After scoring a combined 10 goals back in January’s matchup, it was a much different battle between No. 14 Cibola and No. 19 Chandler this go around.

In Thursday’s 6A state play-in game, the familiar teams seemed to have each other figured out. That was until Jesus Canez ripped a kick from inside the box into the top of the net with 12 minutes remaining to help the Raiders win 1-0. It was his fourth goal of the season.

“It was kind of a scrum in the box,” Cibola coach Bryan Claudio said. “It was a big difference maker in the game. Both teams competed really well. It wasn’t a pretty game at all. It was a little more gritty, but that’s the way games are going to be in playoffs.”

Cibola is now 4-0 when Canez finds the back of the net.

The Raiders had several opportunities to get a lead early, but couldn’t capitalize inside the box. Max Garcia’s free kick, which was ultimately saved, was Cibola’s best chance in the first 40 minutes.

However, it was the diving save by Cibola’s Adrian Matus that helped keep things square headed into the break. Matus fully extended to his right and made an incredible save with a minute left in the first half.

Claudio praised Cibola’s defensive efforts to shutout a team that netted six on them just a month ago.

“Kids learn,” he said. “We’ve gotten better throughout the season. The kids learned from our previous matchup and how they were coming to attack us. I really like the adjustments that they made.”

Cibola will be the No. 13 seed in the 6A’s round of 16, and will play at the No. 4 seed on Saturday.

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