BB5 United CCB capped off another fantastic Vancouver Metro Soccer League (VMSL) season by lifting their first ever Imperial Cup at Empire Field on Sunday afternoon.
The famous trophy, first played for in 1913, has a new name etched on it after the Surrey side made it a league and cup double with a 1-0 victory over Croatia SC, but they were pushed all the way to the final whistle by the four-time winners to finally write their own name in the history books.
It had been an interesting journey to the final for BB5, who needed extra-time to eventually get past Port Moody SC 7-3 in the round of 16, after the teams were tied at two apiece after the 90 minutes. Devin O’Hea hit a hat-trick, Farivar Torabi got a brace, and Riley Pang and Daniel Sagno chipped in with a goal each on the way to victory.
Danylo Smychenko was the hero in their 1-0 quarter-final victory at home to West Van FC, grabbing the 31st minute winner, before goals from Elie Gindo, Torabi, and Smychenko gave them a 3-0 semi-final win over Division 1 side NVFV Norvan to book their spot in Sunday’s final.
Croatia’s path to the final saw them dispatch SFC Pegasus 3-0 in the round of 16 thanks to an Ivan Salov double and a goal from Nicolas Budisa. A Budisa hat-trick gave Croatia a 3-0 win over Columbus FC in the quarter-finals, setting up a tasty semi-final with Coquitlam Metro Ford Wolves.
In a closely contested game, Admir Salihovic broke the deadlock for Croatia in the 70th minute before Jadon Lashley’s stoppage time penalty gave them a 2-0 win and sent them into the final.
Sunday’s showcase wasn’t a classic, with both sides creating chances but not their usual clinical selves in front of goal.
With the game goalless and seemingly heading into extra time, an unfortunate handball in the box gave BB5 the chance for a dramatic late twist and Matteo Polisi took full advantage of the opportunity, firing home a 90th minute winner from the spot to secure the VMSL league and cup double for the Surrey side in the space of a week and capping off another great season for Ted Hans’ team.
You can watch our highlights of the final and the postgame trophy celebration above, and see Residual Image’s photo gallery from the game HERE.
Both BB5 and Croatia now turn their attentions to the BC Provincial Cup which gets underway this weekend. BB5 United start the defence of their trophy with a round of 16 game against VISL side Bays United from Victoria (kick off is 12.30pm on Sunday at Newton Athletic Park in Surrey), while Croatia travel to the island on Saturday to take on Gorge FC (3.00pm kick off on the Hampton Park turf in Victoria).