In the final minutes of regulation, Gainesville’s Jose Aguilera saved the match with a bullet to the back of the net against Winder-Barrow.
His match-saving goal would not go in vain.
After a stalemate in overtime, the shorthanded Red Elephants pulled it off in penalty kicks, 2-1, at City Park Stadium.
Already this season, the Red Elephants played into overtime, losing to Dacula in the region opener.
This time it would be different, as Eduardo Bautista denied the Bulldoggs’ final attempt, securing the win for Gainesville.
Gainesville (8-1, 3-1 Region 8-6A) was playing with only 17 of 22 players on the roster, many sidelined with injury, according to its coach Elie Viviant.
The Red Elephants trailed for most of the match. Gainesville’s ample shots on goal were unsuccessful during regulation. In the second half, the Red Elephants had more than 10 attempts at the back of the net.
“We just couldn’t finish, we had so many chances,” Viviant said. “Our game plan (in overtime) was to continue playing the same exact way, we didn’t want to go into penalties.”
Early, Winder-Barrow took the 1-0 lead when Brandon Diaz took the pass, weaving it past Bautista for the goal.
Still, the Red Elephants were in control most of the match.
Gainesville’s relentless attack forced a free kick, which hit the crossbar toward the end of the first half. Later, Aram Lara aimed for the upper 90 on an attempt but missed.
Up next, Gainesville visits Lanier at 7:30 p.m. Friday in Sugar Hill.
GAINESVILLE GIRLS 6, WINDER-BARROW 2: Cindy Bonilla and Amayia Lukie both scored a hat trick for the Lady Red Elephants (3-4, 1-2 Region 8-6A).
Gainesville visits Lanier at 5:30 p.m. on Friday.