After more than an hour of frustration, Jordan Pefok struck the opening goal for Young Boys against visitors Lugano on Wednesday evening, opening the floodgates for their 3-1 victory in Suisse Super League action.
Wednesday’s game had originally been scheduled for late-August, but was postponed by the league to allow Young Boys extra time to prepare for their then-upcoming Champions League qualifying game against Hungarians Ferencváros.
While it took head coach David Wagner’s squad an hour to finally find gold after going down in the first half, a shooting clinic in the final minutes by former French youth international Wilfried Kanga made it a clear result in the end.
Young Boys were on the attack from the get-go, with Felix Mambimbi seeing his shot cleared off the line in the sixth minute following a corner, and Sandro Lauper forcing Lugano keeper Amir Saipi into a save from a distance shot one minute later.
Pefok had an attempt from the edge of the area in the 12th minute fly straight into Saipi’s hands, and two minutes later Fabian Rieder came close with a free kick from just outside the upper right corner of the area.
Despite the promising signs, it was Lugano who unexpectedly took the lead three minutes before the half-hour, with Sandi Lovric striking a beauty of a free kick from 21 yards out, targeting the upper left corner leaving Guillaume Faivre no chance for a save.
The hosts stayed on the charge, nearly equalizing just before the break, off the foot of Rieder with a free kick off the crossbar.
Nevertheless, a Lugano mistake opened the door at the hour mark, when Jonathan Sabbatini overtly tackled Young Boys substitute Vincent Sierro while defending a corner, leading referee Lukas Fähndrich to award a penalty after consulting VAR.
The American was chosen to take the attempt, and emphatically hit a blast to the left side of the goal for his seventh league goal of the season in 13 games played, and 12th overall in all competitions including European play.
The hosts remained on the attack looking for the win, and were duly rewarded for their efforts with a pair of late goals from Kanta to seal the victory.
The French-born attacker put his team ahead in the 81st minute when he streaked past a pair of defenders on the left side and angled his low shot past Saipi’s reach. He then added another for good measure three minutes before the end of regulation, running onto a hopeful long ball from Miralem Sulejmani out of the defensive end, and lofting a long lob from outside the area over the head of the stunned Saipi for the nail in the coffin.
The victory brings Young Boys to within one point of third-place Lugano, however still with a game in hand. They face a tough run in the coming weeks, with five games on the schedule, including a trip to Manchester United next week, before they head off on holiday on December 19.