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It appeared St. Francis Prep boys’ soccer had found the equalizer with Fordham Prep up a goal and time slowly growing short. The moment didn’t last long.
Prep’s Anthony Scarello sent a beautiful cross into the box that appeared to be headed into the back of the net by forward Lawrence Nikaj to tie the score — at least it seemed. The goal was immediately waved off and Nikaj was given a yellow card for a handball in the 64th minute.
“I saw it,” said SFP Coach Franco Purificato. “I was hoping they didn’t see it.”
Fordham Prep would add another goal, sinking defending city champion St. Francis Prep 2-0 in the CHSAA Class AA intersectional boys’ soccer quarterfinals Sunday afternoon at Belson Stadium. It was just the second time all season the Terriers were shut out. For Fordham Prep, it avenged a 6-2 regular season loss, the margin Purificato felt was the worst thing for his team coming into this contest.
“We had opportunities that we didn’t finish,” he said. “They outhustled from start to finish. Hustle won the game for them.”
The negated goal from Nikaj put a halt to the momentum that St. Francis (13-3-0) had found midway through the second half, the end of one final push for a tie.
“[The cross] was a little out of reach,” Nikaj said of the handball. “I tried to go after it with my head, but it just hit off my hand.”
Khalil Reid starred for Fordham Prep (13-3-1), scoring both goals for the Rams and almost adding a third, but it clanked off the crossbar in the 45th minute. His goal in the 66th minute sealed the victory for Fordham.
“Reid really played well. They were winning every 50/50 ball and we seemed a little lax,” Purificato said. “You can’t play lax. We went down 1-0 and were chasing the whole game.”
Among the bright spots for the Terriers were Eric Mirkov, who helped set up multiple chances in the box, and Brandon Silva, who spurred opportunities in the offensive third. None of those chances materialized into goals.
“They wanted it more than us and they showed it,” said Nikaj. “We all played hard and we had fun, but that is it.”
©2012 Community Newspaper Group
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