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EDC Burnaby to first Provincial Cup

Burnaby-based soccer club defeats Cowichan 3-2 in penalty shootout in Open A soccer semifinal

EDC FC Burnaby is on its way to a first-ever Provincial Cup final following a 3-2 shootout win over Cowichan on Saturday.

The Vancouver Metro Soccer League premier division club played catchup against the visiting Vancouver Island side up until the final whistle, but Brendan Djambazov made good on EDC’s sixth attempt in the penalty shootout phase to advance the Burnaby-based soccer club to the cup final.

EDC will take on Inter FC, 2-1 winners over North Delta in the other semifinal, in the cup final Sunday  at Willoughby Turf in Langley at 3 p.m.

“I am very pleased with the effort displayed by our guys, the game was one of the toughest in this Provincial A Cup playdown and Cowichan executed their game plan almost to perfection,” said EDC head coach Claudio Ramirez. “Our guys were very poised throughout the match and you have to hand it to them for staying with it until the very end.”

 Cowichan opened the score on a header in the 30th minute and held the lead at half time.

Rizal Ganief, who finished fifth in league scoring this season, had numerous chances at the net, including a point-blank shot on goal in the 41st minute.

Ganiel finally evened the score early in the second half, jumping on a rebound off a shot by teammate Eric Ray that was cleared off the goal line.

In the 76th minute, Cowichan capitalized on another EDC turnover and took a 2-1 lead on an almost identical header as their opening goal.

But EDC overcame the shock 10 minutes later with Ganief setting up Habib Mohammed in the 18-yard box for a glorious chance that was volleyed wide of the goal.

In injury time, Ray made a last-minute rush from the back line, sending a cross in the box to an unmarked Ganief, who blasted the ball into the back of the net for the equalizer.

EDC went all out in the second period of overtime creating three positive opportunities to score, including a pair inside the 18 by Ray, but were stymied each time by the Cowichan keeper Tyler Liang.

In the ensuing shootout, Hugo Vasquez made two key stops, including a hand save on Cowichan’s seventh shooter that set the stage for Djambazov’s game winner.

“I think we showed a ton of character and commitment by not getting frustrated with an opponent that knew its limitations and played to their strengths,” said Ramirez. “We never stopped attempting to impose our will on the game and it eventually paid off. I am very proud of our accomplishment in reaching these finals, but I think these guys deserve more for how they’ve come together as a team this year.”

In the cup final, EDC faces an Inter team that garnered just a single point from a 1-1 draw back in November of last year in two league meetings with the Chilean club.

EDC also edged Inter 2-1 in the semifinals of the Imperial Cup in March.