Croatia sniper overpowers City

KATHY RUMLESKI -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 2:01 PM ET

In the battle between the top two teams in the Canadian Professional Soccer League, Toronto Croatia emphatically made its case that it is now supreme.

Croatia scored three goals in 13 minutes, all by Leo Marasovic, to defeat London City 3-1 last night at Cove Road field.

Marasovic, with his speed and height, was able to cruise through City's defence and shoot bullets at goalkeeper Ibrahim Hadzic.

Croatia, last year's league champions, improved to 4-1-1 atop the Eastern Conference while City fell to 5-3 but still remains tops in the West.

City manager Harry Gauss was frustrated that his team didn't stick to basic plays.

"We're meat and potatoes -- we're not filet mignon."

London got on the board first in the 27th minute on a goal by Jeff Johnson, playing in his first game for City this year. He last played for City two years ago.

Croatia tied the game just over a minute into the second half.

Marasovic dribbled past two defenders and sent the ball over the head of Hadzic.

Marasovic then popped in two more goals in the 56th and 60th minutes.

Two minutes later and Hadzic had to knock out two more shots.

"(Hadzic) still did a good job," said Gauss.

One of Hadzic's best saves came in the 12th minute when he came out of the net to steal the ball from Croatia's Leo Laurito.

Hadzic had to guard the net after starting goalie Haidar Al-Shaibani learned this week he'll be out for six weeks. Al-Shaibani suffered a torn hamstring while playing as a full- back in last Friday's game.

Another London player was injured last night.

City defender Shawn Ord was knocked to the ground late in the game when Croatia's Tom Granic hit Ord in the face with his shoulder. Ord had to be helped off the field.

City's Erik Elmauer received a red card at the end of the game when he booted the ball at referee Justin Tasev, a former Western player.

Elmauer and Tasev later shook hands.

London was playing without two starting midfielders, Dennis Peeters and Eris Tafaj, the team's leading scorer.

Peeters and Tafaj were selected to play for the CPSL all-stars in a game today against Glasgow Rangers.

That game is at the University of Toronto at 6 p.m.

GAME GLANCE

Croatia 3, City 1

Toronto goals: Leo Marasovic (3)

London goal: Jeff Johnson

Next: The North York Astros come to Cove Road field Friday for an 8:38 p.m. game.


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