NASHUA — It was high drama at Stellos Stadium Thursday as Alvirne of Hudson defeated Manchester Central 3-2 in overtime to advance to the state Division I boys’ soccer final.
Alvirne will play top seed Hanover, a 1-0 winner over Concord, in Sunday’s state final at 6:45 p.m. at Bill Ball Stadium in Exeter.
Hanover 1, Concord 0: The game’s only goal was scored by Jamie Dinulos in the 32nd minute of play. It was his second goal of the year. Alex Bynum recorded the shutout.
Alvirne 3, Central 2, OT: The No. 2 Broncos tied the game with just seconds remaining in regulation, then won it seven minutes into overtime on Kyle Salucco’s goal.
The No. 3 Little Green, seeking a third straight Division I title, were playing without all-state forward Samuel Binogono, who was serving a one-game suspension for receiving his third yellow card of the season in Central’s quarterfinal win against Pinkerton of Derry on Sunday.
Alvirne controlled the play for most of the game, keeping the pressure on Central in its zone. Peter Busnach appeared to score on a header at 36th minute but officials called the play offsides, keeping the game scoreless at the half.
But Busnach got one that counted in the 44th minute when the Central goalkeeper and defender misplayed a ball. Busnach picked up a loose ball in the crease and put it away to put the Broncos up 1-0.
Central tied game off free kick when Jacob Laliberte redirected the ball with a header in the 66th minute.
Five minutes later, Keegan Laberge sent a sharp angle shot on goal that struck Bronco defender Jacob Nazerian and bounced into the net.
The goal put Central up 2-1 with 8:36 remaining.
But Alvirne came back late in injury time. With mere seconds remaining, Raul Stedile took a corner kick from Robert Younghusband and tied the game 2-2.
Seven minutes into overtime Salucco took a pass from Stedile and punched in the game winner in sudden death.
“When we went down I thought it was all over,” said Salucco. “But we’ve been in situations like that before. We knew we could come back, and we did it.”
Broncos coach Jeff Blackwell said his team his team never stopped believing they could win. “I saw a few heads go down but they picked them right up and went right back at it.”
“We’ve had a belief all year that this was something that we can do. And it means a lot that that belief turned into what just happened.”
Blackwell played down any advantage his team had without Binogono on the field for Central, though he acknowledged his potential impact. “He’s gonna have an effect, at least one goal a game no matter what,” said Blackwell.
Central coach Chris Laberge said his team could have won without Binogono. “He’s our leading scorer, but we still had a lot of chances to win the game.”
“It would have been nice to have him but it wasn’t why we lost the game.”
“We made a mistake by not clearing the ball and it cost us” said Laberge about the tying goal by Alvirne. “They’re a good team. When we made a mistake they capitalized.”
The loss ended the career of Binogono, a senior. “It hurts for the seniors,” said Laberge. “But I know we have a great team coming back.”