By Ralph Chery
City’s Men’s soccer team lost to Brooklyn College 2-1 in a close overtime game at Randall’s Island Wednesday afternoon.
Both teams played exquisitely from the get-go entertaining the 82 spectators with a memorable CUNYAC matchup. Jordy Ortiz opened the scoring for the Bulldogs, but Stephanos Hondrakis tied things up for City sending the game to overtime, tied at one apiece.
Six minutes into overtime, Stefanos Spiratos slid for a tackle inside the 18-yard box. Unfortunately for the defender, his hand touched the ball, although it didn’t appear intentional but the referee whistled for a penalty kick.
“I think the ref made a mistake, it was a tough call but it was an unintentional handball in the box,” said Spiratos. “I landed on the ball, it hit my chest, obviously my arm is next to my chest, my hand is in a natural position; I did not put my hand there on purpose to block the ball. So, it’s a tough call, it’s a tough game, the referee’s going to make mistake but whatever.”
Brooklyn’s Kenny Benitez hit the penalty towards the left corner, keeper Maxwell Berkow dove left but was just inches away from saving City. This loss pushes the Beavers down to second place in the CUNYAC with a 1-1-0 conference record.
Brooklyn took the early lead within the first 10 minutes. CCNY defender Valentino Lopez lost the ball to Jordy Ortiz on top of the box. Ortiz dribbled his way into the 18 and hit a shot past Berkow in the sixth minute to put the Bulldogs up 1-0. CCNY attempted to equalize three minutes later as Leith Taylor hit a one-time shot closed to the six-yard line but only to find the gloves of Brooklyn’s keeper Ilya Kegen.
The Beavers came close to scoring again in the 35th minute as Kevin Muniz’s long-range shot smashed the crossbar and Anthony Scarallo collected the rebound to send a curler just outside the net. CCNY had more chances to score in the first half but they struggled to put their shot on target.
Only three of their 18 shots were on target. “I guess it’s one of those days where we couldn’t finish,” Syed Haider said.
City would have to wait an hour into the game to score. It started from the freshman right back Spiratos, he sent a long ball to Abdul Rashid Abdulai. Abdulai used his speed to meet the freshman’s pass and dribbled down the line then hit a low cross to Hondrakis. Hondrakis, even though marked, managed to get a boot on the ball to score his first CUNYAC goal this season.
The striker picked up an injury while scoring and had to sit out for the rest of the game. “[The injury’s] going to be over in a day or so. I’m definitely ready for the next game, 100 percent. I’m excited to play, I will score my second or third, fourth CUNY goal, as much as possible,” said Hondrakis.
The two sides kept exchanging attacks in each other’s box in search of a victory. The best chance fell to CCNY in the 70th minute as Haider’s header was blocked of the line by a Brooklyn’s Sirojiddin Shamsiev.
An overtime loss can be a torture but the City players keep their heads up for their next fixture, “We’ll bounce back, I’m confident in my team,” Haider said.