Atlético Ottawa extended their undefeated streak to eight matches with a 2-1 victory over HFX Wanderers in Halifax on Saturday.
The win also momentarily extends their lead at the top of the Canadian Premier League table to five points. Should they win their final match of the season against York next weekend, they will be crowned regular season champions.
Max Tissot opened the scoring for Ottawa from a brilliant first-half free kick, and Zakaria Bahous scored the match-winner in the second half. Halifax made it close in the dying moments, as Samuel Salter scored late to cut Ottawa’s lead in half but they could not convert a flurry of late chances.
Atleti has collected 28 points on the road this season, a new league record. They have also tied the record for most wins away from home with eight. Both records were previously set by Cavalry FC, in both the 2019 and 2021 seasons.
Ottawa won an early free-kick after Mo Omar brought down Miguel Acosta at the top right of the HFX Wanderers box. Tissot’s effort, however, was well over the Halifax net. Ben McKendry had another shot from distance moments later, but Christian Oxner easily dealt with it.
Tissot was next to have a crack at Oxner in the 24th minute when he found himself in space down the left flank. His shot, however, was saved well by the Halifax keeper, who made three saves during the opening half hour of the match.
Halifax nearly found the opener in the 27th minute, but Peter Schaale’s header from close range off of a corner kick was directly at Nate Ingham in the Ottawa net.
Ottawa would win their third offensive free kick of the match in a similar position at the top right corner of the box in the 40th minute. This time Tissot stepped up and sent a brilliant free-kick into the top right corner of the net to give Ottawa a 1-0 lead. It was the fullback’s second goal of the season, his other goal also coming against Halifax.
Halifax had a free kick of their own just before the half-time whistle. A brilliant delivery from Jérémy Gagnon-Laparé, however, was narrowly missed by Ludwig Amla. As a result, the hosts went into the half with a 1-0 deficit.
Ottawa would double their advantage early in the second half. A brilliant cross from Miguel Acosta dropped into the path of the Bahous. The young midfielder calmly slotted the ball past Oxner for his first Canadian Premier League goal to make it 2-0 for the visitors.
The visitors continued to look to play on the front foot as they had yet another golden opportunity to extend their lead in the 66th minute. Substitute Carl Haworth’s shot across target was well saved by Oxner on this occasion.
Salter had a pair of opportunities to cut that deficit in the 72nd minute. First, he sent a free header just over the net, before firing a thunderous volley wide of the top left corner minute later.
Club and striker finally found their breakthrough in the 79th minute, as Salter got on the end of a corner kick and his header across goal nestled into the bottom corner. It was Salter’s 11th goal of the campaign, moving him up into a tie with Osaze De Rosario for second in the Golden Boot race.
With Ottawa sitting deep, Halifax was able to create a flurry of late chances. Nate Ingham made a brilliant save in stoppage time off of yet another opportunity for Salter, deflecting the striker’s driven shot off the post and wide.
It was Halifax’s sixth home defeat of the season, tying them with York United and FC Edmonton for the most in the league this season. Coming into 2022, they had only ever lost four times at the Wanderers Ground in CPL action.
40′ — Maxim Tissot (Atlético Ottawa)
57′ — Zakaria Bahous (Atlético Ottawa)
79′ — Samuel Salter (HFX Wanderers)
25’— Yellow: Mohammed Omar (HFX Wanderers)
29′ — Yellow: Maxim Tissot (Atlético Ottawa)
61′ — Yellow: Jérémy Gagnon-Laparé (HFX Wanderers)
71′ — Yellow: Miguel Acosta (Atlético Ottawa)
75′ — Yellow: Brian Wright (Atlético Ottawa)
78′ — Yellow: Ollie Bassett (Atlético Ottawa)
87′ — Yellow: Ben McKendry (Atlético Ottawa)