PHOTO COURTESY OF HENRY ZHAO

The Varsity Blues men’s soccer team entered Sunday’s game tied for first place in the OUA Eastern Conference. Their opponents, the Carleton Ravens, sat third. The game marked the second time the Blues have faced the Ravens in the regular season, drawing 1-1. 

The Blues spread the ball across the field with a spectacular passing performance and dominated the first half in possession. Ravens striker Gabriel Bitar opened the scoring in the seventh minute to claim his seventh goal of the season. Bitar’s goal from inside the penalty box proved vital for the visiting team as the Blues were shutout in the first half. 

Though the Blues trailed at halftime, they took a total of nine shots in the first half — seven more than the Ravens — with four on target. Blues striker Jack Wadden missed an early opportunity in a one-on-one matchup against Ravens goalkeeper Nick Jeffs and failed to put the Blues ahead at 2:26 minutes into the match. Jeffs played a wonderful game, making six saves, including two back-to-back athletic plays at the 58th minute mark.

Five minutes into the second half, Blues striker Nirun Sivananthan tied the match and scored his third goal of the season. Marko Mandekic volleyed the ball into the penalty box and connected with Sivananthan in the 50th minute of the game.

Bitar almost brought the visiting team to victory in the 90th minute but the attempt was stopped by Blues goalkeeper Mark Rogal with his second save of the night.

Following that, Ravens midfielder Tristan St. Pierre received a red card in the 90th minute for an illegal tackle. The Blues free kick went for nothing as they did not have enough time to cap off a last-minute victory.

The match can be summarized by missed opportunities. Of their 15 total shots, the Blues had seven on target. Toronto’s offense dominated the match with ten more shots than the Ravens, but the Raven’s defense was too dominant to allow more than one goal.

The Blues remain undefeated, winning six and drawing two — both against the Ravens. The match ends the men’s soccer team’s four game win streak and brings them down to second place behind the Ryerson Rams. The Blues’ next match is against the Rams on September 23 at Varsity Stadium.

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