NEW YORK – Sophomore Antonio Matarazzo netted his first goal of the season in the 62nd minute to snap a 1-1 tie, giving the Columbia men’s soccer team a 2-1 victory over visiting Iona. The win improves Columbia to 1-2 on the year and drops Iona to 2-2-1.
Senior David Najem got the Lions on the board early in the first half, putting the ball in the back of the Gaels’ goal on a rebound attempt. First-year Nicholas Pappacena fed a nice pass from the right side of goal to classmate Andrew Tinari who sent a blast off Iona's Julian Petrello that rolled right to Najem standing six yards from the center of the net. The tally was Najem’s second of the season.
Iona came right back with the equalizer in the 17th minute. Franklin Castellanos was taken down in the penalty area as he was weaving through the Columbia defense and was awarded a penalty kick. He placed the free opportunity in the top left corner to even the score at 1-1.
The Lions had solid scoring chance stymied in the 29th minute, as Petrello made a sliding stop on Pappacena who was winding up for a shot eight yards from the net. The rest first half played out without either team recording a significant scoring chance, but play continued to escalate physically. A total of 15 fouls were whistled (nine charged to Columbia) and each team had one player receive a yellow card caution.
The early portion of the second half was controlled by Columbia. The Lions maintained possession in their offensive zone, racking up three corner kick attempts and four shots before Matarazzo broke through with the game-winner.
After receiving a pass from Henning Sauerbier at the top of the penalty area, Matarazzo fired his first shot off an Iona defender, but recouped the ball and launched his second shot into the top left corner.
Columbia remained in control of the contest for the final 28 minutes, limiting Iona to just four shot attempts in the second half, while firing eight itself. Kyle Jackson picked up the win in goal for Columbia, making four saves on the day.
The Lions return to action on Wednesday, Sep. 18 when they host local foe Manahttan at the Columbia Soccer Stadium in a 7 p.m. matchup.