After a midweek win against Pensacola FC on Wednesday, AFC Mobile drew the New Orleans Jesters 2-2 in Mobile on Saturday night.
“It’s always frustrating to be ahead at home with the fans fully behind you and then come out with a draw,” AFC Mobile forward Ronaldo Fortune said.
The Azaleas were on the defense early in the first half when goalkeeper Gui Altoé made a brilliant double save in the first minute of the match. The Azaleas responded in the 10th minute when Jose Reis played the ball in from the right wing to Alex Lozano, but Lozano’s header sailed over the crossbar. Two minutes later, Lozano played the ball in from the left-wing to Ronaldo Fortune, but Fortune’s low-rolling shot went wide right of the goal. Much of the rest of the first half was an even contest with few threatening chances for either side.
The Azaleas took the lead late in the first half. Mobile’s Chris Salamatou was taken down from behind by New Orleans’ Mason Morise. This set up a free kick from outside the box that was blasted into the back of the net by Fortune.
The Jesters equalized in the 49th minute on a Maxi Galizzi goal. The Azaleas followed with a flurry of chances around the half-hour mark when Jackson Wheatley quick take from just outside the penalty area skimmed over the top of the crossbar. Minutes later, Fortune’s grounded shot went just wide.
The Azaleas retook the lead in the 71st minute when a diagonal ball was played to Salamatou who drilled a shot that went far post and found the back of the net.
The Jesters responded eight minutes later when Floris van Nijnanten hit a rocket of a shot from outside the box to tie the match at 2-2.
“It took them hitting a wonder strike to tie it up, can’t do a whole lot against that, but we’re just going to push on and play good soccer,” AFC Mobile caretaker manager Brent Grube said, “That’s all we can do.”
The Azaleas had one more chance in the 93rd minute when Lucas Ros connected to Ibrahima Ndaw, who back heeled a pass to Fortune leaving him one-on-one just on the edge of the 6-yard box, Fortune’s powerful, first-time shot was kept out by a superb save from the Jesters’ Lamoy Graham.
The Jesters remain in third place in the Gulf Coast Conference with 10 points, while AFC Mobile finds themselves in sixth place with four points. The Jesters will play Pensacola FC this Wednesday. The Azaleas return to action at home next Saturday against Southern States Soccer Club.