Griffins fall 2-0 to Pronghorns after scary collision sidelines goalkeeper

Antony Caceres battles a Lethbridge defender during Friday's contest (Joel Kingston photo).
Antony Caceres battles a Lethbridge defender during Friday's contest (Joel Kingston photo).

Jefferson Hagen
MacEwan Athletics

EDMONTON – Soccer became secondary at Clarke Stadium on Friday when MacEwan goalkeeper Marko Ilich lay on the field for nearly half an hour before being taken away in an ambulance.

Lethbridge's Damon Field elevated in the box to head home the opening goal off a free kick in the 66th minute, wiping out Ilich in the process, as the keeper fell awkwardly during the heavy collision and stayed down on the field.

It was tough emotionally for the Griffins to play on through an unprecedented 23 minutes of extra time, even after Ilich gave a thumb's up as EMS wheeled him out of the stadium. 

"Absolutely it is," said MacEwan head coach Adam Loga. "A brother went down, and we just hope and pray things are OK. It's bigger than the game. We still had to play it out, but it is what it is."

Lethbridge scored an insurance marker on a penalty kick (Will Hughes in extra time) after Tyrell Cook was taken down in the box, and handed the Griffins a 2-0 defeat.

MacEwan deserved a better fate in a game that was fairly even, but their finishing third wasn't there on Friday.

The Griffins' best chances came in the second half when Ali Yildiz hit the post and Lethbridge keeper Armaan Thawer got a toe on Antony Caceres' low blast from the top of the box.

"We had more of the ball," said Loga. "I thought we needed to be a bit more convincing in the final zone. They beat us off a set piece and we move on to tomorrow."

Injury woes also hit the Griffins late in the second half when captain Stewart Jamieson rolled off the field clutching his knee, but he's hopeful to play tomorrow. Loga named the defender the team's MVP after the contest.

"He plays with a lot of heart and emotion," he said. "He's our heartbeat. I hope he's OK, too, and we'll get him tomorrow."

The Griffins will host Saskatchewan on Saturday (2:30 p.m., Clarke Stadium, Canada West TV), while the Pronghorns visit Alberta.