Bellflower delivers late knockout to Godinez


BELLFLOWER - The Godinez boys soccer team overcame a lot during the postseason.

The Grizzlies lost three players to injuries since the start of the playoffs, including top scorers Ricardo Ayala (broken foot) and Eric Torres (hamstring).

Miguel Garcia’s goal in the 80th minute proved to be the final blow for Godinez, as Bellflower defeated the Grizzlies, 1-0, on Tuesday in a CIF-SS Division 4 semifinal at Bellflower High.

With extra time looming, the Buccaneers (21-6-1) corralled the ball on the right side. Garcia pushed the ball up the sideline and then cut in toward the box. He hurdled a Godinez defender before his left-footed strike beat Alex Penaloza to the far corner.

“It felt amazing. A goal like that is a once-in-a-lifetime chance,” said Garcia, whose goal sent Bellflower to its first final in school history.

The Grizzlies (19-2-1) were forced to scramble. Godinez quickly earned a deep throw-in from the right side. The ball was tossed in toward the box, where Ricardo Diaz possessed it before being brought down by a Bellflower defender.

The Godinez sideline roared with disapproval as the team was denied a penalty kick for the potential tie.

“It was a penalty. Everyone saw it,” Grizzlies coach Ruben Fernandez said. “In the last minute of the game, (the referee) didn’t have the guts to call it.”

“I know being a ref is a tough job, and we have got to respect it.”

Godinez had the better of the play in the first half, with Jose Macias and David Vazquez leading the attack. Macias struck the crossbar on a header in the 22nd minute, but the Grizzlies never got the goal to take full-advantage of their possession game.

In the previous round, Godinez won a marathon penalty kick shootout, 10-9, against Norwalk. The Grizzlies also won their third straight Orange Coast League title this year.

“I’m very proud of my guys,” Fernandez said. “It’s a great season with 19 wins. It’s tough because we’re so close, but we just came up a little short.”

“I have to give credit to (Bellflower). The guy scored a great goal.”

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