Sept. 22, 2006
Berkeley, Calif. - Tenth-ranked UCLA dropped its Pac-10 Conference opener on the road this afternoon, falling to 23rd-ranked California, 3-1. Sophomore midfielder Sal Zizzo tied the score in the 58th minute, but the Golden Bears netted two goals in the last six minutes to win the game.
Even worse than the losing decision was the loss of two key players to possible season-ending injuries. Last week's consensus National Player of the Week Maxwell Griffin went down with a possible ACL injury in the third minute, and in the 20th minute, midfielder Tony Beltran left the game after an ankle injury flared up.
Cal went up 1-0 in the 19th minute when Eric Ebert took a cross and slotted it far post past UCLA goalkeeper Eric Reed. The Golden Bears took their 1-0 lead into halftime, but the Bruins came back in the second half and equalized when Zizzo struck in the 58th minute, taking a long pass from Kyle Nakazawa and beating Cal goalkeeper Justin Myers 1-v-1 for his second goal of the season.
The two teams went back and forth until the 85th minute, when the Golden Bears' Andrew Jacobson headed in a Nick Hatzke corner kick for the go-ahead goal. Javier Ayala-Hil added an insurance goal with 12 seconds left in the game on a breakaway.
"We played 88 minutes of today's game under difficult circumstances, with a possible season-ending injury to our top goal-scorer Maxwell Griffin, coupled with a possible serious injury to one of our top midfielders, Tony Beltran," said UCLA head coach Jorge Salcedo. "Obviously, that made it very difficult. We fought back from a one-goal deficit, but in the end we just weren't good enough on the day."
The loss halted the Bruins' four-game winning streak and dropped UCLA to 4-3-1 on the year, 0-1-0 in the Pac-10 Conference. Seven of UCLA's eight decisions have come against Top 25 teams. Cal improves to 6-2-1 on the year, 1-0-0 in the Pac-10.