Ayuda FC defeats Amro Travel FC to be crowned CCSL Division 4 champions
By Joe Cotugno, Montreal, QC
Aug 11, 2011
Ayuda FC won the CCSL Summer 2011 Division 4 championship tonight by defeating the Amro Travel FC squad in penalty kicks. After a hard-fought exciting match that ended in a 1-1 tie, the Orange & Blue outscored their opponents 4-3 in penalty kicks to take home the CCSL Division 4 cup. “It took us 4 years, but the Ayuda FC squad has finally shown their strength on the pitch by taking home this championship,” said Joe Cotugno, Vice-President of Client Services at Ayuda Media Systems, and 4-year veteran and captain of the Orange & Blue squad.
“Every single player on the team deserves the credit for this win, and I am extremely proud to have been a part of the team’s success,” added Andreas Soupliotis, President & CEO of Ayuda Media Systems, and 4-year veteran of the Orange & Blue.
AMRO TRAVEL TAKE THE EARLY LEAD
The match started off with the Ayuda FC squad dominating the play and keeping possession of the ball mostly to themselves. However, the Amro Travel side took an early lead in the 5th minute when they capitalized on a defensive breakdown by the Orange & Blue to put one past Ayuda goalkeeper Steven Ciampanelli.
“Despite owning the match until that point, we made a series of errors in our half which resulted in a goal by Amro,” commented Rosario Guglietta, sweeper for the Ayuda squad. “It was tough to accept being down by one so early in the match, but we knew there was still 55 minutes to play, so we concentrated on tightening up the defense and getting that goal back.” Ayuda controlled the play for the remainder of first half, and fought hard to get the equalizer. At least three shots hit the goalposts or crossbar of the Amro Travel net, and several others were sent slightly wide by Ayuda defenseman Marco Manocchio, forward Guido Muzzo, and midfielder Jeff Lagendyk. Ayuda striker Stefano Vani pressed hard into the Amro zone in the 22nd minute and was fouled inside the box to earn a penalty kick attempt. His kick sailed into the net just beyond reach of the Amro goalkeeper to bring the match to a 1-1 tie.
TENSIONS RISE IN SECOND HALF
With both teams knowing that the championship was on the line, the tension escalated in the second half. Players on both squads fought hard for possession of the ball, and several challenges resulted in cautions early on. Ayuda midfielder Jeff Lagendyk received his first yellow card of the season for a rough challenge on his Amro opponent. However, he quickly made amends by sending a blistering shot from 30 meters out that tested the Amro goalkeeper’s ability. Ayuda striker Ivano Pirro added to the barrage of shots against the Amro net a few minutes later with a missile fired from inside the box which was stopped by the keeper. Thomas Okeke, Ayuda midfielder, headed a well-timed cross from striker Stefano Vani just over the crossbar in the 48th minute, eliciting cheers from the Orange & Blue fans in the stands (nicknamed the Orange Tornado). With the score tied at 1 and time dwindling down, both teams turned up the pressure in the final minutes of the match. Those same fans witnessed several heated exchanges amongst players on both sides, and lots of shouting from both teams. The tensions rose to a pitch when Craig Hastings, Ayuda midfielder, was fouled by his Amro counterpart, and both players were sent off with a red card for exchanging words. The match ended in a 1-1 draw and proceeded to penalty kicks with the Ayuda FC side missing one of their star penalty kickers, Costa Foussekis, who missed the match due to a scheduling conflict. Moreover, after having played an excellent match, Ayuda defenseman Gaetano Cardone, who had substituted in the final seconds of the match, was unable to participate in the penalty shootout.
AYUDA WINS IN PENALTY KICKS
With the championship on the line, each team prepared their initial lineup for the penalty shootout. Amro Travel slipped one past Ciampanelli on their first shot, while Ayuda fullback Anthony Mormina sent his opening kick over the crossbar. The tally rose to 2-0 when Amro scored on their second attempt and Ayuda striker Mark Shine’s penalty kick was stopped by the Amro keeper. With the pressure mounting, forward Ivano Pirro kept Ayuda in the game by scoring on his attempt, after Amro scored on their third try. With the shootout score at 3-1 in Amro’s favour after 3 kicks each, it was Ciampanelli’s turn to shine for Ayuda. He stopped the next two shots by Amro, while Lagendyk and Vani hit the net for the Ayuda side to bring the tally to 3 all. Ciampanelli again came up with a brilliant save against the Amro side’s 6th kicker to give Ayuda the opportunity to take the championship. But it was Ayuda striker Guido Muzzo who would have all the glory as he chipped in a glorious penalty kick to end the shootout at 4-3 for Ayuda. “I just visualized the ball hitting the back of the net and tried not to think about the last time I was in a position to win a match on penalties,” proffered Muzzo, a 3-year veteran of the Orange and Blue, referring to his infamous miss in the semi-final round of the Summer 2010 season. “I was glad to have the opportunity to make up for last time, but I was also confident that I would make this shot,” Muzzo added. In the stands, the Orange Tornado erupted in a frenzy of cheers and the Orange & Blue squad celebrated on the pitch as though they had just won the World Cup. “In our eyes, after 4 years of toiling in the league, winning this championship felt like winning the World Cup,” commented Ricardo Poupada, the Ayuda midfielder who was sidelined with a season-ending injury earlier in the season.
ABOUT AYUDA FC
Ayuda FC is the official football club of Ayuda Media Systems, developer of Splash™, BMS, and Symphony, the world’s most sophisticated software platform for the D/OOH industry. With over ten 3-year veterans and several 4-year veterans on the squad, the CCSL 2011 summer season turned out to be the Orange & Blue’s most successful season yet.
ABOUT CANADIAN CORPORATE SOCCER LEAGUE
The Canadian Corporate Soccer League (CCSL) is a non-profit, co-ed, recreational soccer league, committed to offering a high-level of organized play and promoting the league’s core values: Team play; Healthy living; Inter-company networking; and Amateur sport. The CCSL believes that on the road towards Corporate Social Responsibility, corporations must participate in healthy living habits and contribute to a better work-life balance of all its employees.
Partner, Senior Vice President of Global Client Services
Ayuda Media Systems
+1 (514) 845-0824 x200