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0-0 Draw Extends Unbeaten Streak

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October 14, 2008
Joe Reinsch
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AZUSA, Calif. -- The NAIA’s No. 5-ranked Azusa Pacific generated more chances in 20 minutes of overtime while playing a man down than it did in 90 minutes of regulation, and the Cougars ended up with an ungratifying 0-0 double-overtime draw with The Master’s Tuesday afternoon. The result extended Azusa Pacific’s unbeaten streak to 7 games. The Cougars’ now have a 5-game shutout streak and have not allowed a goal in 473 consecutive minutes.

Azusa Pacific generated just 1 second-half shot, when 1 of the Cougars’ 9 corner kicks gave freshman midfielder Andrew Kirby a look, but his shot went wide of the goal. Around the 55-minute mark, 3 yellow cards were issued in a span of less than 60 seconds, and 8 minutes later, sophomore midfielder Ashkon Banihashemi was issued a red card while moving forward with the ball for contact made with the Mustang defender. The referee, who was trailing the play, ruled that Banihashemi had thrown an elbow to the jaw of the defender, and his ejection left the Cougars to play the final 27 minutes of regulation a man down.

Despite not getting another shot off in regulation, Azusa Pacific sent the game to overtime still scoreless, thanks in part to an outstanding save from senior goalkeeper James Crawford. In the 66th minute, Fabio Joaquim drilled a 20-yard effort that appeared to be on track to slip just underneath the crossbar, but Crawford’s quick reaction allowed him to tip it just over the bar for his only second-half save of his 5 saves in the game. Crawford also stopped a point-blank rip early in the first half from Jacob Marchesani, laying out to block the angle at the near post, and Crawford used his upper body to block Marchesani’s effort.

The Master’s outshot Azusa Pacific by a 13-9 margin, but the Cougars weren’t completely lacking for quality scoring chances. In the 59th minute, senior defender Jared Karkas sent a free kick from 30 yards out curling away from Mustang goalkeeper Kevin Lawson to the far post, sailing just over the head of the Cougars’ season scoring leader, sophomore forward Alex Earl. Less than 2 minutes later, another Karkas serve from the left went just over the head of Earl and the other Cougar attackers in front of the Mustang net.

Junior forward Mike Wilson was involved in a pair of chances in the second overtime, although neither resulted in scores. Junior midfielder Dana Yoshizu played over the top from the midfield, and just before Wilson was able to run onto it for a one-on-one touch in the penalty area, Lawson was able to snag the ball just ahead of Wilson. A minute later, Wilson played back to senior defender Beau Hayden, who lofted a 35-yard strike from the right side that hung in the air and lazily drifted down towards the far upper corner on the left side of the goal. Lawson retreated to the post and just got a hand on it, tipping it into and over the crossbar for the save on what would have been a game-winner.

With the tie, its first scoreless draw since a GSAC game at Westmont on Sept. 30, 2006, Azusa Pacific now has a 7-2-3 overall record and is 4-0-1 in GSAC play. The Master’s is now 7-1-3 overall, 2-1-2 GSAC. The Cougars return to action when they host Biola on Saturday, Oct. 18 at 1 p.m.