Lions Steal Dramatic 3-2 Win In Lowell
Sat, Jul 9, 2016 8:14 pm

Boston City secured a remarkable 3-2 victory away to Greater Lowell United with a dramatic winning goal deep into stoppage time, having equalized with six minutes remaining and also produced a penalty save.

Lowell looked to have earned the win after 68 minutes when Alexander Alleyne raced through a static visiting defense and fired home to earn the hosts a 2-1 lead.  The Lions had other ideas and six minutes from time, substitute Valerio Silva grabbed an equalizer when he scored from close range during a scramble in front of goal after a corner (see photo).

Defeat looked on the cards in dying seconds of regulation as Marcello Cunha was adjudged to have committed a foul just inside the penalty area, which the referee had at first awarded as a free kick outside the box.  Alleyne stepped up to condemn the Lions, but teenage keeper Vitor Scariot, whose performances have played a major part in an unbeaten run now stretched to nine matches, dived to his right to keep out the spot kick.

The greatest drama was still to come as a dubious handball call earned United a free kick deep into the four minutes of added time and keeper Cooper Hall ventured into the 18-yard box to lend his presence to the attack.  Bruno Bonicontro cleared the blocked free kick, Silva played the ball through a gaping midfield and leading a three-man rush the length of the pitch, right back Guilherme De Souza steered the ball coolly into an unprotected net to steal three points.

“I don’t know why their goalie came up when it was a tied game, but I guess they wanted the win,” said match-winner De Souza.  “The only thing I was thinking was that if Bruno got the ball to Valerio and I made a run it would be two against one.  This is what comes from us doing conditioning and we fight until the end, so I’m glad Valerio made the pass and I’m glad I was able to finish it to help the team win.

“We came back like this in games before so our team has the composure to hold it together and do things like this.  It wasn’t our best performance, but we weren’t going to lose our focus.”

The Lions’ unbeaten streak that earned a playoff place includes an impressive eight wins, some of which have featured late comebacks, though none as spectacular as this late stealing of three points.

Having already secured a playoff place in the Northeast regional section of the National Premier Soccer League, Boston City was eager to hold on to third place in the six-team seeding to guarantee a home postseason match next week.  That advantage will be confirmed by a Boston win or draw at home to Greater Lowell in the final match of the regular season tomorrow, Sunday, at 6pm at Malden Catholic High School.

Captain Ronaldo Vieira opened the scoring for the Lions after a patient opening quarter of an hour, but limped off injured after 34 minutes, perhaps fortuitously as he was replaced by Silva, who had a major influence on the win.

United equalized ten minutes before halftime through Kevin Herrera and might have led at halftime but for a timely goal line clearance from Bonicontro as Alexander Carvajal’s header from a corner looked certain to find the net.

Scariot made important saves in the 61st and 76th minutes to deny John Dumbaya and Patrick Hamilton and Michael Bustamante almost added to his six goals this season with a curling shot over, all before the dramatic comeback took place.


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