Intramural soccer: Persia uses late free-kick to put away Fake Madrid


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The playoffs mean it's do or die for intramural soccer teams.

This was the case for Persia and Fake Madrid as they faced off in the playoffs on Monday night in the Bubble. Persia managed to edge past Fake Madrid in the match's final minutes thanks to a free-kick goal by Maziar Aghuami that made the game 3-2.

Both teams struggled to create offense early in the game as stifling defense and goalie play prevented anyone from gaining an advantage. Persia was better on defense early on and created numerous turnovers.

"It was a good game," Persia captain Majid Emadi said. "We tried to pass a lot and bring the ball close to the goal to score."

Aghuami streaked downfield and sent the ball flying past Fake Madrid goalkeeper Ciesco Febrian to give his team a 1-0 advantage late in the first half. Persia tried to ramp up the score but couldn't shoot it past the hot hands of Febrian again.

Knowing his team needed to respond, Fake Madrid's Eric "Rowdy" Roudabush took his team's offense under his wing. He received the ball after a steal by a teammate and blasted it into the corner of the goal to tie the game with under a minute remaining in the first half.

"I took the opportunities when they were given to me," Roudabush said, and he was quick to cite his teammates as key contributors in his offensive success. "We have a pretty good team out here."

But Aghuami gave his team the advantage again early in the second half as he found the right side of the goal open before him after a Febrian deflection.

Fake Madrid attempted to respond but continued to falter close to the goal. All of the early shots soared over or past the goal, which caused Persia to slow down the tempo of the game and try to run down the clock.

Roudabush once again took the reins and attempted a powerful shot from midfield, which came close to tying the game. He tried again on his team's ensuing offensive possession, this time finding the goal from midfield.

The physical play employed by both teams from the gate began to take a toll in the second half as play was stopped numerous times for free kicks. Emadi was tripped and fell to the ground with a scream of pain late in the second half; he left the field limping but managed to return to finish his team's victory.

Both teams ramped up the intensity on both sides of the field with the game tied and time dwindling. Emadi passed the ball to Aghuami, who managed to draw the free kick that soared past the three Fake Madrid defenders and into the goal to give his team the final lead.

But Fake Madrid didn't quit. Captain Zach Rasmussen had a free-kick opportunity of his own, with three defenders in front of him; he replicated Persia's offensive plan and found Roudabush to his left off the kick. Roudabush sent a powerful shot toward the goal with only the keeper between him and the net.

The kick flew far left. The team couldn't get close enough to the goal afterwards to finish.

"I felt I hit it well," Roudabush said. "It went a little wide and missed the goal a little bit."

Despite his team's loss, Rasmussen was happy with his team's effort.

"I felt we could have won a couple more [games]," he said. "It's tough. There's a lot of really good players out there."

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