Fort Lauderdale CF earned a dramatic 4-4 draw against South Georgia Tormenta FC in a thrilling match on Sunday night at DRV PNK Stadium.
The opening few minutes saw both teams on relatively equal footing, with each side testing the waters tactically. Forward Shaan Hundal established Fort Lauderdale’s first shot in the eighth minute as his squad sought to capitalize on its initial possession. The shot from outside the 18-yard box was ultimately deflected, but it was a hopeful sign for the hosts.
It was Tormenta, however, who drew first blood when an over-the-top through ball was floated to Azaad Liadi, who scored a tidy finish on the bottom right-hand corner of the net to hand Tormenta a 0-1 lead in the 18th minute.
Fort Lauderdale later capitalized on its chances when, following a corner kick, defender Ethan Hardin headed the ball into the six-yard box, which was promptly met by a brilliantly positioned Mitch Curry, who slotted the ball into the back of the net with a thunderous header past the keeper, equalizing the match 1-1 in the 38th minute. The goal was Curry’s eighth of 2021.
The first half concluded and saw both squads battle it out in a thrilling opening 45 minutes that left them with everything to play for in the second half.
Almost immediately after the second half kicked off, Tormenta had a blistering run towards goal which led to a penalty being called against Fort Lauderdale. Marco Micaletto calmly slotted the penalty into the bottom-right corner to hand his side a 1-2 lead in the 47th minute.
Only three minutes later, Abel Caputo sent an inch-perfect lob to Curry, who made a scintillating run to the edge of the box before sending an excellent pass across the goal that was met by midfielder Drew Hardin to make it 2-2 in the 51st minute. The goal was Hardin’s first for Fort Lauderdale and first at the professional level, while the assist was Curry’s fifth of the campaign.
Tormenta went a man down after a second yellow card was handed to Ricardo Gomez after the referee gave advantage to Fort Lauderdale in the build-up to the second goal.
Minutes later, Venton Evans glided past two defenders and set up a perfectly weighted through ball to Hundal, who deftly chipped the keeper to score and make it 3-2 in the 55th minute. The goal was Hundal’s team-leading ninth of 2021.
Despite playing with 10 men, Tormenta continued to attack Fort Lauderdale and was rewarded for its efforts with another run by Liadi, who chipped the keeper to once again level the game at 3-3 in the 61st minute.
Ten minutes later, Liadi earned his third goal of the game following a through ball that put him on goal as he slotted his shot into the back of the net, reestablishing Tormenta’s lead in the 71st minute at 3-4.
Fort Lauderdale did not let the circumstances faze the squad, however, as every player remained determined to earn a goal. Harvey Neville exemplified that mentality as he fought tenaciously to win back possession and garner his team a corner. Neville then took the ensuing corner, delivering a ball into the box that was met with a fantastic header by defender Modesto Mendez, who leveled the match 4-4 in the 89th minute. The goal was Mendez’s second of the season.
With five minutes added to the clock, Fort Lauderdale continued to attack in pursuit of a winner. A flurry of shots and close calls pushed both teams to their limits but neither side was able to capitalize on its final chances as they settled for a 4-4 draw at full time.
Next up Fort Lauderdale will be a return to DRV PNK Stadium as the team takes on North Texas SC on Sunday, Oct. 17 at 7:30 p.m. ET.