Photo by Christian Bender

Pair of extra time goals send Rams to Final Four

By Andrea Elliott

TORONTO - A pair of goals in extra time from their regular season leading scorers powered the Ryerson Rams men's soccer team to a dramatic 3-1 win over the Toronto Varsity Blues in OUA quarter-final action on Sunday night at Downsview Park.

Tied 1-1 after 90 minutes, it didn't take long for the Rams to take control of the game in extra time. Just three minutes into the first overtime frame, Abdallah El-Chanti swung the ball on target and after taking a deflection off the back of a Toronto defender, found the back of the net to give Ryerson a 2-1 lead in the 93rd minute.

A mere three minutes later, first year striker Mirza Custovic added some insurance with his second goal of the game.

The Rams were able to close out the rest of the extra time unblemished, defeating their downtown rivals and advancing back to the OUA Final Four.

After a scoreless first 45 minutes, Ryerson opened the scoring early in the second half. Nathaniel Tambakis sent in a cross from the right wing which found the head of Raheem Rose. Though his header was stopped, Custovic was there to tap the ball out of the Toronto keeper's hands to give the Rams a 1-0 lead in the 46th minute. Despite not scoring the goal, Rose was credited by his coach for his hard work throughout the game.

"Raheem is a guy that, to be honest, doesn't need a lot of coaching or information; he does best when he can just go be Raheem," said coach Filip Prostran. "[Tonight] I just said to get Raheem the ball more. He's one of the best players this program has ever seen and when he's on the ball good things just seem to happen."

Twenty minutes after Ryerson opened the scoring, the Varsity Blues found an equalizer when Jae Jin Lee sent a ball into the box and Anthony Sousa got his head to it, redirecting it past Rams keeper Ali Ghazanfari.

Ryerson was able to respond, building the momentum back and creating quality chances, but they couldn't find a winner before extra time was needed.

Looking ahead, the Rams will take on the top seed from the West division, the York Lions, at the Final Four, hosted by the Carleton Ravens. This marks the sixth straight year the Rams are headed to the Final Four and this year, they're looking for a better result.

"We want to win, that's our mentality...we want to get over the curse and with the hunger of some of our younger guys I think we can do it," said captain Abdallah El-Chanti postgame.

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