Griffins dominate Vikes but settle for 1-1 draw after late chance hits the post

Egzon Jeteshi and Chance Carter close in on Victoria's Connor Legge during Saturday's game (Tia Schram photo).
Egzon Jeteshi and Chance Carter close in on Victoria's Connor Legge during Saturday's game (Tia Schram photo).

Jefferson Hagen
MacEwan Athletics

EDMONTON – For the second-straight game, the MacEwan Griffins men's soccer team was forced to settle for a 1-1 draw in Canada West men's soccer action, this time against the Victoria Vikes.

Unlike their result against Alberta six days ago, however, the Griffins deserved a better fate this time. All over the Vikes for most of the contest, they were unfortunate to only come away with a single point.

"It's a bit frustrating," said MacEwan head coach Adam Loga. "We're leaving points out there. We've just got to bury our chances. We obviously had enough of them. We obviously had enough of the ball, but for some reason they're just not going in for us."

Stefan Gajic had the best late chance for the home side on a counter-attack late in extra time, but he cracked a rocket off the inside of the left post behind Victoria goalkeeper Harjot Nijjar and it bounced out. The official's whistle signalled the end of the contest shortly thereafter.

MacEwan outshot Victoria 19-7 (7-3 on goal) and carried the play throughout.

"I thought so, too, but at the end of the day, we have to capitalize," confirmed Griffins forward Ousman Maheshe. "We only scored one. We should have had a few, but at the end of the day, we have to score more goals."

The Vikes opened the scoring in the seventh minute as Javier Sagaste buried a penalty kick. But it was all MacEwan after that.

Maheshe was dangerous all first half and came up with the Griffins' best chance of the opening 45 when his 42nd minute cracker forced Nijjar to lay full out to tip it off the bar. Both Egzon Jeteshi and Gajic also had point blank first-half chances but sent them over the bar.

Finally, the Griffins hit the scoresheet in the 47th minute when Maheshe got a header on a rebound off Gajic's initial screaming shot off Nijjar from the left side.

"I saw Stef get the ball out wide," Maheshe recounted. "Earlier, I was making runs to the top of the 18, but this one I decided to go against the keeper. The keeper made a good save and then the ball came back to me. It was the easiest goal I think I can probably score."

The Griffins carried the lion's share of the play in the second half, but Victoria had a decent late chance in the 81st when Alex Moody had some room on the left side of the box but ripped it wide.

With the result, the Griffins improve to 2-1-3 on the season, while Victoria is now 2-3-2. 

Despite the disappointment of settling for a draw, the Griffins have plenty of positives to take out of it. 

The Vikes are only a season removed from finishing first in the Pacific Division and beating the Griffins 6-3 in overtime in a quarter-final playoff match last October. Yet, MacEwan was clearly the stronger side this time.

"It was a good team performance," said Loga. "We just expect more from ourselves."

Added Maheshe: "I felt we definitely could have had a few more goals. You saw the shot Stef had off the crossbar. It was one of those games. It didn't go our way. We have another game tomorrow, so we'll focus on that one now."

Indeed. The Griffins will host UBC Okanagan on Sunday (1:30 p.m., Clarke Stadium, Canada West TV). Victoria, meanwhile, visits Alberta (2:15 p.m.).