October 7, 2006 CSL summary of Semi-Final games (from CSL website)
GABRIEL POP STRIKES FOUR
Saturday - October 7, 2006
Italia vs Eagles final
Italia Shooters surprised Toronto Croatia 1-0 and Serbian White Eagles controlled Windsor Border Stars 6-1 in the CSL semi-final playoffs at Esther Shiner Stadium Saturday, to produce an Italia vs. Eagles final at the same ground next Sunday, October 15, a 5 pm kickoff.
Romanian pro Gabriel Pop of the Eagles scored four goals to be the player of the day in the two semi-finals, while Jason De Thomasis was the earlier hero for Italia with a late winning strike and certainly one of the most important of the season to put his side in the championship game.
Italia and Toronto Croatia fought a close contest in the opening game of a double header at the North York venue with Croatia having a decided edge in the first half. But as the game went into the second 45 minutes a younger Italia squad gradually forced Croatia on the back foot with some slick passing and dangerous crosses including long throw-ins that came close to bringing results.
The breakthrough came at 83 minutes as a result of more of the same from Italia combined with a questionable move by Croatia ‘keeper George Azcurra who committed himself well out of his net. Italia forward Bill Androutsos made headway up the left wing, moved the ball inside where it was pushed to De Thomasis who calmly rolled the ball into an empty net from 10 yards.
In the second game, except for one or two good opportunities for Windsor to score an early goal, particularly a good effort by Woreth Sampson who was unlucky not to score at the 24th minute mark, there appeared little doubt Serbian White Eagles would overcome the Border Stars as the game progressed. The first-year International Conference team had a wide margin in the midfield and on attack.
Pop opened the scoring at 29 minutes, a goal that came from a cross by Sinisi Ninkovic with Milos Scepanovic creating a bounce that allowed Pop to volley into the roof of the net from 10 yards.
Scepanovic made it 2-0 at 34 minutes and Pop added a hat-trick to his earlier strike with a goal two minutes later, then at the 49th minute mark and again at 61 minutes to secure the CSL goalscoring title with 27 goals, four more than team-mate Sasa Viciknez who finished second..
Border Stars’ Ablaya Abdulla made it 5-1 at 68 minutes and defender Joshua Gordon rounded off the Eagles scoring with a goal at 80 minutes, for a 6-1 final score.
It’s a return trip to Esther Shiner Stadium for the CSL Championship next Sunday at 5.
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