Ali overtime goal lifts Lewiston over Portland in Class A state soccer final

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PORTLAND — Golden cleats. Golden-dyed hair. Golden goal.

Warsame Ali put himself in the right spot with those cleats, used his head with that hair to re-direct a free kick and scored the game-winning goal for Lewiston in overtime to beat Portland, 1-0, in the Class A boys’ soccer state championship game at Deering High School’s Memorial Field on Saturday.

“I was right near the penalty box. I knew the keeper was going to come out right behind me because the keeper, during the game, he was following where the ball goes,” Ali said. “Eventually I knew the keeper was going to come out. After that I positioned myself where the keeper would come out so I could place it to the corner. So then the ball came, just flicked right over my head. I just hit it, tapped it a little, turned around, it was a goal.”

After an 80-minute scoreless stalemate, the game went to a sudden-death, 15-minute overtime. In the 10th minute of the extra period the Blue Devils (14-2-2) were awarded an indirect kick after officials ruled they had possession of the ball when the whistle blew for an injured Portland player. Nuri Othman took the free kick from 42 yards out.

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“I called Warsame’s name,” Othman said. “He’s short, but he jumps higher than the majority of the players on the team. I called his name, I was like ‘Warsame!’ and I kicked it to him. It went and it was perfect. The goalkeeper came out, he chipped it over the top of the keeper and it went in.”

The time from Ali’s header to the ball going across the goal line and into the back of the net took a few moments, with the ball rolling and bouncing through the box. Ali said he got “pretty scared” that a Portland defender might clear it away.

“Once it touched the net, that’s when I started going crazy and celebrating with the team,” Ali said.

The goal came on Lewiston’s fourth on-target shot of the game, with none of those coming in the first half. The Bulldogs (13-4-1) had just two in the first 40 minutes of what was a defensive battle.

“First of all, you’ve got to congratulate Portland Bulldogs for having just an amazing defense, and you got to congratulate Rocco Frenzilli and his staff for putting together a fine team and a fine defensive team,” Lewiston coach Mike McGraw said. “That has to be one of the most stout defenses we’ve been up against.”

The Blue Devils had their chances late in the first half, drawing six corner kicks in the final 12 minutes. Each was either punched out of harm’s way by Portland goalie Rowan Daligan or cleared by a Bulldog defender before a Lewiston player had a chance to capitalize.

“Rowan had a lot to do with it, the defense coming up strong, guys putting it out on a line,” Portland coach Rocco Frenzilli said.

Lewiston might have taken momentum into halftime, but the Portland came out of intermission with it, starting the second half on fire just like it had done in the first.

“We needed to do that because obviously, if you sit back with a team like Lewiston, it’s obviously not going to bode well for you,” Frenzilli said. “So I thought we came out, I thought we matched (their intensity).”

The Bulldogs had two corner kicks less than a minute apart in the early moments of the second half, but couldn’t convert on either. Dana Hinchliffe ripped an open shot from the right side on goal 11 minutes in, but Lewiston goalie Dido Lumu made a diving save on one of the best chances for either team in the game.

“Our kids just played tremendous defense,” McGraw said. “We made a couple of mistakes, but we recovered.”

McGraw pointed out the “phenomenal” job that central defender Henok Citenga did on Portland striker Pedro Fonseca, shutting down one of the Bulldogs’ top attackers. Citenga and Lumu teamed up to a stuff a chance by Fonseca on the counterattack with just over five minutes left in regulation.

Six minutes earlier, Lewiston showed a preview of what was to come in overtime. Othman took a free kick from 50 yards out and Cooper Millett headed the ball toward the net, only for the ball to go right to Daligan.

McGraw said that the game-winning goal on a similar play 9:11 into overtime didn’t come on a combination that stood out from any other the Blue Devils could have made.

“In a game that tight, that close, anything can happen, and that just happened to be a set piece that worked for us,” McGraw said. “It’s not like we practice it all the time, but we try to get the ball in a dangerous place and it happened.

“It was going to come down to a tremendous play or a mistake. I think it was a tremendous play.”

wkramlich@sunjournal.com

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Lewiston High School keeper Dido Lumu boots the ball during the Class A boys’ state soccer final at Deering High School’s Memorial Field in Portland on Saturday.Portland High School keeper Rowan Daligan (0) tracks the ball between defenders Quinn Clarke (4) and Tyler Lemay as Lewiston High School’s Shuwwal Shueyb tries to get a foot on it during the Class A boys’ state soccer final at Deering High School’s Memorial Field in Portland on Saturday.

Portland High School’s Zekariya Shaib (10) and Lewiston High School’s Alinoor Deqow battled for the ball during the Class A boys’ state soccer final at Deering High School’s Memorial Field in Portland on Saturday.Lewiston High School’s Shuwwal Shueyb, center, wheels and fires a shot at goal while surrounded by Portland High School’s Quinn Clarke, left, keeper Rowan Daligan and Tyler Lemay, right, during the Class A boys’ state soccer final at Deering High School’s Memorial Field in Portland on Saturday.Lewiston High School senior captain Muktar Ali cradles the state championship trophy surrounded by teammates, including Hamza Ali (18), after the Class A boys’ state soccer final at Deering High School’s Memorial Field in Portland on Saturday.Lewiston High School head coach Mike McGraw, center, embraces Bakar Shariff-Hassan (4) and assistant coach Abdijabar Hersi, left, after the Blue Devils won the Class A boys’ state soccer final at Deering High School’s Memorial Field in Portland on Saturday.Lewiston High School’s Warsame Ali (7) celebrates after scoring the overtime game-winning goal against Portland in the Class A boys’ state soccer final at Deering High School’s Memorial Field in Portland on Saturday.Lewiston High School head coach Mike McGraw, right, and Portland High School head coach Rocco Frenzilli shake hands after the Class A boys’ state soccer final at Deering High School’s Memorial Field in Portland on Saturday.Lewiston High School’s Henok Citenga, back, defends against Portland High School’s Pedro Fonseca (23) during the Class A boys’ state soccer final at Deering High School’s Memorial Field in Portland on Saturday.Lewiston High School keeper Dido Lumu, far right, watches as a Portland header sails wide during the Class A boys’ state soccer final at Deering High School’s Memorial Field in Portland on Saturday.Lewiston High School’s Yusuf Mohamed, right, and Portland High School’s Samuel Nkurunziza battle for the ball during the Class A boys’ state soccer final at Deering High School’s Memorial Field in Portland on Saturday.Lewiston High School’s Cooper Millett (27) heads the ball in front of Portland High School’s Tahn Tiparos during the Class A boys’ state soccer final at Deering High School’s Memorial Field in Portland on Saturday.Lewiston High School’s Bilal Hersi (10) leaps to head the ball above Portland High School’s Sam Mermin (6) and Emmanuel Yugu (12) during the Class A boys’ state soccer final at Deering High School’s Memorial Field in Portland on Saturday.Lewiston High School’s Yusuf Mohamed (8) and Portland high School’s Emmanuel Yugu (12) battle for the ball during the Class A boys’ state soccer final at Deering High School’s Memorial Field in Portland on Saturday.Lewiston High School’s Warsame Ali (7) celebrates his overtime game-winning goal in the Class A state soccer championship at Deering High School’s Memorial Field in Portland on Saturday. At left is Lewiston’s Hamza Ali (18), and at right is Lewiston’s Muktar Ali, Warsame’s brother.

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  • CubProd

    Lewiston vs Portland – Maine State Schoolboy Soccer Final (Full Game)

  • Kathy WHitney

    Wow, what a win! Congratulations all!