On a cold night in front of a rowdy and intoxicated crowd, the final match of the 2011 Ontario Cup Soccer Finals was one to be remembered.
A seesaw battle that went into penalty kicks had Toronto Celtic F.C. beating Scarborough G.S. United 5-4, winning the provincial championship Sunday night.
With the win, Toronto Celtic booked their ticket to the Challenge Cup at Club Nationals, held in Brossard, Québec from October 5-10th. They will represent Ontario on the national stage.
“I just though we’re here tonight, let’s do it now,” Fabrice Kabongo said, standout goalkeeper for Toronto Celtic. “If we get it done, we will always remember each others’ faces and this night.”
It was certainly unforgettable, as Toronto Celtic asserted their size and physicality versus Scarborough’s speed and creativity for 90 minutes.
The penalty shootout was like a reflection of the game: very close, and could have gone either way. Scarborough led early in the shootout, but thanks to huge saves from Kabongo, Celtic came out on top.
The game was played at a very high intensity, and got quite chippy with so much on the line.
Scarborough was more original in creating opportunities, particularly striker Jerome Baker, a second half sub. An offensive catalyst up front, he created Scarborough’s best chance to win the game in full time, coming in the 62nd minute.
Beating his defender one on one, he made a great pass to an oncoming teammate who couldn’t convert, trying to put the ball through the keeper.
Toronto Celtic didn’t create many offensive opportunities, with their best chances coming from a distance, particularly Jean Pierre (J.P.) Marshant’s cannon right foot. They lacked the offensive flair and speed to come anywhere near the Scarborough net.
Despite this, Celtic remained confident, especially injured Celtic captain Jonathan Walsh.
“We will win tonight,” Walsh stated after a scoreless first half. “Not hopefully – we will win, with the support of our fans.”
Where Celtic did have a glaring advantage was from their fan support, as the crowd was a sea of green. A green sea, but one filled with beer.
“We’re very, very thankful we’re here to support our team in the Ontario Cup final,” Jerry McClaughlin said, president of the Toronto Celtic Supporter’s Club- with a cold Moosehead in hand.
“These boys will lead us to the win tonight.”
They led McClaughlin and their loud supporters to the win, and themselves to their club’s first Ontario Cup win of any age group.