Lewiston’s Moubarek Abdourahman heads a ball away from Edward Little’s Christian Beliveau during a boys’ soccer game on Monday in Auburn. (Adam Robinson/Sun Journal)
AUBURN — Enock Citenga made the biggest save of the game, then was banished to the bench.
His Lewiston teammates made sure the save was worth it, and it was in a 1-0 Blue Devils win over Edward Little in a boys’ soccer rivalry clash on Monday.
With just over 10 minutes left in the first half and the game scoreless, Citenga stood on the goal line and stopped a Red Eddies (2-2) shot off an Oliver Hall corner kick, using his hands to do so. That earned Citenga a red card, a spot on the bench for the rest of the game, and forced the Blue Devils (3-0-1) to play a man down for the rest of the game as well.
It also earned the Red Eddies an all-important penalty kick, which Hall was tasked with taking. The senior’s shot went over the goal, and the game stayed scoreless.
“Oli is a senior captain. He’s worked his tail off for four years. He deserves that shot, and that’s a shot he makes probably nine times out of 10,” EL coach Tim Mains said. “It just didn’t go our way today. It wasn’t meant to be.”
The missed attempt meant a sigh of relief for the Blue Devils, all the while taking the wind out of the Red Eddies’ sails.
“It was uplifting knowing that we didn’t have to fight to come from behind a man down,” Lewiston coach Mike McGraw said.
It was a key moment from an otherwise quiet first half between the rivals. Christian Beliveau gave the game a kick-start when he jumped in front of a clear attempt by Lewiston goalie Dido Lumu 20 seconds in, but the re-direct rolled wide.
There were just three on-target shots in the first half — two for Lewiston, one for EL.
“I was very pleased with how we defended,” Mains said. “I did think we limited their opportunities quite well.”
“I thought that Edward Little’s strategy was excellent,” McGraw said. “They played everybody back, they forced us to do something different that we’re not comfortable doing, which is what you’re supposed to do.”
Both teams had close chances in the opening minutes of the second half. Joel Musese had a dangerous cross go into the box 30 seconds in for Lewiston, but the Red Eddies were able to clear it away. Beliveau got a head on a Hall free kick from just outside the box less than two minutes later, but it sailed just off-target.
Despite being a man down, the Blue Devils kept up their pressure offensively, but the shots still wouldn’t go in.
“Lewiston, they’re in such good shape and they are so highly skilled that it’s almost not really even a disadvantage for them,” Mains said. “They have more space to work, they’re going to work a little bit harder knowing that they’re a man down.”
Musese, who had another cross go to waste and missed a finish himself on a cross from Jama Abdullahi, got a good look at EL goalie Mack Sampson and sent a hard, low shot that Sampson punched away. The clear attempt went right to Bilal Hersi, who took a touch before firing past Sampson with 17 minutes left.
“Once Joel took the shot, I made a motion right. Once (the goalie) put it out, I took a touch and just put it in,” Hersi said.
“He made the initial save,” Mains said. “I thought he did a nice job punching it. He punched it pretty wide. It wasn’t like it was a little dribbler. I thought he did a nice job. He had nice form, getting down low in the corner, punched it wide, and it just happened to bounce to Bilal, and that’s one that he’s going to bury more times than he’s not.”
The Red Eddies had a handful of chances to respond, but Lumu was able to secure all their shots for the shutout. He finished with four saves, as did Sampson.
Wol Maiwen of Edward Little heads a ball into the hand of Lewiston goalkeeper Dido Lumu during a boys’ soccer game on Monday in Auburn. (Adam Robinson/Sun Journal)
Bilal Hersi scores Lewiston’s only goal to give the Blue Devils the 1-0 win over Edward Little in boys’ soccer on Monday. (Adam Robinson/Sun Journal)
Lewiston’s Mardoche Kikobo and Edward Little’s Chase Martin battle for possesion during a boys’ soccer game Monday in Auburn. (Adam Robinson/Sun Journal)