Lancers win thriller with late goal
WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Grace College’s men’s soccer team used a goal in the waning moments of Wednesday’s match against Northwestern Ohio to extend their winning streak to four games with the 2-1 win.
The Lancers (6-2), scored both their goals in the second half, including Martim Sequeira’s game winning goal which came with less than four-minutes remaining in the game.
Grace entered the game after being ranked No. 5 in the NAIA Top 25 Coaches’ Poll which was released early in the afternoon.
This match was the fifth consecutive game for the Racers in which their opponent was in the coaches’ poll. That stretch for the Racers included games against No. 1 Bethel and No. 23 Indiana Wesleyan.
Once the action started it was the Racers who had the first two shots. UNOH’s second shot forced a save from Matteo Conci who had recorded three clean sheets in his previous three appearances.
The Lancers had their fair share of possession in the first half, but Grace was light on scoring chances.
At the 25-minute mark of the half the Racers nearly broke through. UNOH found a soft spot in the Lancers defense and worked the ball though the middle of Grace’s defense. Conci was able to make the initial save from point blank range and then Grace’s defense alertly played the ball out of bounds to prevent a rebound.
Grace’s best scoring chance of the half came late in the opening stanza. Daniel Santos Rosa made a nifty move to dribble around a defender and looked to have a streaking Sequeira open on the far side of the net.
However the game remained deadlocked when a Racer defender made a great hustle play on the ball and was able to clear it away from danger before it found the foot of Sequeira.
The rest of the half went by without incident as the game entered the halftime intermission tied at zero.
UNOH had a 5-2 shot advantage after the first 45-minutes while Grace held a narrow 2-1 advantage on corner kicks.
Once the second half started, it took very little time for the game to find its first goal.
Less than two-minutes into the half Jonny Mora and Flavio Cruz worked the ball up the field and Juan Garcia curled a ball past the UNOH keeper from 20-yards out to give the Lancers the 1-0 lead.
With the one goal lead, the Lancers looked energized and continued to mount pressure. Sequeira nearly doubled Grace’s lead after he settled a bouncing ball in the box, but the UNOH keeper matched Conci’s save from the first half with a point blank stop of his own.
Sequeira was again denied his first score of the game when he had a goal waved off due to an offsides ruling.
After nearly falling behind by two goals, the Racers had a pair of chances but they were unable to connect with the back of the net on either try.
As the game entered the final 20 minutes it seemed as if it was heading for another 1-0 Grace victory. The Racers however, had other plans.
After the Lancers thwarted a number of attempts from UNOH, the Racers finally broke through on a perfectly placed chip shot from the top of the box. The shot came from the middle of a swarm of players and sailed just over the outstretched hand of Conci to tie the game with 13:23 left.
After seeing their lead dissipate late in the game, the Lancers responded with an overwhelming offensive attack. In the next five minutes Grace had a number of close chances and three corner kick opportunities.
With only three minutes left in the game the Racers finally succumbed to the Lancer onslaught.
Garcia forced a UNOH into a turnover deep in their own corner and then Santos Rosa crossed a ball into the box that Sequeira beautifully headed into the goal before being mobbed by his jubilant teammates.
UNOH was unable to produce a credible attack in the final moments as Grace held on for the 2-1 win.
UNOH ended the game with a 9-8 shot advantage, but Grace was able to put two more shots on goal. The Lancers held an astounding 7-1 advantage in corner kicks.
Sequeira led all players with four shots and Conci made three saves.
This game marked the end of non-conference3 play for the Lancers, who will kick off Crossroads League play on Saturday with a trip to Mt. Vernon.