Men's Varsity, Soccer, Sports

Redbirds soccer takes home win in first Pride game

After losing their RSEQ season opener to the Université de Québec à Trois-Rivières (UQTR) Patriotes (1–1–0) on Aug. 30, the Redbirds faced off against the Concordia Stingers (0–1–1) in their second home game of the regular season. In a physical match-up that left the Redbirds short-handed for most of the game, the Redbirds (1–1–0) took home their first win of the season. Sunday’s match also marked the Redbirds’ Pride game, with both coaching staff and most players wearing rainbow armbands.

“It’s important to raise awareness among our spectators and players too,” assistant coach Pierre Lepage told The Tribune. “I know that our players received a seminar on the matter during the preseason. You shouldn’t be discriminated against because of your sexual orientation, your skin colour, your religion. This is a message we’re trying to reinforce, to become a more tolerant community that accepts differences.”*

The game opened on a sweltering 28 degree afternoon, with stands filled up by spectators, eager for the match to get underway. As the sun beat down on the Redbirds throughout the first half, the Stingers mounted a strong offense, and despite McGill’s best defensive efforts, buried the ball past goalkeeper Ludovyck Ciociola for a 1-0 lead. 

The pressure from a rowdy crowd and heat started to affect the gameplay, with players getting more and more brusque as the game went on. Although there was rough play from both teams, midfielder Emilio Rossi-Levin landed two yellow cards within one minute, resulting in his ejection from the game and leaving the Redbirds short-handed for the remainder of the match. 

“It wasn’t an easy game, because you’re ten men against eleven [for almost the whole game], and keeping the ball is difficult,” third-year defender Martin Baudelet told The Tribune. “The game was very choppy, [having us] running away, running down the wing […] and for the other shifting from left to right. Obviously, it was very tiring.”

As the first half came to a close, forward Mathis Cyr equalized the score with a corner kick and the Redbirds headed into the second half in a 1-1 tie.

The second half saw more successful action from the Redbirds, with no less physicality. First-year midfielder Nassim Kemel pierced through the Stingers goalkeeper, to give McGill a 2-1 lead early in the second half. 

As the action continued, Ciociola faced several scoring attempts from the Stingers, before being taken out due to an injury sustained while making a save. However, Ciociola’s injury opened the door for goalkeeper Christopher Cinelli-Faia to enter the game.

As the Redbirds settled back in with their new keeper in net, first-year forward Yoan Simard buried another goal to make it 3-1. However, in the last few moments of the game, a Concordia shot hit a McGill player, going into the back of the net for a 3-2 final score. 

*This interview was translated from French by the author.

Moment of the game: Following a breakthrough toward the Stingers’ net, unfortunately thwarted by Concordia’s defense, third-year defender Baudelet sustained an injury. He was ultimately able to continue the game after receiving medical attention.

Quotable: “It’s McGill against Concordia; it’s a hard game. It wasn’t a beautiful game. But it’s very, very, very pleasing to get this win.”

– Third-year defender Martin Baudelet on the importance of beating Concordia
Stat Corner: The match featured 14 penalty cards, including one against the McGill team as a whole and one red card, 21 fouls, 13 attempted shots, five goals and 13 corner kicks.

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