Thursday, 17 June 2010
After both teams spent the opening moments testing the water, Toronto Celtic soon jumped in feet first at the deep end, with the first of many goals in the match. After being released down the right wing, Lucero scampered towards the byline then swung in his cross towards the far post. However, the cross soon turned shot, lobbing the keeper and looping in to the far corner. Just the start Celtic were looking for.
Soon after, Celtic doubled their advantage, finding yet more joy down the right wing. The Victoria sweeper was playing far too deep, leaving plenty of space for Celtic behind the opponents defense.
Teague collected a neat chipped pass from Prior, then ran towards the byline before lashing his effort in to the net from a tight angle.
Just as perhaps a little bit of complacency might have started to creep in, with Celtic threatening to run riot without breaking much of a sweat, Victoria fortuitously pegged one back. After a lively start to the game at right back, Suzuki lost concentration for a second with a short throw back to Fourie in goal. The lanky Victoria striker was quick to pounce, and soon latched on to the throw before rounding Fourie. To rub salt in, Suzuki's luck soon went from bad to worse, after a clash of bodies following a corner, left him in agony on the deck with what looked like a broken wrist. Later, x-rays would confirm those fears, and all of Celtic wish the industrious Suzuki a speedy recovery.
Despite the injury to Suzuki, Celtic soon reestablished their two goal lead. After being awarded a freekick about 15 yards from the corner of the box, Prior floated in a curling ball, picking out O'Connor who tucked away a thunderous header into the bottom corner. Set pieces between the pair are slowly becoming something that verges on the telepathic.
Victoria were to have the last say of the half though, after winning a corner just before the first 45 were up. Given the frame of the 6ft 5" plus Victoria Striker, the danger was obvious. However, despite tight marking, the Victoria player managed to find some space at the back post before sending his commanding header to the opposite side of the goal, making it 3-2.
Celtic will have feel aggrieved having conceded so close to half time, but things were to worsen almost immediately after the break. Having failed to clear their lines after another long ball towards the big Victoria striker, had reeked havoc in the Celtic defense, the loose ball conveniently made its way to the Victoria striker, who once again made no mistake with a one on one with Fourie. For the first time in the game, besides the opening whistle, Victoria were level.
Celtic were to prove that they were not about to give up the chase though, and moments later were awarded a penalty, after another one of those bursting sprints into the box from Brooks, had tempted the opposition into a lunging challenge. Prior made no mistake with the spot kick, burying his strike putting Celtic back in front 4-3.
To keep in line with the biased theme than runs deep through these match reports, conveniently their fourth goal evades my memory. I will hazard a guess that it involved a long ball and their giant forward causing trouble in a our defensive ranks. That's what happened with their fifth. After a high ball was lobbed in to the mixer, Celtic were unable to clear the ball comfortably, and eventually the ball fell to a Victoria player just inside the right hand corner of the box, who exquisitely finished with a lobbed effort into the opposite corner.
With the threat of a first defeat looming large, Celtic made one last gamble by throwing their big man, O'Connor upfront. And, before the end of the game Celtic had a hat full of chances to grab what would have been at the very least a deserved draw. First Teague picked up a long ball that had been knocked down by O'Connor, only to see his 20 yard lobbed effort denied by the fingertips of the Victoria keeper. Next, Brooks drilled agonisingly wide from outside of the box, with a rasping effort that flew past the left upright. Then at the death Teague turned in the box to setup O'Connor, who's left effort was expertly smothered by the Victoria goal keeper, who out of nothing had suddenly tuned match winner.
Eventually the referee brought the epic game to a close, with Celtic on the wrong end of the 5-4 score line. The game was later describe by Manager Tibby as playing like Kevin Keegan's Newcastle United. And, Like the former Newcastle man, I am sure Tibby "would love it if we beat them" next time. However, Toronto Celtic will have to find revenge elsewhere, given that this will be the only meeting with Victoria this Season. Instead they will have to turn their attentions to the Cup game on Friday against Junction, who having only last week succumbed to a 6-0 drubbing from Celtic, will also be looking for some revenge.