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Ramadhani's goal enough for Bismarck to top Dickinson
The best defense is a good offense, even if it does score just one goal.
Babu Ramadhani’s goal early in the first half was the only goal of the game Thursday as the Bismarck Demons beat the Dickinson Midgets 1-0 in West Region boys’ soccer match at the MDU Resources Community Bowl.
Ramadhani scored off a rebound and the Demons’ attack dominated possession. Dickinson managed just one shot on goal, which was stopped by BHS keeper Drew Henriksen. The sophomore defender-turned-goalie has won eight games this season, all by shutout.
“The style of football we want to play is a possession-style football where we have a lot of width,” Bismarck coach Ricardo Pierre-Louis said. “We stay wide to get the opponent to spread out.”
The Demons’ structured offense created a couple early opportunities, both by Rodrigue Mugisha. The senior midfielder banked a shot of the goal post at the five-minute mark and fired a shot straight on that Jace Hughes turned away in the 11th minute.
Ramadhani broke the scoreless tie at 11:30 when he rushed in to knock home a rebound. Hughes made the initial save but the ball squirted away and Ramadhani beat him and a defender to the ball.
“It was a lucky goal that was off a deflection and it just sat there,” Dickinson coach Jeremy Schmitt said. “It was just super lucky.”
Dickinson’s only real scoring chances in the first half came in the 28th minute when Igor Niyimbona put a free kick from 30 yards over the crossbar and in the 39th minute when Peres Oti-Akenteng did the same from 40 yards.
The Midgets put a shot on goal in the 78th minute, but Henriksen had a clear view of the shot and made the save.
“On the attacking side we had some good chances. The keeper made a nice save here at the end,” Schmitt said. “We played an awesome game defensively. We kept our structure. In the end, it was just that unfortunate goal.”
The Demons threatened to extend the lead in the 55th minute when Mugisha sent a header sent over the crossbar out of the reach of Hughes.
The Midgets’ keeper was under a steady barrage through the midpoint of the second half but was solid. Hughes made seven of his 10 saves in the second half.
Henriksen, meanwhile, has benefited from Bismarck’s knack for possessing the ball. It has outscored the opposition 55-5 in 10 games this season, both best in the West Region. Henriksen has had to make just 39 saves.
Pierre-Louis attributes that to his team’s offense as much as the defense.
“We try to have the best defense by having the best offense,” Pierre-Louis said. “We try to send a lot of numbers forward to play possession football. When we keep the ball most of the time, they get exhausted and it’s hard for them to attack.”