Two 30-yard screamers hammered the Thunder men’s soccer team past the Cambrian Golden Shield and into the OCAA provincial championship final Oct. 30.
Algonquin’s 3-0 victory also means that they have booked a trip to the CCAA National Championship for the second year in a row. But they know they can’t look past the Oct. 31 match against Humber College
“It’s a little bit at the back of our minds still,” said Thunder head coach Mike Gagliano. “The. modus operandi of this team is we go to win, and if we come out tomorrow without a provincial championship it’s going to be disheartening.”
The Thunder took the lead in spectacular fashion when Osama Alsharif belted a 30-yard screamer to open the scoring in the 18th minute.
Thunder captain Stephane Emard scored another world- class strike in the 63rd minute to give the Thunder a 3-0 lead.
“It was one of a couple of things that we talked about doing,” said Emard. “It’s tough to break teams down that sit, so being able to combine through the middle, get balls wide or shoot is important. If they give you your space, take it. Both of them did it and it was absolutely magical to watch.”
The Thunder knew that Cambrian would try to sit back on them, so taking lots of shots was an important plan they had coming in.
“Two world-class strikes,” said Emard. “We knew what we were expecting and we lack shooting. We try to penetrate way too much so it was nice to get a couple of those from outside the box.
Algonquin would extend their lead to two when Marco Natoli belted home a low cross past Cambrian keeper Evan Phillips.
The Thunder will now take on the Humber Hawks in a game where they will not be the favourite.
Algonquin is ranked fourth in national rankings while Humber came into the tournament second.
“If we stay disciplined and we play an organized game like I know we can, things will come,” said Gagliano. “I think we can get in behind, have a few chances that way, and our opportunities will come as long as we’re patient.”
The Thunder go into the game believing that they won’t have to change a thing if they want to walk away OCAA champions.
“We’ve been here a million times, said Emard. “It’s just another day.”