Forge FC falls on penalties to Haitian club Arcahaie FC in CONCACAF League quarters

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Forge FC falls on penalties to Haitian club Arcahaie FC in CONCACAF League quarters


Haiti’s Arcahaie FC defeated Forge FC in a penalty shootout in CONCACAF League quarterfinal play Tuesday to earn a spot in the 2021 CONCACAF Champions League, alongside the confederation’s elite club teams.

Guerry Romondt saved Forge’s first two penalties — from Daniel Krutzen and Alexander Achinioti-Jonsson. Arcahaie substitute Ose Charles converted the decisive kick in the 4-2 shootout win.

The game was knotted at 1-1 after regulation time with Arcahaie rallying to tie the game on a blunder by Forge goalkeeper Triston Henry.

The 22-team CONCACAF League is a feeder competition for the top-tier Champions League. The four quarterfinal winners qualify directly for the Champions League while the losing quarterfinalists compete in single-leg play-in games, with the two winners also qualifying.

So Forge, the Canadian Premier League champion, still has a chance to make the Champions League.

Arcahaie advances to play either Costa Rica’s Deportivo Saprissa or Honduras’ Club Deportivo Marathon, who played in a later game Tuesday, in a January semifinal.

Forge will play the Saprissa-Marathon loser next week in the play-in match.

Forge looked in complete control up 1-0 early in the second half but conceded the tying goal in the 59th minute on a mistake by Henry. The CPL goalkeeper of the year delayed playing a back pass from Kwame Awuah and his scuffed clearance attempt deflected in off onrushing Arcahaie forward Kervens Jolicoeur.

The game was then delayed by a hole in the Arcahaie goal netting, requiring several zip-ties to close the gap.

Regulation time ended with Forge driving at the Arcahaie goal but unable to get the go-ahead goal. It was the same for the seven minutes of stoppage time with Arcahaie players going down like bowling-pins, delaying play.

Krutzen opened the scoring in first-half stoppage time from the penalty spot after David Choiniere was taken down in the box by Hantz Anacius. Romondt dove the right way but Krutzen’s shot found the corner.

Krutzen also converted a penalty — in second-half stoppage-time — to give Forge a 2-1 win over Panama’s Tauro in the round of 16.

The 24-year-old Belgian defender rattled a free kick off the Arcahaie crossbar in the 49th minute as Forge tormented the Haitians with set pieces.

Game played despite virus scare

Tuesday’s game went ahead despite one Forge staff member and two Arcahaie players testing positive for COVID-19 ahead of kickoff.

CONCACAF said all three had been isolated. All other players and staff tested negative.

Forge coach Bobby Smyrniotis made two changes to his starting 11 with Johnny Grant returning from suspension to take over from Kadell Thomas and fellow midfielder Paolo Sabak replacing Elimane Cisse.

Forge pressed from the opening kickoff while the Haitians looked to counter-attack. Choiniere almost scored for Forge in the opening minute but couldn’t get a boot to a low ball sent across the front of goal by Grant.

Forge dominated possession but could not translate it into scoring chance. And the Haitian side began to grow more comfortable on the ball as the deadlock continued.

Romondt was called into action twice late in the first half, punching away Forge free kicks. Mo Babouli thought he had scored on the stroke off halftime, heading in another free kick, but was flagged offside.

Location moved to Dominican Republic

While Arcahaie was the home side, the game was played in the Dominican capital of Santo Domingo at the more suitable Estadio Olimpico Felix Sanchez.

The Haitians advanced Nov. 5 with a 3-1 round-of-16 win over Waterhouse FC in Kingston, Jamaica. Forge dispatched Tauro two days earlier in Panama City.

The Canadian side then returned home, serving the mandated 14-day quarantine. Forge arrived in the Dominican on Nov 21, training in Punta Cana before making the 170-kilometre trip to the capital on Monday.

Arcahaie moved into the round of 16 when Belize’s Verdes FC pulled out of their Oct. 20 preliminary-round match due to positive COVID-19 tests. That match was also scheduled for Santo Domingo.

Forge defeated El Salvador’s CD Municipal Limeno 2-1 in San Salvador on Oct. 22 in preliminary-round play.

Forge, thanks to its triumph in the Island Games in Charlottetown during the summer, will also have another chance to qualify for the main CONCACAF club competition when it takes on Toronto FC in final of the Canadian Championship scheduled for the first quarter of 2021.

Forge exited the CONCACAF League in the round of 16 last year, beaten 4-2 on aggregate by Honduras’s Olimpia.





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