Toronto Boca Juniors Win Futsal Canada Mens Championship
It was only fitting that the two undefeated teams during group play would meet for the championship and even more so that a Quebec/Ontario match was in the cards. Full story and photos inside.
After producing a perfect 4-0 record in Group B and scoring almost twice the amount of goals than any other team, Montreal and Laval based Albiceleste Futsal Club earned their spot into the final after defeating Quebec rivals VTL by a 6-3 score.
Group A saw Toronto Boca Juniors finish on top with victories over Kingston McBride, KW City FC, Aequitas FC, and a Sunday tilt against VTL in what is widely viewed as one of the best matches of the year.
The championship featured a star-studded cast of Canadian futsal’s best with Albiceleste boasting the likes of top scoring threats Jean William Gagné and Robert Renaud while Toronto Boca featured two Canadian National Team players in Matthew Rios and starting goalkeeper Joshua Lemos.
Gagné led the Ligue de Futsal Etoiles (LF5E) in goals this season with an astounding 49 goals in 14 games while Renaud was on fire throughout the weekend, leading the tournament with 14 goals coming into the final.
Meanwhile, Lemos was an anchor for TBJ by conceding an average of only two goals per match, a tournament best, while Toronto Futsal League MVP Kevin Correa provided tremendous leadership and stability at the back
Albiceleste defenders attempt to close down Rodrigo Quiroga
It was a boisterous atmosphere in the stunning Queen’s University ARC gymnasium as the Albiceleste faithful belted a French version of “Oh Canada” that pumped up the blue and white striped side.
However, it would be Boca Juniors that would set the pace of the match early on as Marcel Oertel blasted a vicious shot into the top corner that beat Andreas Vassiliou to put them up 1-0 in the first two minutes.
They would double up shortly thereafter with an almost identical goal as veteran Sergio Marchant scored up high to give Toronto a quick 2-0 lead.
Albiceleste Futsal Club and Toronto Boca Juniors exchange shirts before the championship match
Young prospect Marco Rodriguez gave Boca Juniors a commanding 3-0 lead by finishing off a beautiful passing play which set the fans from Toronto into a wild frenzy.
Conceding another would have put the game dangerously out of reach for Albiceleste but they adapted after a timeout and positioned themselves in a strict zone defence that repeatedly stalled subsequent Boca attacks.
Gagné would bring them back into the game by delivering a crucial goal, a howler that went through a screened Lemos’ legs, which rejuvenated their spirits.
Frustration would sink in for Toronto as they fouled out quickly and Marchant was shown a yellow just before halftime for unsporting behaviour. As the whistle blew for the break it was evident that momentum was slowly changing course.
3-1 Toronto Boca Juniors at half.
The second half immediately provided a much more open style of play with the dynamic duo of Gagné and Renaud constantly penetrating the Boca goal while team mates Ricky Cobein and Adrian Dragomirica held down the fort at the back.
The blond haired Renaud brought Albiceleste to within one and extended his tournament goal scoring lead in the process with his 15th strike of the competition.
Toronto’s aggressive play saw them get into foul trouble again early on in the half and their leading scorer Rodrigo Quiroga, the 2012 CPFL MVP, was cautioned for dissent close to the halfway point.
But the Quebecers were the ones to concede a penalty after a foul in the crease. Marchant stepped up to the penalty spot and beat Vassiliou but hit the post, much to the relief of their supporters.
Gagné would make him pay for that not long after as he potted his second of the match that evened the game at three.
The deadlock wouldn’t last long however as Rodriguez capped off a great play that gave Boca back the lead with just over five minutes remaining.
With time slowly ticking off the clock, things became very testy with Boca fouling out again and Quiroga receiving his walking papers, giving Albi a huge man advantage.
Pablo Androda also received a yellow card for dissent off the bench and it appeared as the rails were coming off for Boca. But the cool and calm play of Oertel and Correa killed valuable seconds off the penalty and allowed Toronto to maintain their lead.
Maxi Gonzalez (23) take a shot on net.
27 year old forward Maxi Gonzalez then provided a massive relief goal to put Boca back up by two.
Albiceleste almost had one back immediately after but the net came off its line before the ball crossed it and Fares Gharbi received a yellow after arguing the call. The subsequent drop ball just outside of the crease was won by Renaud whose magic left foot notched the fourth to cut the deficit back to one.
Boca suffered a devastating loss when Marchant, notorious for losing his cool, was sent off for dissent, giving Albi yet again another lifeline with just over three minutes left.
They pressed relentlessly at the Boca goal and a collision at centre court between Lemos and an Albiceleste defender could have seen a kick from the second penalty spot but to no avail.
Lemos made one more key save in the dying seconds and Boca were able to hold off just long enough to win the coveted title with a 5-4 victory in an instant Canadian futsal classic.
This is their fourth major championship this season after winning the Toronto Futsal League season and playoff titles, in addition to the Defi Futsal tournament in Saint-Hyacinthe.
Futsal Against Racism: Albiceleste Futsal Club show their class
Robert Renaud won the tournament scoring title with 16 goals in 6 matches
Tournament executives Bob Tibbo (left) and
Kris Fernandes (right) with TBJ and Canada
goalkeeper Josh Lemos