Last-minute potential game-winning goal waved off by referees for player injury, to chagrin of Shamrocks coaches
NOVI — “Every time we play, it’s a war out there.”
That was Warren De La Salle coach Thaler Mukhtar’s assessment of Thursday night’s season-opening soccer match against Novi Detroit Catholic Central.
It was a war without a victor. The game ended a 3-3 tie.
It was a war fought on two fronts. On the field, the proper focus, the Shamrocks broke out to a 3-0 lead. The Pilots battled back to tie the game with 1:41 left to play.
However, 70 seconds later, the Shamrocks converted a corner kick in a wild scramble at the goal mouth for the game-winner.
Or, so they thought.
This was the other front, the sidelines. The official had ruled “no goal” because he had whistled a timeout for an injured De La Salle player near midfield.
Coaches on both sides had been arguing with the officials all game long, some of it left over from the junior varsity contest beforehand.
Catholic Central coach Gene Pulice contended that, in all the chaos, players hadn’t heard the whistle and that play resumed normally. The official didn’t appreciate the tone of Pulice’s “contention” and ejected him.
The Shamrocks shocked De La Salle with two goals in the opening two-and-a-half minutes. Junior Clay Moscovic sent a grounder to the left corner just out of the reach of Pilots senior goalie Luke Kassin, and senior Nick Johnson’s ball slipped under the cross bar.
Junior Ruddie Harris made it a 3-0 Shamrocks lead when he kicked the ball into the net while colliding with Kassin. Kassin left the game rubbing the left side of his head. Senior Logan Manor replaced him the rest of the game.
Senior forwards John Panos and Alex Teftsis gave the Pilots new life with goals 62 seconds apart just before halftime.
With only 1:41 to play, Panos sent a free kick high and over a leaping Catholic Central goalie, John Browning, to tie the score and set up the wild conclusion.
Coach Pulice was unavailable for post-game comment. Mukhtar said it was “a tough game” and that “maybe, CC was better prepared to play than we were.”
The war resumes Sept. 24 when Catholic Central comes over to De La Salle’s side of town.