Cal Ties Villanova 1-1 In Home Opener
BERKELEY - Fahmi Ibrahim converted his first career penalty kick to give Cal men's soccer 1-0 lead over visiting Villanova on Sunday at Edwards Stadium, but the Wildcats' Akinjide Awujo scored late, and the game ended in a 1-1 tie.
Cal's record now stands at 0-1-1 after the nonconference result, while the Wildcats are also 0-1-1.
The Golden Bears outshot Villanova 18-10, including 8-3 in the first half and 10-7 in the second, and eight Bears recorded two shots each on the day. On Cal's penultimate shot of the first half, Fernando Lara fired on goal, and a Wildcat deflected the ball with his hand. The referee gave a penalty kick to Cal, and Ibrahim scored his fifth career collegiate goal.
"I'm happy that my team trusted me and let me take the PK," Ibrahim said. "And I did what I do best – score."
Late in the match, Cal had its opportunities to extend the lead, including a dangerous effort by midfielder Evan Davila in the 83rd minute, set up by a give and go, but it was saved by Nova goalkeeper Kent Dickey.
But in the 87th minute, Villanova earned a corner kick, which Balthi Saunders sent into the box, and Awujo's diving header tied the game. With no overtime allowed during the regular season this year, the game soon ended in the 1-1 tie. Cal goalkeeper Collin Travasos and Dickey each made three saves.
"Our guys came out and competed, applied themselves and learned a lot in terms of our defensive organization," Cal head coach Leonard Griffin said." We kept it compact. We were hard to break down for the majority of the game. But set pieces can win or lose you games, and unfortunately, we gave one up late and come out of here with just a tie. Overall, it wasn't a bad performance for us and there were a lot of takeaways for us that will let us push forward and grow."
Cal next plays at UC Irvine on Sept. 2 and then at UC San Diego on Sept. 4.