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Chill rally late to knock off Winnipeg Lions

Karim Bachir Bey scored in the 82nd minute to break open a 1-1 tie as Thunder Bay went on to down the Winnipeg Lions 3-1 on Saturday night.
Nico Lanari scores the Thunder Bay Chill's first goal of 2024 during Saturday, May 18, 2024 friendly against the visiting Winnipeg Lions at Chapples Field. (Leith Dunick,

THUNDER BAY – Rust never sleeps – at least according to Neil Young.

Sometimes, however, it can be overcome.

The Thunder Bay Chill on Saturday night opened their five-game preseason slate with a home-pitch friendly against the visiting Winnipeg Lions, a familiar foe brought in every year to help the USL 2 team get up to speed before the regular season begins.

This time around, they gave the Chill everything they could handle for the first 75 minutes or so.

In the end, the Chill were able to pull away late and squeaked out a 3-1 win in front of about 200 fans at Chapples Field.

Midfielder Karim Bachir Bey broke open a 1-1 contest in the 82nd minute, pouncing on a misplayed cross by Winnipeg keeper Jean Michel, the ball coming off the foot of Thunder Bay’s Ludwig Scherer, and depositing it into the Lions net.

Left-back MacDonald Niba added an insurance tally during injury time.

Chill coach Tony Colistro said it was nice to see Bachir Bay get rewarded for his hard work throughout the match.

“He’s a leader. He works hard. He did not stop running for 82 minutes. Normally he wouldn’t come off then, but it is a friendly, so I’m watching minutes closely. But he went non-stop for 82 minutes, so it was great,” Colistro said.

“He deserved the goal.”

Bachir Bey, who comes to the Chill in 2024 from the University of Lethbridge, didn’t want to take too much credit for the goal.

“I just run around the field and do my job and it was nice to get a goal today, but it was a team effort. Everyone was hustling,” he said.

It wasn’t the prettiest win on record, but it does set a winning tone to the start of a season that comes with high hopes of improving on last year’s playoff appearance.

It’s a chance to work out the kinks, Bachir Bey said.

“We want to win every game. It’s a new team, a new game, a new environment,” he said. “So this really builds chemistry and I look forward to the start of the season.”

Colistro will take it, but is definitely looking for improvements.

“I think we had a few opportunities (missed),” Colistro said. “We hit the post, we had a couple of other opportunities. What we were looking for was definitely to keep our shape. We let the goal in and we were trying to avoid that, but at the end of the day it’s the first game.

“We have to be a little bit cleaner with our passes. Even balls that we won, we were giving right back. It’ll just take some time.”

The Chill opened the scoring in the 11th minute, Italian import Nico Lanari cutting up the middle and firing the ball into the Winnipeg net.

Thunder Bay had multiple chances to build on their 1-0 lead early in the second half, but couldn’t connect.

Forward Diego Reveco had an open shot but left it high and wide. Veteran Sullivan Silva was alone on the Winnipeg keeper, hesitated and then blasted it off the right post.

It gave the Lions the opening they needed.

Striker Matheus Aquinas buried a cross from teammate Ilyich Gharahmadani in the 67th minute, the ball sailing past Chill keeper Armaan Thawer, tying the score 1-1.

Thunder Bay and Winnipeg tangle again on Sunday afternoon at Chapples Field. Game time is 1 p.m.

Leith Dunick

About the Author: Leith Dunick

A proud Nova Scotian who has called Thunder Bay home since 2002, Leith is Dougall Media's director of news, but still likes to tell your stories too. Wants his Expos back and to see Neil Young at least one more time. Twitter: @LeithDunick
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