Portuguese sinks AEK's Cup bid

KATHY RUMLESKI -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 9:42 AM ET

For the second year in a row, London Portuguese eliminated league rival AEK Olympic from the Ontario Cup with a 1-0 victory.

The Western Ontario Soccer League Premier teams were tied at the half in their second- round game at Cove Road field yesterday.

Giscard Degourville broke the deadlock in the 77th minute when he headed in a cross from Alan Hirmiz.

"Giscard came back to haunt them," said Portuguese manager Carlos Miranda.

Degourville played a few seasons with AEK before returning to the Portuguese.

"I should have never left in the first place. These guys (Portuguese) are family to me," Degourville said.

"The game was tight. All it was going to take was one goal in a game like this. It was two good teams going at it. I was just fortunate to be on the field at the right place at the right time."

Portuguese goalkeeper Paul Azevedo saved the game for his team with only eight minutes to play.

AEK's Terry Peak drilled the ball at him from about eight yards out and Azevedo dived to stop it.

"He's a top-notch goalie. That's the typical save he does. I wish it went in," said Peak, who defied the heat and humidity with his hustle.

Peak said it was a huge disappointment for his team to be knocked out of the Ontario Cup in the second round two years in a row.

He said AEK will now concentrate on the Canadian Professional Soccer League's Canada Cup tournament.

AEK plays the Hamilton Thunder Sunday at Cove Road in the second round of the Canada Cup.

"We have to forget about this game and move on," Peak said.

Miranda said his team, which won the Ontario Cup in 2002, has had trouble scoring lately.

"We prevailed. We defended well. I think experience comes into play -- finding a way to win."

In the second Ontario Cup game at Cove Road yesterday, Toronto Benfica defeated Sport London Benfica 3-2.

Toronto had two men red-carded, while London had one in the physical game that turned ugly.

Toronto lost a player for two yellow cards with about 20 minutes left in the game.

Moments later, Jason Carellas scored to bring London within one and then a fight broke out.

Toronto keeper Pedro Vieira and London's Justin Medeiros were sent off after the melee.

"It's a Portuguese rivalry. It was intense," said Rob Pereira, who scored London's first goal to make the game 3-1.

Altin Ruci played a strong game in the London net, making three exceptional saves in the first 20 minutes.

Toronto kept pressuring and finally got through Ruci in the 23rd minute.

Samuel Afriye scored the first of his two goals with a left-foot bullet that went into the far right corner of the London net.

His second goal, a header, came in the 28th minute.

Varlen Castilo scored the third goal for Toronto at 55 minutes.

The match started a half-hour late after Toronto's bus broke down.

"We were up ready to go at 5 p.m. We had to re-start and (keep) cool," Pereira said.

In women's Cup play, London Forest United Eagles defeated London Marconi Westman 1-0 on a goal by Sonia Curvelo at 58 minutes.

"We had possession for most of the game. We finally got one," said Eagles coach Anthony Camacho.

Sarah McGill had the shutout.

The Eagles will play Rexdale Elite in the next round July 10 in London.

In other weekend soccer action, the London Gryphons defeated the West Michigan Firewomen 1-0 on Friday night.

Natalie D'Oria scored the winner for the Gryphons, who improve to 5-1-2.

The Gryphons play the Cleveland Internationals on Canada Day at North London stadium, starting at 7:10 p.m.


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