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Forge draw Cavalry in first leg of Canadian Championship

It was a wild one in the Hammer tonight as Forge hosted Cavalry in a  battle of the Canadian Premier League’s top two teams in Canadian Championship action.

Head Coach Bobby Smyrniotis was not on the bench for tonight’s match as he was in Europe completing his UEFA coaching license, so Peter Reynders was in charge of the bench tonight.

The first 45’ was fairly unique, with the bulk of the action coming in the first and last 15’ minutes of the half. Tristan Borges was perhaps the brightest light for Forge tonight as he was causing all sorts of problems for the Cavalry back line

However, it was Giuliano Frano who had the best of the early chances, but his shot was denied by Cavalry keeper Nikolas Giantsopoulos.

The middle 15’ was rather uneventful with both of the teams seemingly reeling things in after the early flurry, and were unable to generate much of anything in the offensive thirds.

In the final 15’ of the first half, things would open up again and Borges continued to work his magic on the right wing. He had the most dangerous chance of the first half, but he too was denied by Giantsopoulos.

Cavalry’s Nathan Mavila, perhaps frustrated by Borges, picked up a yellow in the 40’ for a questionable challenge.

Elimane Cissé would have a chance, just before the halftime whistle, but the teams would have to enter the locker room with no score.

We wouldn’t have to wait long for a goal in the second half however, as Forge would dash down on a counter attack. David Choinière would find Emery Welshman in the centre of the box and he would make no mistake, sending the ball into the back of the open net to put Forge ahead 1-0.

Welsh

Continuing to threaten, Borges almost made the highlight reel a few minutes later but his free kick was denied by a diving Giantsopoulos.

Coach Reynders would bring in Marcel Zajac in the 63’ for Choinière, who exited after setting up Welshman on the opening goal. Zajac wasted little time making an impact, but his scoring chance would go behind for a goal kick.

Forge would use their second substitution in the 82’ minute bringing on Chris Nanco for Borges who was phenomenal yet again. Reynders would use his final substitution to bring on Kwame Awuah for Welshman in added time.

Unfortunately, it was Déjà vu for Forge and Cavalry late in the game. Goalkeeper Quillan Roberts was given a red card in the fourth minute of added time and Cavalry was awarded a penalty kick with a chance to tie the game. Having used all three of their substitutions, Forge was forced to turn to midfielder Alexander Achinioti-Jönsson  between posts to attempt to save the penalty and the match. However, Dominique Malonga would make no mistake and Cavalry would do what they’ve done so many times before and add a goal in the dying seconds of the match. Things would finish 1-1, but Forge has to feel like they deserved better in this one.

The two teams will be back in action a week today in Calgary, to determine who goes on in the Canadian Championship. They’ll be back at Tim Hortons field on Saturday June 15 when they host Valour.