Two Newton teams met with decidedly different fates in quarter-final action of the Vancouver Metro Soccer League's Imperial Cup playdowns last weekend.
Defending provincial champion ICST Pegasus (VMSL premier) held off a determined Estrella de Chile (VMSL div. 1) 3-2 on Friday night. Meanwhile the same evening on the North Shore, Akal FC (d1) was blanked 3-0 by premier powerhouse West Van.
The Surrey United Firefighters were slated to host the Metro Ford Wolves Saturday, but the game was rescheduled to tonight (Feb. 23) due to adverse playing conditions at Cloverdale Athletic Park.
In Newton Friday, Pegasus had their hands full with a scrappy Chilean side. The Horsemen took the lead twice only to have the visitors battle back to tie the contest.
Niko Marcina scored on a penalty kick in the eighth minute to open the scoring for Pegasus and Chetan Jhooty's marker in the 35th minute put the home side up 2-1 at the break. Chile leveled the count early in the second half but Jhooty salvaged the evening by slotting a pass to a wide-open Reynold Stewart for the game winner in the 70th minute. Chile created a couple of superb scoring chances in the dying minutes of regulation but goalkeeper Amar Dhinsa and the Horsemen defence held on to preserve the win.
"Chile is in first place in the first division so they will be moving up to premier next year," said Pegasus coach Rob Reed. "They have a skillful and gutsy team and when you look at their results, they've already beaten one very good premier team (Delta) in the cup draw so we definitely did not take them lightly. They're a scrappy team with some skillful players and they kept responding with a push back every time we got a goal."
Pegasus will now watch tonight's SurreyMetro Ford clash with interest, as the winner of that game will play the Horsemen in the Imperial Cup semifinals next month.
"We're moving on to the next round now and depending on what happens Wednesday, we could be facing Surrey again in the semifinals," he said. "We have a score to settle after losing to them in the cup final last year so we should have no problem getting up for that game if we play them. It'll be great if we can have a Surrey derby in the next round but we'll have to wait and see what happens."
In other Imperial Cup play last weekend, Akal's run came to an end on the shores of Burrard Inlet as they were eliminated from contention with a 3-0 loss to West Van.
Akal goalkeeper Nuno Jesus was outstanding as he made several timely saves to keep the scoreline respectable. Akal defenders Raj Chohan, Surinder Janda, and Harb Chohan also played well for Akal.
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