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Destiny still in York United’s hands despite derby setback as Abzi finds the net again
Canadian Premier League

Forge FC reclaimed first place in the Canadian Premier League on Saturday afternoon, as they scored a pair of second-half goals at York Lions Stadium to defeat 905 Derby rivals York United 2-1.

Heading into this significant contest, Forge made a number of changes to their squad after Tuesday night’s Concacaf League victory. Dominic Samuel drew back in at centre-back, with Joshua Navarro and Woobens Pacius entering as attackers. York, meanwhile, went with a similar side to the one that beat Pacific FC last weekend; Jordan Wilson and Diyaeddine Abzi returned from suspension, but the lineup was otherwise consistent.

After a few close chances in transition through the first half-hour, York found their opening goal at the 29-minute mark. The play was started and finished by Diyaeddine Abzi, who jumped on a clever backheel pass by Alvaro Rivero and then bulldozed his way into the box, shrugging off Forge defenders before finishing with a low shot off the right goalpost and in.

Forge tinkered with their shape at halftime, moving usual fullback Kwame Awuah into midfield and sending Daniel Krutzen to the backline, and the move paid off quickly. Awuah, drifting into the middle of the box, managed to flick the ball with his head perfectly into the path of Pacius, who turned around a York defender and fired a high shot that beat goalkeeper Nathan Ingham to tie the game.

Ingham, in some discomfort after colliding with a Forge attacker in the box just after halftime, left the game shortly after the goal, as York were forced to use an early substitution to bring Niko Giantsopoulos into the match.

Both managers made more extensive changes around the hour mark, as Jimmy Brennan added dynamic striker Lowell Wright to the mix, while Forge coach Bobby Smyrniotis deployed David Choiniere and Emery Welshman. York nearly scored immediately after the swap, but Julian Ulbricht couldn’t quite get a foot on a dangerous ball across goal.

However, it was Forge who ultimately found the net next. With 10 minutes to play, Elimane Cisse found some space along the right touchline, and he got behind the York defence with a burst of pace to cut toward the box. He found a wide-open Choiniere at the top of the six-yard box, and Choiniere finished with his first touch to give Forge a late lead.

Both sides had some glorious chances in the dying moments, and tempers began to boil over at times with a confrontation drawing hostilities by a corner flag in York’s end, but ultimately the 2-1 result held and Forge moved into first place.

BOX SCORE

Goals

29′ — Diyaeddine Abzi (York United)
51′ — Woobens Pacius (Forge FC)
81′ — David Choiniere (Forge FC)

Discipline

17′ — Yellow: Cedric Toussaint (York United)
24′ — Yellow: Kyle Bekker (Forge FC)
30′ — Yellow: Triston Henry (Forge FC)
40′ — Yellow: Elimane Cisse (Forge FC)
69′ — Yellow: Paolo Sabak (Forge FC)
90+5′ — Yellow: Emery Welshman (Forge FC)
90+5′ — Yellow: Tristan Borges (Forge FC

90+5′ — Yellow: Isaiah Johnston (York United)