AFC Mobile’s playoff dreams have officially come to an end after falling 2-1 to Pensacola FC at the Archbishop Lipscomb Athletic Complex on Wednesday night.
The Azaleas opened the scoring in the 36th minute when Diego Candía played a long ball to Jose Reis, booming down the right wing. Reis attempted to send the ball into Chris Salamatou, but Reis’ ball was deflected by a Pensacola defender. Iba Ndaw struck the deflected ball at the top of the penalty area and rocketed the ball into the back of the net, giving the Azaleas a 1-0 lead. The goal was Ndaw’s 21st for the Azaleas, tying him with Chisom Ogbonna on the club’s all-time goalscoring list.
“Being from here, I’m very proud to have played for this club,” Ndaw said, “I’m happy to be a small part of the history. I’m really glad to have tied the record and gone down with a club legend like Chisom Ogbonna. It’s always been a great time playing here in front of our amazing fans.”
Pensacola FC did not trail for long. In the 41st minute, Mobile’s Salia Carr was shown a yellow card after bringing down a Pensacola player inside the penalty area on a Mobile counterattack. Mikey Lightbourne stepped up and slotted home the penalty for the visitors, leveling the score at 1-1.
After feeling some soreness during halftime, Mobile’s goalkeeper Gui Altoé came off for Will Blake to start the second half. The match saw few chances for either side in the second half. Pensacola took the lead in the 70th minute after a quick counterattack from Pensacola resulted in a goal from Anthony Ciccarello.
The 2-1 loss cements the playoff positions in the NPSL’s Gulf Coast Conference with Jacksonville Armada FC U23 and Southern States Soccer Club hosting first-round matches after finishing first and second. The New Orleans Jesters finished in third place and will travel to Hattiesburg to take on Southern States while Pensacola will travel to Jacksonville to take on the top-seeded Armada. AFC Mobile will close the season at home this Saturday night against Tallahassee Soccer Club.