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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The Pittsburgh Riverhounds fell to the Bethlehem Steel Saturday night in a penalty shootout in the first-ever playoff game at Highmark Stadium.
The match had to be decided in a penalty shootout with the two teams tied 2-2 after playing 90 minutes of regular time and 30 minutes of extra time.
The night got off to a good start for the Riverhounds with the team controlling much of the play at the start. The early dominance paid off with a goal in the 25th minute when Ben Zemanski steered a header into the corner of the net from a great cross by Nico Brett.
Pittsburgh had opportunities to double their lead to end the first half and into early parts of the second half with Romeo Parkes having two attempts on goal.
Failing to get a second goal would come back to haunt the Hounds as the Steel leveled the match in the 70th minute when Michee Ngalina sent home a Santi Moar cross from close range.
The final 20 minutes of the match ended with neither team scoring so the match would go to a 30-minute extra time period.
The extra time format is not sudden death, so the teams would play the full 30 minutes no matter how many times each team would score.
The Hounds thought they had the winning goal in the 105th minute when Hugh Roberts headed a rebound off the crossbar to put Pittsburgh ahead 2-1.
Bethlehem would come back for the second time in the match when James Chambers sent a free kick in to the net from just outside
the penalty area. Pittsburgh was one of the best defensive teams all season and to give up a lead twice in one game was quite uncharacteristic.
The extra time period would end with the teams tied 2-2, which meant the match would be decided with penalty kicks.
Both teams were perfect through seven rounds, but in the eighth, Ray Lee failed to convert after the Steel had made their penalty, which
ended the match and the Hounds’ season.
The disappointing end to the season could not overshadow all the positives that this season has brought head coach Bob Lilley said after the game.
“We have a bright future here, we have to pick ourselves up and handle our business in the offseason,” he said.
The Hounds will return to action in march of 2019.