SEVILLE, Spain - Three second-half goals propelled the West Virginia University men’s soccer team to a 3-1 victory over the top-ranked Málaga CF academy team on Tuesday at the Estadio de La Cartuja.
“It was a great way to finish our tour here in Sevilla,” coach Marlon LeBlanc said. “Málaga is an excellent team, as has been proved by its season this year, as the best young team in Spain. After the first 15 minutes or so, we started to find ourselves and got into the game a strong way. I am very proud of our boys.”
The Mountaineers scored two of their goals in the span of one minute. Joey Piatczyc
put WVU on the board first in the 50th minute with a free kick score from three feet away, as he pushed the ball in the top of the net past the wall. The goal was the second for Piatczyc this weekend, with the assist credited to Spain native Albert Andres-Llop
A minute later, Ryan Kellogg
registered his first goal of the tour with a booming strike from 25 yards out to give West Virginia a 2-nil lead.
“I was able to get the ball out on the left side, turned and picked my head up,” Kellogg noted. “I saw that I had a little bit of space. I decided to let one go from 25 yards out and had a fortunate deflection, but sometimes you need a little luck in this game. I was happy to see it go in.”
The scoring frenzy continued as Málaga responded in the 58th minute when Sato found Styvens open in the left box to score, trimming the lead to 2-1.
In the 77th minute, WVU added a third goal when Ethan Shim
fired a cross to Jad Arslan
inside the box and Arslan headed in the ball for the score.
“This week has been unreal,” Arslan said. "It’s crazy to learn the soccer culture here in Spain. It’s something we can bring back to the states. Hopefully, we can bring back this experience and put it all into work next season.”
Goalkeepers Stephen Banick
and Jose Santos
split time each half. Banick recorded two saves in the opening half and Santos faced three shots in the second half.
Each team recorded seven shots and three corner kicks. WVU committed five fouls, while the Boquerones (Anchovies) were whistled 10 times.
The Mountaineers finished the tour with a 2-1 record, dropping a 1-0 decision to Sevilla FC, and winning 2-1 over Real Betis Balompié and 3-1 over Málaga CF.
“We really grew into this week,” LeBlanc said. “Obviously, we were disappointed we didn’t win the first game, but it was less than 24 hours after an overseas flight and we performed well. We grew into the rest of the week and got a little bit better each time. That’s kind of been our M.O., we get better as things go along. I thought we got better today as the game went along.”
Following Tuesday’s match, the team enjoyed flamenco dancing which is a Spanish dance art form established in Southern Spain. West Virginia returns to Morgantown on Wednesday and opens the 2017 fall slate with the Gold-Blue Intrasquad exhibition on Tuesday, Aug. 15.