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Iguanas tip Beer Engines, 3-2
Late penalty completes Iguanas comebackUpdated Tuesday June 21, 2016 by Eric Thompson.
Somehow, some way, Iguanas just keep winning games. At this point the Iguanas players themselves aren't even 100% sure how. Iguanas are currently enjoying a five-game winning streak, but how they're winning most of the games isn't exactly orthodox.
Iguanas started their game against Beer Engines FC well enough on a warm, muggy Monday evening at Century College conventionally enough--they had a good portion of the possession and created a few early scoring opportunities. Beer Engines threatened a few times but Iguanas tallied the first goal about 20 minutes in. A quick series of passes through the back left side and midfield resulted in the ball ending up at Sil Chiriac's feet just outside of the box. He laid the ball off to Dalton Cristilly, who has been in excellent form the past few games. Cristilly took a couple quick touches and rifled a shot into the top of the net to give the hosts the early lead.
The advantage wouldn't last long. After the promising start, Iguanas struggled to anticipate their passes and took too many initial touches instead of finding the open pass early. Being too "cute" led to several turnovers, which led to several quick Beer Engines counterattacks. Just minutes after scoring, a turnover in the midfield led to a quick break from Beer Engine's most dangerous scorer, who sent a perfectly placed shot into the lower right corner to tie the game.
The rest of the first half was more of the same: Iguanas struggling to maintain possession and Beer Engines taking advantage. Just five minutes after the equalizer, miscommunication on the back line led to the same Beer Engines forward finding space for a shot on the top of box. Jason Radatz got a piece of the hard shot, but not enough as Beer Engines took a 2-1 lead into halftime.
Unfortunately for Iguanas, a halftime deficit wasn't anything new. It was the fourth time in seven games they had trailed. Fortunately, Iguanas were already well-versed at getting rid of those deficits.
Iguanas finally started taking better care of the ball in the second half, but Beer Engines were equal to the task early on after the break. As the half wore on, Iguanas slowly started tilting the field in their favor thanks to their deep bench wearing out a tired Beer Engines team. Iguanas had a couple of great chances to equalize around the 65th minute that were turned away by the Beer Engines keeper. They finally found their second goal on a pretty unlikely shot about 10 minutes later.
After Beer Engines had initially turned away an Iguanas corner, Cristilly won the ball back and created a sliver of space for himself to take a shot just outside the box. The shot definitely didn't have pace, but it had the perfect accuracy. Joel Giefer shielded the keeper just enough to allow the slow rolling shot to sneak just inside the left post.
The game really opened up after getting knotted at 2-2. Beer Engines forwards flew up the field for some quick attempts while Iguanas worked the ball back up to their attacking end once they gained possession. Iguanas had a few golden chances to take the lead late, but point-blank shots from Jeremy Leinberger, Brian Pearson, and Mark Peterson were all denied by the Beer Engines keeper.
Just as it looked like the game would end in a draw, Iguanas' deep pressing finally paid off. The pressure led to a Beer Engines FC clearance that seemed to be heading out for a corner. But Josh Hanson sprinted past the last defender and gathered the ball just before it went out of bounds. He made a nifty move around his man and started charging toward the goal along the end line. The defender Hanson had just beaten took him out with a slide tackle from behind in the box, which led to an obvious penalty kick call.
Scott Hunter stepped to the spot to take the penalty with only minutes remaining. He got the keeper guessing the wrong way and slotted the ball home low and to the left of center to give Iguanas a late lead. Beer Engines FC tried furiously to find a late goal but the Iguanas back line held firm to secure yet another come from behind victory.
Iguanas' latest bit of late heroics has allowed them to remain on top of the Monday Division 2 standings at the midway point of the season. Next week they'll finish their three game home stand against the only team that has beaten them this season: JAWA FC.