By Chris Sanders
A challenging clash between two undefeated OUA powerhouses saw the Ryerson Rams men’s soccer team and the Carleton Ravens end in a goalless tie.
Heading into Sunday’s matchup, the Ravens had won five straight games while the Rams had a respective streak of their own, winning their first four. With both teams fighting for control of the OUA East, stakes were at an all-time high.
Making his first full-game appearance this season, Rams star striker Raheem Rose suited up after battling an injury since the beginning of the campaign. Now in his final season in the blue and gold, the senior is looking to get back in form along win hopes to win an OUA championship.
“I’m actually tired,” Rose laughed when talking about his return. “I feel like I didn’t play my best because I’m not game-fit, yet. Otherwise, I’m happy to be back.”
With Rose’s absence, midfielder Abdallah El-Chanti has carried a fair share of the team’s weight; scoring seven goals in five games while wearing the Captain’s armband. With the return of the OUA East player of the year, the Rams may have found the last piece to complete their journey towards a title winning season.
The first-half was far from Ryerson’s best soccer, struggling to string more than four passes each possession against a defensively sound Ravens unit. Intercepted passes and well-read coverage from Carleton put early pressure on the home team’s back-line, leaving Ryerson goalkeeper Ali Ghazanfari to handle the dirty work.
Ghazanfari’s most notable play of the game came in the first half, when a soaring Carleton header nearly made its way in the goal before he stretched out to make an incredible save. Staying humble, the third-year keeper watered down his game saving efforts in the match.
“I did my job and that’s it,” Ghazanfari said.
Improving from their play from the first, the Rams displayed a superior effort to finish the second-half of the game with nothing to show for it. The opportunities were there, but much like the Ravens, capitalizing was their biggest issue. But to the content of either side, neither had the leverage of taking 3 points from one another.
“I thought it was a game of old cliche of two-halves.” Rams head coach Filip Prostran said. “First half… (the Ravens) were clearly better the way they kept it (possession). In the second-half I thought we really made some adjustments and we really piled on the pressure.”
After the game, Prostran wanted to make it clear that these experiences—regardless of result—will push the Rams closer to a successful run when they have to deal with adversity in the playoffs.
“We have to be better than the last game. That’s always the goal. Regardless of the wins and the losses,” said Prostran. “You can play a side that’s not as strong and play poorly and think you’re great… That’s what’s really going to count towards playoffs.”
UP NEXT: The Rams will take on the Royal Military College Paladins in Kingston at the Navy Bay Fields on Saturday Sept. 15. First touch is scheduled for 3:15 p.m.