Is there much better than a football match under floodlights at night? Yes. One of those played in the fog!
That was Wednesday night at Memorial South Park as Club Inter and Rino’s Tigers battled it out in a match with important implications for both teams.
As the fog fell on what was a rock hard, icy, and borderline unplayable pitch, visibility was difficult at times, with the farside linesman struggling to see across the field at times and wondering himself if the match may have to be called off. It made it through the 90 minutes though, with both teams playing out an entertaining 1-1 draw.
Rino’s will the more disappointed of the two teams, after they made most of the running in the match but just couldn’t find the final ball to unlock a well organised Inter defence.
In the end, Rino’s were made to fight back to claim even a point after falling behind to a fine solo goal in the opening minutes from Milad Mehrabi. Inter’s top scorer took his tally for the season to seven after cutting inside and drilling into the bottom far corner from the edge of the box.
Tigers controlled the match after that, with Inter posing little attacking threat, but they barely troubled the home keeper and Inter had a couple of chances of their own to add to their tally.
But as the fog worsened, Rino’s started to look the more likely to level the match and they came close with an effort that crashed off the bar with a round 14 minutes remaining. They weren’t to be denied though and Whitecaps Residency alumni Declan Rodriguez made it 1-1 with a header from a corner about a minute later.
You felt Rino’s could go on and win the match, and although both sides had some half chances, they were forced to settle for a point.
The draw wasn’t ideal for either team, but it keeps Club Inter in fourth, six points behind leaders BCT Rovers Tigers United, with a game in hand. Rino’s stay in fifth, eight points off the top spot, but in a possible Provincial Cup qualification place.
It was hard to shoot and video in the fog, but we tried our best to capture the action. Here’s our highlights from the draw.
There’s little rest for either team, with Rino’s back in action just two days later when they head to Burnaby Lake tonight to take on Croatia SC (kick off 8.15pm).
Club Inter get an extra days rest, playing host to EDC Burnaby at Memorial at 4pm on Saturday. Two massively important games for all four teams involved in terms of the battle at both ends of the table.
The promotion and relegation battles in the other VMSL divisions are also all shaping up nicely, although a couple of teams now have some room to breathe at the top of the table.
In Division 1, runaway leaders NVFC Norvan Lions dropped their first points of the campaign, drawing 1-1 with fifth placed FC Romania on Saturday afternoon. The draw keeps the Lions unbeaten record intact and gives them a nine point lead now at the top of the table, with nine games remaining.
That point keeps Romania in the hunt for the second promotion place, albeit on the fringes and five points back of second placed ICSF Columbus.
Columbus put in one of the performances of last weekend, destroying bottom side GN North Delta 10-0 at Empire on Saturday afternoon. I saw bits of the match, inbetween watching the Division 2 match on the other pitch between 13th Legion and Coquitlam Metro Ford Lupi, and it was as one sided an affair as you would imagine from the scoreline.
We weren’t really filming anything from that match, but did happen to catch this comical goal. No idea what number it was, but kind of says it all about how the game was going for Delta by that point! They’ve definitely got a huge battle ahead to avoid the drop, and now sit seven points from safety.
The win means Columbus now have their promotion fate in their own hands as they look for an immediate return to the top flight. That said, there’s still a lot of football to be played and the way the second promotion place has been changing hands so far this season, expect a few more twists and turns along the way.
Columbus sit second on 28 points heading into this weekend’s matches, with Guildford FC and Metro Athletic FC Burnaby two points back.
Guildford kept in the hunt with a 2-1 win at Binger’s Army last Wednesday, while Metro Athletic’s up and down form continued, surprisingly dropping two points to lowly Richmond Royals on Saturday in a 2-2 draw. That made it three matches without a win for the Burnaby side, who are seeking their third straight promotion.
All of that leaves the Division 1 standings as follows.
In Division 2A, Coquitlam Metro Ford Lupi took a big step in securing back to back promotions with an impressive 4-1 win over second placed 13th Legion, extending their lead at the top to five points in the process.
It was a much closer game than the scoreline suggests and was delicately poised at 2-1 before the Lupi hit the Legion hard in the second half as they pressed for an equaliser.
Lupi’s leading scorer Eric Dove took his tally for the season to 13 with one of Metro Ford’s goals, while Giovanni Carida, Connor Ayre, and Fahim Karmali also got on the scoresheet for the league leaders. Andre Chawan got the Legion’s lone goal.
Here’s a brief video of the tail end of Lupi’s third goal and their fourth.
Vancouver Greencaps stay top of Division 2B but dropped a couple of points in a feisty Celtic derby with Harps at Trillium on Saturday afternoon.
The Greencaps opened the scoring in the first half before being pegged back in the second for a 1-1 draw.
With second placed Metropolitan thumping Euro FC 5-0 earlier in the day, that cuts the Greencaps lead at the top to nine points, having played an extra game. The two teams meet in the last match of the season, but you have to feel the Provincial B Cup champions will have wrapped up the title long before that.
Westside FC Black Aces have a two point lead over Strathcona United at the top of Division 3A, while GFC United Lions have a single point lead over the unbeaten West Coast Saints in Division 3B.
There looks to be a four horse race for the Division 3C title with Richmond FC Olympics leading the way on 28 points. Vancouver Greencaps B are a point behind in second, with West Coast Celts a further point back in third, and North Delta United another point back in fourth.
Some exciting battles ahead to close out all the divisions in the coming weeks. Get out and see some of the action if you can. You can find all the latest news, results, fixtures, and standings on VMSLsoccer.com.