Borjan Not Looking So Good in Champions League Play
Updated: Aug 24, 2022
Canada Men's National Team goalkeeper, Milan Borjan, was not at his best form as his club team, Red Star Belgrade (Crvena Zvezda) was knocked out of further Champions League play after Israel's Maccabi Haifa beat them 5-4 on aggregate. Of the five goals conceded, three of them were actually quite embarrassing for Borjan. Here's my Three Points.
Point 1 - Playing in Haifa for the opening match of the two-game series, Borjan misses a slow rolling cross coming from his left that goes into the goal area, off his arm, winds up in front of goal and right onto the foot of Haifa striker Frantzdy Pierrot who blasts it by Borjan for the first goal of the game. The world feed TV commentator Jonathan Pearce calls it a "horrible error by Red Star's goalkeeper Milan Borjan".
Point 2 - Still from the game in Haifa, a good ball is whipped into Borjan's goal area, Pierrot heads it on goal, Borjan tries to tip it over the bar but it actually hits it and bounces into the net. With stronger hands and better effort, the ball would have made it over the bar and out of harm's way. While it was a good goal from Haifa, the commentators felt Borjan could have played it better.
Point 3 - This is the worst one. In the return leg played in Belgrade, a penalty is given to Haifa after a hand ball in the box is called. Borjan brilliantly saves the penalty from Haifa's Dolev Haziza and the rebound is played out by the Red Star defenders. Seconds later there is a turnover, Haifa regains control and a long range 40+ yard shot from Daniel Sundgren gets under a diving Borjan and goes into the net, seemingly catching Borjan napping mere seconds after he was pounding his chest after the big stop. This time TV commentator Pearce calls Borjan "a hero to zero, with a horrible piece of goalkeeping". With that goal, Haifa ties up the series in aggregate 4-4 with the bizarre series of events.
Bonus Point - Even the series winning goal for Haifa, off an own goal by Milan Pavkov, was indirectly a result of a pretty boneheaded play by Borjan just minutes from extra time. After cleanly fielding a corner kick, Borjan distributed the ball to one of his players, Mirko Ivanic, almost immediately, who was not fully ready to receive it and had an opposing player in range and bearing down on him. He subsequently turns it over to Haifa's Pierre Cornud, who gets fouled and Haifa is awarded a free kick just outside the box, which ultimately leads to the own goal. Borjan is criticized by commentator Laura Bassett both before, and again after the goal, for collecting the cross and throwing it out early, leading to the free kick.
We've seen boneheaded plays by Borjan before but during the final round of World Cup qualifying, he was brilliant, however, the bad plays seemed to have reared their ugly head again. Heading into the World Cup with just two months to go, this is not the form that Canada needs to see from Borjan. You just hope he picks his game back up in time for Qatar.