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Late goal gives Alberta a 2-2 draw with UBC in clash of CIS titans

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UBC’s Navid Mashinchi has the ball at his feet, as Alberta’s David Mensah-Agyeman tries to cut him off. PHOTO: STEVEN SANDOR

The Canada West clash of the titans between No. 2 UBC and No. 4 Alberta ended in a 2-2 draw, thank to an 81st-minute equalizer that Golden Bear Jonah Feil headed off the underside of the bar and in.

Feil’s goal spoiled UBC’s bid for a perfect season: The T-Birds came into Foote Field for Saturday’s marquee CIS match with an 8-0-0 mark.

Even though UBC had nine of its 10 outfield players behind the ball, and had yanked 11-goal man Gagandeep Dosanjh in order to sit on the 2-1 lead, an inch perfect ball into the box found Feil’s head — and the Bear sub made no mistake.

“We had been struggling a bit in the aerial battles this season,” said Feil after the match. “But today I thought we did really well on both the offensive and defensive ends. Our centre backs did very well in the air.

“We knew that UBC was coming in here with their perfect undefeated record, and we wanted to make that streak go away.”

Alberta, despite coming into the game as the No. 4 ranked program in the country, has struggled of late. The Bears came into the UBC tilt match with just win in its last four, and lost points to both Fraser Valley and Saskatchewan on late goals.

Coach Len Vickery said it felt great to turn the tables.

“I thought the response from our team was fantastic,” he said. “We have been disappointed that in the last few games, we have given up goals at the end of games, a penalty-kick goal to Fraser Valley in the last minute and then a last-minute goal to Saskatchewan. This draw felt totally different.”

Alberta had the lead within the first 10 minutes of the match, as Zenon Markevych poked in the loose ball after a lofted ball deep into the penalty area caused huge problems for the UBC backline. It was a bit of a sucker punch, as UBC had been pressing, and just seconds before Dosanjh had danced through the Alberta defence and blasted a shot just wide.

But the lead didn’t last long. T-Bird Miguel Michelena was able to turn and shoot after battling Saler for control of a bouncing ball in the Alberta penalty area. Golden Bear keeper Jay Vetsch made the first save, but Michelena pounced on the rebound.

UBC dominated the possession through the second half, while the more physical Alberta side hit on the counter. But, after the Bears lost the ball in midfield, UBC’s Cameron Davis was able to turn at the top of the penalty area and then beat a helpless Vetsch to give the T-Birds the lead.

But, with UBC falling back to protect its advantage, Alberta was able to hit for the equalizer.

The T-Birds did have a great chance to win it in injury time, but Paul Clerc’s header grazed off the crossbar.

“The teams from British Columbia play a different style than the teams from the prairies,” said Vickery. “They are very physical and they really put pressure on you whether the ball is in the ground or in the air. And the test for us, is how did we deal with that pressure? And we created a couple of chances and converted them.”

U of A faces another Canada West power, the Trinity Western Spartans, on Sunday.

Alberta’s task: Find a way to stop UBC’s Dosanjh (CLICK)

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