LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. – The lone goal of the match was the deciding factor as the No. 16-ranked Georgia Gwinnett College men’s soccer team shut out McPherson College (Kansas) 1-0 to open the Labor Day Grizzly Classic at the Grizzly Soccer Complex.
Junior Karim Tmimi converted a penalty kick in the 23rd minute to produce the deciding tally in the 90-minute match. A handball violation was assessed upon a McPherson defender after a crossing pass from junior Alex Rivera. Junior defender Gianmaria Fiore delivered a long pass to Rivera, who one-touched the crossing pass toward the goal.
The Grizzlies (2-1-1) had a commanding 13-7 shot advantage, including a 6-2 edge in shots on goal. Only one shot by the previously undefeated Bulldogs (2-1) was on goal in the second half as the classic hosts limited opposing possessions and offensive opportunities.
“We had a lot of opportunities, but just missed some of the shots early. We created great chances and the (McPherson) goalkeeper made some big saves, keeping us from scoring,” head coach Steve DeCou said. “I thought our game management was very strong.”
Freshman goalkeeper Sebastian Farias made two saves in recording the shutout in his first collegiate start.
Tmimi led the Grizzlies with four shot attempts, while juniors Krishna Clarke and Mike Machila each added two shots.
“I thought we were much better in closing things out tonight than in the last couple of games,” DeCou said. “They (McPherson) started to get on us a little bit late in the first half. We took care of that at halftime. We were up 1-0 after a good penalty kick and had other opportunities. Our game management is something that we worked on this week (in practice) because we had two quality opponents this weekend.”
The Grizzlies managed a couple of threatening combinations to generate shots in the opening 20 minutes. A shot by junior Karim Tmimi was stopped by McPherson goalkeeper Colby Swift in the 19th minute. Later, junior defender Gianmaria Fiore delivered a long pass to junior Alex Rivera to generate another scoring opportunity. Rivera’s immediate crossing pass resulted in a handball violation in the box in front of the McPherson goal, drawing a penalty kick. Tmimi drilled the shot into the back of the net for the only goal of the contest.
23’ – Karim Tmimi, GGC (Penalty kick)
The Grizzlies outshot McPherson by a 13-7 margin, including a 6-2 edge in shots on corner kicks. GGC recorded five corner kicks in the 90-minute match.
Freshman Sebastian Farias made two saves in registering a shutout in his first collegiate start. Three of the four shots by junior Karim Tmimi were on goal.
Georgia Gwinnett College is scheduled to play No. 9-ranked Mid-America Christian University (Oklahoma) to conclude the Labor Day Grizzly Classic on Monday, September 6, at 11:30 a.m. from the Grizzly Soccer Complex.