leg of the CPSL Cup Final.

Coming off last weeks first leg scoreless draw in St. Catharines, a match that veteran soccer scribe Rick Boulton described as closer than the score indicated, Roma Wolves were out to prove that they could indeed play with the league leading Toronto club while the Olympians were out to show once and for all that their 61 GF, 6 GA and 12-0-1 record was no fluke.

With the match getting underway after a mysterious 24 minute delay, it appeared that Toronto would overwhelm their guests when just two minutes in, CPSL leading scorer Gus Kouzmanis broke in alone forcing Wolves goaltender / head coach Dino Perri to make a terrific save.

Over the next half hour, the sides exchanged scoring opportunities but the tone of the match began to change.  In the 35th minute, Olympians midfielder Darryl Holmes was yellow carded for a reckless two footed sliding tackle on Wolves striker Carlo Arghittu followed five minutes later by another yellow card, this time to Wolves defender George Carbunara who took down Holmes.

The scoreless deadlock was finally broken in the 43rd minute when the ball fell to the right foot of Kouzmanis who drilled it into the high right corner of the Wolves goal past an outstretched Perri giving Olympians a 1 nil lead.  Olympians head coach David Gee commented upon the first half, "it was a typical St. Catharines - Olympians game.  We seemed to struggle, they always play us well. The first half was even but Gus Kouzmanis scored a fantastic goal like he's been doing all year."

Just before the restart, an incident apparently took place at midfield involving Toronto keeper Brian Bowes and a member of Wolves.  While what actually occurred is still unclear, it led to an incident that totally changed the match.  During the halftime interval, Perri confronted Bowes in the tunnel under the stands.  According to witnesses, when Olympians head coach David Gee moved to intervene, blows were thrown.  As a result, both Gee and Perri were ejected from the match by referee Frank Micielo. 

Gee commented, "We've tied (Wolves) three times this year and Dino Perri won them three ties, but tonight he lost them the cup final." 

Eddy Berdusco on the incident said "(Dino's) a professional, he knows not to retaliate in a game like this.  He knows better than that."

The obvious losers in this exchange were Wolves as while both sides lost their respective head coaches, St. Catharines also lost their goaltender and had to continue the match one man short.  Adding to the confusion of the situation, Perri emerged from the dressing room with the rest of his team and refused to leave the field until the referee actually showed him the red card.  Needless to say, the spectators were most confused. 

More information about this most unusual situation is surely to follow.

With substitute keeper Brian McDonald in the nets, Olympians went to the attack and would finally break through in the 60th minute when former Canadian international Eddie Berdusco was able to slot a 20 yard shot inside the far post.

Four minutes later, off a clever short free kick from Lei Gong, Gus Kouzmanis broke in and fired a 20 yard shot past McDonald to make the final score 3 - 0 for Olympians.  Gee said "We've got a good team.  We're very strong, we're very deep on the bench.  On the whole, we're the class of the league and we showed that again tonight".  Kouzmanis said "we knew they were going to come in hard in this game.  We tied 0-0 in the first game so we knew it was a matter of who was going to score first.  I had my chances, I put away what I could and that said it all."

Other Notes:  The Olympians have already locked up the league title, now the cup and will be attempting to do the "triple" in the upcoming league play-off ........ League Chairman Bill Spiers told Canada Kicks that the league playoff final will be held on Wednesday, October 14th at Centennial Park Stadium, Etobicoke ......... Gus Kouzmanis informed the media that his brother, Canadian
international Tommy Kouzmanis, is making progress from his most recent knee problems and will be active again next season - Tommy was an obvious missing piece of the puzzle for the 1998 Toronto Lynx ........ Gus leads the CPSL in scoring with 31 markers, 12 more than teammate Eddie Berdusco who has 19 while former Lynx, Lei Gong is third with 16 ....... Gong was another player missed by the Lynx this season ....... many observers are amazed that David Gee has been able to put together a line-up that could easily challenge the supposedly fully professional A-League Lynx.  Wouldn't a city of Toronto challenge match be a kick!  Unfortunately, the Lynx would never go for it as they would not want to be seen losing to a team full of "semi-pro's", three of whom were on their roster in 1997 but dropped for this past season ........ unsubstantiated rumours floated around the stands regarding the possibility that Exhibition Stadium could still, in spite of its impending destruction, be a possible new home for soccer in Toronto.  If this development were to occur, the blow of the impending Varsity Stadium demolition would be greatly cushioned ........ Olympians continue league play on Sunday, September 27th as they host York Shooters - kick-off is 7:30pm ....... Roma Wolves next match is on Wednesday, September 30th as they travel to London's picturesque "Cove Road" to play City - kick-off is 7:00pm.

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