For the second straight match, Zachary Verhoven’s late goal handed Atlético Ottawa three points, as his 86th minute strike was the difference in a thrilling 2-1 home win against Pacific.
Josh Heard’s controversial goal cancelled out Malcolm Shaws opener, but after being left frustrated the last time Pacific came to visit, Ottawa was not to be denied today. The win narrows their gap at the top of the table to a single point, and is the first time in Atléti history that they have won three straight matches.
Atleti quickly demonstrated their attacking threat just a few minutes into the match, as Ollie Bassett found himself in space down the right. However, his threatening cross across the face of goal was defended well by Pacific.
The hosts continued to build on that momentum, creating another good chance in the 10th minute from a corner. Bassett’s excellent delivery found the head of Diego Espejo, but the centreback could not keep his free header on target.
Ottawa beat Callum Irving in the 20th minute, but could not beat Thomas Meilleur-Giguère, as the Pacific defender cleared Zakaria Bahous’ shot off the line after some excellent Atléti buildup play.
Pacific actually went one step further in the 34th minute, as Alejandro Diaz looked to have added to his league-leading goal tally. But after getting on the end of an incredibly clever Pacific counterattack, combining with Marco Bustos and Josh Heard, Diaz was ruled offside.
Ottawa had one more chance before the interval, as a long throw from Miguel Acosta was held up well by Malcolm Shaw in the Pacific box. His backheeled attempt, while clever, wasn’t calibrated quite right and went well wide.
Despite these many moments of excitement, the match remained tied 0-0 at the half, just as it did the last time these two sides met back in early May.
Ottawa continued to lay on the pressure to start the second half, using their width to cause Pacific issues down the flank. Drew Beckie came close from a clever corner-kick routine where Bassett found Ballou Tabla, who delivered the ball into the box. The Ottawa captain, however
The visitors, meanwhile, were able to create a few chances of their own, largely through Gianni Dos Santos, who after a brilliant long-range goal against Valour last weekend looked to repeat history. He was not able to keep his attempts down on this occasion, however.
But it always looked to be Ottawa who would find the breakthrough, as their counterattack once again ripped forward in the 62nd minute. Bahous found Bassett at the top of the box, who played a through ball to Tabla. Tabla redirected the ball into the path of Shaw, who made no mistake this time beating Callum Irving from close range.
Shaw put the ball in the back of the net again just a few moments later, but this time the assistant referee’s flag came up for offside.
Ottawa was then asking why it didn’t in the 82nd minute when Heard equalizer for the visitors. A simple ball over the top from Alejandro Diaz looked to have struck Heard’s hand as he brought it down, but the Pacific attacker didn’t stop to ask questions as he chipped the ball into the back of the net.
But for the second straight game, substitute Verhoeven played hero. The young midfielder took advantage of a misplay from Amer Didic, and played a bit of an unplanned one-two with Bassett, before calling off his teammate and curling the ball past Ingham.
Ottawa did an excellent job of killing off the clock the rest of the match, securing a huge three points in the Canadian Premier League table.
62′ — Malcolm Shaw (Atlético Ottawa)
82′ — Josh Heard (Pacific FC)
86′ — Zachary Verhoven (Atlético Ottawa)
33′ — Nathan Mavila (Pacific FC)
64′ — Gianni Dos Santos (Pacific FC)
66′ — Zakaria Bahous (Atlético Ottawa)
78′ — Zachary Verhoven (Atlético Ottawa)
78′ — Kunle Dada-Luke (Pacific FC)