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Ramirez saves Matadors in 4-3 win over Chandler-Gilbert
In a nail-biting battle between the No. 6 Arizona Western College Matadors and the Chandler-Gilbert Coyotes, the Matadors snuck in to beat the Coyotes 4-3 in a thrilling Arizona Community College Athletic Conference shootout.
The game was down to the final five minutes, with both teams hungry for the victory. Shot after shot, save after save, the Matadors finally broke the tie when Francisco Ramirez headed the game winning goal off a Lupe Paz corner kick at the 85th minute.
Both teams continued to fight it out and it came down to the last play but Matador goalkeeper Oscar Hernandez denied the game-tying goal as time expired.
“This was the poorest we've played in three or four years. We were ahead 3-0, and we won 4-3. Not good,” Arizona Western coach Kenny Dale said. “Chandler-Gilbert is a good team. We needed to take them serious. We did all the things I said not to do. We did everything to give the game away. We need to be more disciplined, and we have leadership issues which we will be addressing. Cisco is good in the air. It was great to win at home and I am glad he rose to the occasion. We are not a favorite to win any games. We are too young to be a favorite.”
Both teams had much to prove and tempers started to flare — both teams were called on yellow cards in the 20th minute.
Arturo Valle put the Matadors (9-2 overall) up about two minutes later when he shot a bullet to the upper right side of the net past the diving gloves of Coyotes goalkeeper Ryan Duran from about 25 yards out. Valle scored the Matadors' second goal off a Ramirez assist in the 56th minute. Francisco Alvarez shot with his heel and scored the Matadors' third goal off an Etiandro Tavares assist in the 70th minute.
Then the Coyotes (9-2 overall) came howling back with three unanswered goals of their own — two of which came in a span of a minute and 45 seconds. Sensing the game was out of reach, Chandler-Gilbert's Eric Burton headed in the Coyotes first goal in the 71st minute, followed by a Jose Madrigal penalty shot caused by a Matador handball. Gerardo Larios Jr. tied the game 3-3 with a header in the 82nd minute.
“We started off slow, but then we stepped it up. We got ahead and then we slowed down again and they tied it up,” said Ramirez. “It never passed my mind that we were going to lose. We just slacked off. We got confident we were going to win. They (Chandler-Gilbert) got their self-esteem back up.”
The Matadors will host No. 19 Glendale at 6 p.m. Thursday.