Kingston FC moved one giant step closer to a home playoff game with a dramatic come-from-behind 5-4 victory over second place Toronto Croatia today (Sunday) at Queen’s West campus.
The win – engineered by a spectacular four goal performance by Mademba Ba – put Kingston into third place in the CSL’s 1st division – two points ahead of fifth place SC Waterloo with a game in hand and just two games left in regular season play. The first four teams get home field advantage in the first round of the playoffs, which begin on October 12th.
Kingston FC plays league leading York Region next Saturday, September 27th in its final regular season home game before heading to Brampton for the last game before the playoffs.
Kingston scored first, then Croatia tied the score and then – with the first half almost over – Croatia defender Josip Keran scored twice – first on a free kick that he curved around the Kingston defensive wall and then on a penalty kick. Croatia led 3-1.
But in a scoring burst that lasted just three minutes, Kingston came back with two superb goals on three and four way passing plays that gave Nathan Klemencic and Mademba Ba open shots.
The game was tied 3-3 at half time.
Ba scored his third goal just six minutes into the second half and the scoring spree stopped. With time running out, Kingston was still up 4-3.
Then just before the 90 minute mark, the ball bounced around in front of the Kingston goal and Ante Zivkovic managed to steer it into the net. The Croatia players rushed the ball back to centre hoping to pull off a last-second victory.
But it wasn’t Croatia, it was Kingston FC and more specifically Mademba Ba – starting for the first team only for the second time this season – who finished off the game. He scored his fourth goal at the 93rd minute in injury time seconds before the final whistle.
Kingston had handed Croatia only its fourth loss of the season.
Although two of Croatia’s four goals came on set pieces – a free kick and a penalty shot – all five of Kingston’s goals came from speedy drives down the field and pin-point passing especially by Edgar Soglo and Catalin Lichioiu, both of whom twice set up goals with a superb pass or cross.
In the first game, Kingston FC’s reserves, who have already clinched first place in the second division, battled gusty winds and a strong Croatia Reserve team to a 1-1 tie.