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Alhassan's two-goal performance propels AWC past Chandler-Gilbert
Vaquero scores two goals for Matadors
Arizona Western's 4-1 win over Chandler-Gilbert was a dream come true for Bello Alhassan. The Matadors' midfielder knocked in two second half goals and assisted on one in the victory over the Coyotes.
But the victory wasn't the only thing that Alhassan had dreamed about the night before the match. During halftime of Wednesday's game, AWC coach Kenny Dale asked Alhassan if he wanted to rest during the second half, since he was suffering from an injury.
"He looked like he was injured," Dale said. "But Bello said ‘ I had a dream that I scored a goal coach, so leave me in.’ ... So here’s to guys from Ghana that have pleasant dreams."
The game was a rematch of the Sept. 23 contest that ended in a double-forfeit. A bench-clearing brawl occurred with four seconds remaining which resulted in 16 suspensions. The Matadors led, 2-1, at the time of the altercation.
AWC's Carlos Vaquero put the Matadors on top by that same score. After trailing 1-0 five minutes into the game, Vaquero scored goals at the 45 and 62-minute mark to give AWC a 2-1 lead.
The Matadors played an aggressive style and kept the ball on the Coyotes' side of the field for a majority of the second half. AWC rattled 10 shots on the goal, seven of which came after intermission.
"We didn’t come out as intense as we should have," Vaquero said. "Being down 1-0 is a dangerous lead because the other team is going to be aggressive. We knew that whoever came out harder in the second half was going to win the game."
After Vaquero's goals, Alhassan made good on his promise to Dale. On a corner kick from 80-feet out to pad the Matadors lead, 3-1. Alhassan found the net once more, this time from 25-feet, on a two-on-one breakaway.
"I made sure I split the gap, took the ball," Alhassan said. "As soon as I see that space, I take it."
The last goal by Alhassan drew ire from Chandler-Gilbert's coaches. After originally signaling possession for the Coyotes, the officials didn't visually indicate that possession had been given to the Matadors. The lack of indication caught Chandler-Gilbertout of position which led to Alhassan's goal.
The Coyotes were unable to record a shot-on-goal after the mishap and finished game with four shots.
Dale said that he wasn't concerned about another confrontation occurring between the two squads, but he still took time to tell his team to keep their cool.
"I told our guys to play with a lot of discipline - tactical discipline, emotional discipline," Dale said. "You just have to play smart, no matter who you’re playing."
The game wasn't without physical play. Their were 23 total fouls during the game, three yellow cards against Chandler-Gilbert and red card ejection against AWC's Randy Folgar.