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Muntari’s late goal lifts Vaqueros over Oxnard 2-1

Victor Chavez scored his seventh goal in the 12th minute to tie the game 1-1. (Photo by Ken Sciallo / Sevilla Photography)
Victor Chavez scored his seventh goal in the 12th minute to tie the game 1-1. (Photo by Ken Sciallo / Sevilla Photography)

Ameyawu Muntari stole the ball from the goalie and scored into an open net in the 74th minute on Friday night as SBCC rallied for a 2-1 men's soccer win over Oxnard at La Playa Stadium.

The Vaqueros, ranked 16th in California, won their fifth straight and remained unbeaten at 8-0-3 overall and 2-0 in the Western State Conference. Oxnard, the five-time defending WSC champion, fell to 8-4-1 and 1-1.

After his goal, Muntari ripped off his jersey, ran behind the Oxnard goal and did a cartwheel on the right end-line. The referee gave the freshman from Ghana his second yellow card for an automatic ejection.

The Vaqueros played the last 15 minutes a man down.

"Ameyawu won the ball and put it in the back of the net," said coach John Sisterson. "Then unfortunately he lost his head a little bit and took his shirt off in celebration, which isn't allowed."

Oxnard took a 1-0 lead just 92 seconds in. Francisco Arroyo crossed the ball from the left and Alejandro Estrada booted it in from close range.

The Vaqueros struck back at 11:26. Sonny Boyoko delivered a long, high pass from midfield and Victor Chavez ran under it about 25 yards out. After a few touches, Chavez drilled it into the top shelf for his team-leading seventh goal and a 1-1 tie.

"I thought we competed very well in the first half and we were up against it when we conceded one," said Sisterson. "We fought back well and scored one of our own. Then it was unfortunate that we had a goal disallowed late in the half."

Matthew Wilkinson made a long cross from right to left in the 45th minute and Chavez scored for an apparent 2-1 lead. Play resumed and then a minute later, the referee conferred with the linesman and called offsides on the Vaqueros.

The teams were tied 1-1 at halftime.

"That wasn't offsides," said Chavez. "There were two Oxnard players in front of me and one behind me. If the Oxnard coach hadn't said anything, they would have counted the goal.

"That was a smart play by Muntari. He was sneaking in and once he saw the touch, he went straight for it and surprised the goalie."

The Vaqueros altered their formation after Muntari was ejected.

"We changed the shape a little when we were a man down," said Sisterson. "We had one up top as an outlet and even then we had a couple of chances, as did Oxnard."

Muntari had a near-miss on a left-footed shot over the left corner from 18 yards in the 60th minute. Conor Daly ripped a shot in the 86th minute for Oxnard but goalie Shane Pitcock punched it out with two fists.

There was some scuffles between several players at midfield after the game and Wilkinson, a sophomore forward from England, received a red card.

SBCC will be down three players on Tuesday when they travel to L.A. Mission for a 2 p.m. WSC contest. Muntari and Wilkerson will serve one-game suspensions for their red cards. Defender Zachary Sneddon will miss the game after picking up his fifth yellow on Friday night.