Cardozo holds off Forest Hills for 3-1 victory

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Coming off a win over Catholic state champions Molloy two days before a clash with neighborhood rival Bayside, Cardozo boys’ soccer coach Rich Parascos was understandably concerned going into Monday’s league opener against much improved Forest Hills.

He lectured the Judges before the game about playing with passion and even though Ahmed Hassan scored less than a minute into the Queens A East opener and the Judges led 2-1 at the half, Parascos wasn’t happy.

“I felt we came out very flat, perhaps resting on the win against Molloy,” Parascos said. “If you saw us against Molloy, we won every 50-50 ball and today we were a step late.”

A switch in formation and a renewed intensity in the second half resulted in an insurance goal as Cardozo defeated Forest Hills, 3-1.

Three days after beating Molloy 3-1 in the first game on their newly refurbished field, Cardozo (2-0, 1-0) quickly found itself ahead when Hassan trapped a cross inside the left side of the box and beat Forest Hills freshman keeper Ilir Durakovic on a low shot from 12 yards out.

But Forest Hills, a young and inexperienced team a year ago, roared back to tie the game five minutes later after some brilliant passing through the midfield by Michael Moncada and Jose Batista, who also are teammates on the Brooklyn Knights Under-19 club team.

After Batista’s shot in the box was blocked by a Cardozo defender, Julio Pascoal ran onto the rebound and scored high inside the far post from 10 yards out to tie the game at 1.

Both teams exchanged chances in a back-and-forth first half but thanks to Freddy Hernandez, who won a 50-50 ball, spun and scored from five yards out in the 32nd minute, Cardozo went into the break ahead, 2-1.

“We had our chances in the first half and we didn’t capitalize and they did,” said Forest Hills coach Bob Sprance. “We had some real good chances and we should’ve converted at least two or three of them.”

“We missed a couple of goals, but this is the first game and we’re going to be learning every game,” Moncada said. “We didn’t score this time, but the next time that we play them on our field, hopefully we’ll provide a better challenge.”

At the start of the second half, Parascos inserted starting sweeper Steve Ortiz, who sat for the first half because of disciplinary reasons, into the lineup and the Rangers struggled offensively.

Parascos also credited defenders Abad Crosby, who had a pair of assists, and Diego Chiluisa with shutting down a Rangers attack that looked so potent in the first half.

“Diego and Abad were keys,” he said. “They really turned the tide.”

Frantz Porres, who missed the Molloy game because of injury, added the insurance goal in the 63rd minute when Chiluisa’s low ball down the left wing freed Porres, who slotted the ball past a charging Durakovic and inside the far post.

Now that Forest Hills is behind them, Hassan and the Judges finally can look ahead to their clash with Bayside, hoping to avenge a pair of 3-0 defeats last year.

“That’s the biggest game I think we’ll play all year,” he said. “We’ve been waiting for that game since last year. It’s payback.”

Bayside 4, John Bowne 3. David Salazar broke a 3-3 tie with a goal late in the second half and Stelious Andraou added a pair of assists for Bayside (1-0-2, 1-0 Queens A East).

Flushing 5, Franklin K. Lane 1. In his first game in a Flushing uniform, Mohammad Mashriqi scored, as did Jesus Uzhca, Oscar Santa, David Rojas and Gabriel Aguilar. Diego Garcia added a pair of assists for the Red Devils (1-0 Queens A East).

Jamaica 3, Hillcrest 2. Demetre Vernon and Andre Reeves scored for Hillcrest (0-1 Queens B North).

Cardozo 3, Molloy 1. Hassan scored a pair of goals and Francisco Patino added another for the Judges in a non-league win Friday. Goalkeeper Neal Kitson had six saves and Pablo Gil had one assist for Cardozo.

Reach Associate Sports Editor Dylan Butler by email at or call 229-0300, Ext. 143.

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