Canadians in Europe: Ugbo scores dramatic winner for Cardiff City
Iké Ugbo scored a dramatic winner in Championship action. Plus, Jonathan David got back on the scoresheet and Tajon Buchanan assisted on a key goal in the Belgian Pro League. Here's a look at Canadians in Europe over the weekend.
Iké Ugbo, Cardiff City and Liam Millar, Preston North End - A dramatic finish to a Championship encounter on Saturday saw one Canadian international pick up three points at the expense of another when Liam Millar's Preston North End hosted Iké Ugbo and Cardiff City. It was Ugbo's contribution that sent the visitors home happy in a match where the Bluebirds appeared to be dead to rights only minutes earlier. It was a first half that was mostly bereft of chances for both sides, but there was a moment that would prove to be consequential at the half-hour mark. As Cardiff's Jamilu Collins moved forward on the ball near the touchline at midfield, he was pushed to the ground by PNE's Ched Evans. The squared up and Collins shoved Evans to the ground with both teams arriving quickly to the scene thereafter. Both were shown yellows by the referee with Collins perhaps lucky to escape with only that. As Preston's Robbie Brady attempted to speak with the ref, he, too, was booked. The hosts would open the scoring minutes into the second half. Off of a throw-in, Karian Grant's pass back to Mark McGuinness at midfield was a poor one and was pounced upon by Milutin Osmajic. The Montenegro forward burst forward with Runar Alex Runarsson well off of his line. Runarsson made an attempt to cut the angle, but Osmajic's hard shot beat him to make it 1-0 in the 48th. The hosts' joy would be short-lived, however. After a giveaway near the Cardiff area, Brady ran into Yakou Meite to stop his move forward and was a shown a second yellow for the foul, leaving PNE on 10 men. The hosts defended valiantly for the remainder of the half, but they couldn't hold out. The visitors finally found an equalizer in the sixth minute of stoppage. Off of a corner, the ball fell for Karlan Grant whose bouncing shot was deflected past Freddie Woodman at the near post. The visitors weren't satisfied with only an equalizer and pressed forward in the dying minutes to smash and grab all three points. From a corner, Ryan Wintle's deep cross found a completely unmarked Ugbo in front of goal to head home for a dramatic winner in the 99th. The goal was Ugbo's fourth on the season in his first campaign in Wales. The win took the Bluebirds to 27 points, just one behind PNE for the final playoff spot. Ugbo came on in the 70th for Meite and finished his afternoon with only one other touch outside of his goal. Toronto-born Millar was also a late substitute, coming on for the goal scorer Osmajic in the 83rd. He completed four of his five pass attempts.
Jonathan David, Lille - Jonathan David and Lille continued their push towards Champions League football against a star-studded Lyon side that shockingly finds itself in relegation trouble. Midway through the first half, Les Dogues found an opener seemingly from nothing. A goal kick Lucas Chevalier deep into the OL half was knocked down by David for Angel Gomes, who quickly found Yusuf Yazici. The Turkey midfielder spotted the run of David and perfectly threaded a ball through two defenders to spring the Canada forward in alone. David made no mistake, poking under the oncoming Anthony Lopes to make it 1-0 in the 27th. It was David's third goal of the season and 55th Ligue 1 marker. The goal also marked David's first goal in 11 games across all competitions. The visitors would keep it coming and be rewarded for their efforts five minutes later. An attempted OL clearances was jumped upon by Tiago Santos and the Portugal under-21 right-back unleashed a dynamite volley from distance into the top right corner of the net in the 32nd. The goal was his first in a Lille shirt and it would be the last goal scored during Sunday's game. The win took Les Dogues to 23 points and into fourth place, one point behind Monaco for the final Champions League place. The loss kept Lyon dead last in the table on only seven points. OL has not been relegated since 1974.
Tajon Buchanan, Club Brugge - At the halfway mark of the first portion of the season, Tajon Buchanan and Club Brugge picked up a key three points to keep pace for a top-six place in a victory over Leuven. The format of the Belgian Pro League is one of the quirkier in Europe. After 30 games, the top six teams in the table enter into Play-offs 1 that sees each team play the five others twice. Each team sees their points total from the first 30 games halved and the next 10 games will crown a champion. The lone goal of Sunday's match at the relegation-threatened side came in first-half stoppage and featured individual brilliance from both Buchanan and the goal scorer, Spanish forward Jutgla. Picking up the ball at the touchline near midfield, Brampton, Ont.'s Buchanan danced through a pair of Leuven players before cutting inside and whipping a cross over to Jutgla. The Spaniard then gave himself some space clear of two defenders and sent a powerful right-footed shot from distance past a diving Tobe Leysen. The assist was Buchanan's second on the season and fourth in a Club Brugge shirt. The victory took the team into seventh place on 23 points, only one point behind Antwerp and Genk for a playoff place.