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Cibola ties game in 73rd minute to force tie with Yuma High
Just looking at the records, one might think the undefeated Criminals might take care of the 1-3 Raiders quite easily. If you've watched the games, you'd see a different story.
Even two 10-minute overtime halves couldn't force a decision as Yuma High tied Cibola 2-2 Tuesday night.
“It was just two good teams playing some good soccer,” said Cibola head coach Mike Fritz.
There were plenty of chances for both teams in the 100-minute match, with neither team controlling possession for more than a few minutes at a time in regulation. Once overtime hit, Cibola's deep bench allowed them to stay fresh and control the ball while the Criminals looked drained after winning 3-1 Monday against Marcos de Niza.
“Honestly they were tired,” said Yuma High coach Evan Chamberlain. “They were playing for a tie, it seemed like. They were just hanging by a thread. We were getting desperate and frustrated. Obviously when you get bad calls, you get frustrated and you stop listening to the game and start playing with emotion rather than with your head. That was very clear.”
The Criminals opened up the scoring when a frantic scrum led to a Raider own goal. Not long after that, Cibola tied up the score on a penalty kick.
After going 3-9 last season, Chamberlain noticed their undefeated start might have gotten into his players' heads a little bit.
“They came in here a little cocky. Knowing they were undefeated, knowing they beat one of their larger rivals in one of their harder games, I think this was a very humbling experience. They'll definitely have a lighter practice tomorrow to recuperate so they can head back in with the same spirit and vitality that we had against de Niza, (we can have again Thursday) against San Luis.”
Yuma High took the lead in the 55th minute when Emmanuel Alcoser scored off a perfectly placed corner kick from Giovanni Melendrez.
But that momentum was slowed down by some very physical play on both sides.
“We also had a series of injuries, which meant we had to make some quick substitutions,” Chamberlain said. “That put some of our players out of position and disrupted our momentum. You could really tell the passing was not the quality that it usually is. Just a little bit too short, a bit too wide, just lacking that overall precision tonight. I think that has to do with being just exhausted after yesterday's game. When you play back to back, it's going to be like that.”
The blow that took the remaining wind out of the Criminals' sails was a 25-yard goal off the foot of Ernesto Avila that tied the game 2-2.
Criminals goal keeper Manuel Lizo got stuck between a rock and a hard place, coming out to defend in a one-on-one situation. Avila saw an opportunity and lofted the ball high enough to clear Lizo and still drop in to the net.
Cibola possessed the ball the majority of the two overtime halves and had some great chances to get the win. Raider midfielder Paulo Amador struck a bender from the left side of the goalie box that curved around the defense and would have gone in the upper-right corner of the goal if it weren't for Lizo making a spectacular save.
“He just took a chance and had it on frame,” Fritz said. “Paulo likes to put the ball on frame and try to get some goals. He's a hard worker.”
Cibola gets a break in its schedule, playing Lake Havasu Thursday, which lost to Kofa 11-0 Tuesday night. Yuma High will face San Luis Thursday.