By Mitchell Fox
The TMU Bold men’s soccer team defeated the Carleton Ravens in thrilling fashion in their Ontario University Athletics (OUA) quarter-final match Saturday night at Downsview Park, scoring a 90th-minute penalty kick.
The 2-1 victory booked the Bold a ticket to the OUA semi-finals set for Wednesday evening at Downsview Park.
The game-winning tally came off the foot of striker Ameer Kinani, who nabbed his eighth goal in seven appearances in 2022 with a powerful strike into the bottom corner. Kinani said he was proud and thankful for the effort of his teammates through 90 minutes.
“Taking that pen as I looked at the coaches, I looked at the fans and I looked at my players and I’m like, ‘this pen is gonna move them up to the semis or it’s gonna kick us out,’” said Kinani. “Thank God that we scored.”
The penalty kick was far from the first of the game either. Along with Carleton’s lone goal coming on a second-half penalty kick, the first half ended scoreless in large part due to a timely diving save by Ravens goalkeeper Tyler David on a penalty kick by Justin Santos in injury time.
Still, Kinani said it didn’t matter to him that the goalkeeper was confident—he knew what he wanted to do with the ball.
“I wasn’t even scared. It’s like there was a sign or something saying ‘okay, just take the pen,’” he said. “I had my spot and I knew that was how I was gonna hit it. And I just went for it.”
Bold head coach Filip Prostran said the decision to go to Kinani was based on usual penalty taker Santos having his shot saved by David earlier in the game and on the eventual goal scorer being unfamiliar to opposing teams.
“I just think when you miss one and you’re rattled, give it to someone fresh [and] that they have no tape on,” he said.
The Bold opened the scoring early in the second half, with forward Luca Di Marco gathering a pass off the head of Kinani and firing a low shot past David.
The game was tied at the 90th minute thanks to a penalty kick goal by Carleton’s Luca Piccioli in the 71st minute. The goal came on the heels of a penalty call that brought fans to their feet in a hurry, as goalkeeper Ali Ghazanfari was called for clipping a Ravens player during a routine clearance.
Bold head coach Filip Prostran said he needed to check the video again to be sure of the exact call, but nevertheless, the way the team rebounded showed how they fought throughout the game.
“We could have [fallen] apart in that moment,” he said. “The guys just stayed locked in and moved on. And that’s the difference–to stay mentally strong.”
Alongside back-and-forth action, the game had its share of drama, with four yellow cards handed out across the two teams and players and fans on both sides having plenty of words for the referee throughout.
Kinani said all of what was seen in Saturday’s game was a part of the sport.
“That’s why it is the beautiful game,” he said.
Prostran said the game was “no doubt” in the top three most special games he has been a part of.
“I think it’ll hit me tomorrow more,” he added.
The game was supported by an electric atmosphere, led by boisterous TMU family, friends and fans. Kinani said it was amazing to get the win in front of all of the team’s staff, as well as fans.
“We hope we can just pay them back and then take the team to Nationals,” he said.
Thanks in part to a 3-1 victory for the Waterloo Warriors over the York Lions, the Bold will be the home team for Wednesday’s semi-final matchup. Kinani said it is amazing to have that advantage again.
“I think that works in our favour. We have to take advantage of that,” he said. “Hopefully we get an even bigger crowd next week and we can just book a flight to B.C.”
UP NEXT: The Bold take on the Waterloo Warriors in the OUA Semifinals on Wednesday evening at Downsview Park. Kick-off is set for 7 p.m.