It took 12 hard-fought games, but FC Edmonton finally has a win on the board in this 2022 CPL season, as they finally broke their duck this weekend in an entertaining 1-0 home victory over Atlético Ottawa at Clarke Stadium.
To begin the game, Ottawa came flying out of the gates, allowing them to nearly grab an early lead right in the second minute. Having done well to force a turnover high up the pitch, they then quickly played in Malcolm Shaw all alone on a breakaway, where the Ottawa striker managed to pick out the top corner quite nicely, only finding himself denied by a great flying save from Edmonton’s Andreas Vaikla in goal.
At the other end, Edmonton then had a good look of their own in the 12th minute, when Gabriel Bitar stepped up to take a free-kick that he’d just won, and he made great contact on the set-piece, narrowly sending it over the goal from 25 yards.
Continuing an entertaining start to the game, Ottawa’s Zakaria Bahous nearly broke things wide-open in the 23rd, as he tried an ambitious shot from distance, but a deflection just kept his shot from causing too many problems for the hosts.
Then, soon after, Edmonton would attempt a shot from distance of their own, as Azriel Gonzalez managed to get solid contact on a long free-kick, finding the target with his effort, but his shot lacked the conviction to beat Nathan Ingham in the Ottawa goal.
From there, however, Edmonton kept at it, putting together some good patches of play. As a result, that then allowed Edmonton to find their best chance of the game up to that point in the 33rd minute.
After a great free-kick into the box, the ball did well to find a running Nyal Higgins, who caught all of a half-volley, one that Ingham reacted well to in order to keep his team from trailing before half.
Eager to find that first goal before the break, however, Edmonton had another glorious opportunity right in the 52nd minute, as Bicou Bissainthe rose highest to a good cross in o a corner, doing well to send it across goal, but no one was able to pounce on his great second phase delivery to tap it home.
Yet, while they were unable to find that goal before half time, as Ottawa held strong for the rest of the first half, Edmonton came out strong to start the second half, too. Because of that, they came close to scoring right in the 46th minute, as Bitar unleashed a dangerous shot from distance, one that had Ingham scrambling, just sliding wide of the mark.
Those missed chances would nearly prove to be costly in the 55th minute, however, as Ottawa’s Carl Haworth managed to snake into a good area in the Edmonton box, where he’d unleash a rock of a shot, just sending his attempt over the crossbar from close range.
Having survived that scare, though, Edmonton nearly then found their opener right in the 60th minute, as Gonzalez caught all of a dangerous free-kick just at the edge of the box, but he’d be denied by a strong save from Ingham.
From there, though, that finally allowed them to find their breakthrough just minutes later. After a great corner into the box from Gonzalez, Bissainthe managed to create space for himself at the back post, doing well to climb highest and nod home a header from short range.
Thanks to that, it gave them a lead right at a great time, with just 23 minutes to see out their potentially magical victory, a long-awaited first of the season.
Before they could potentially celebrate such a result, however, they still had a lot of work to do, and Ottawa gave them a good reminder of that in the 77th minute. After a nice cross into the box by Maxim Tissot, Haworth found himself wide-open in a dream position in the box, yet just couldn’t get much on a shot attempt, leading to an easy roller for Vaikla to save.
Yet, despite that scare, Edmonton kept pushing, and nearly added a second a minute later, as Bitar managed to craft some space for himself in a dangerous area. From there, he did well to get off a powerful shot, one that caused Ingham all sorts of trouble, almost sneaking past him for his second.
Then, they came even closer to a second just five minutes later, as second-half substitute, CJ Smith, managed to slip in behind the Ottawa defence on a breakaway, but despite facing down what seemed like a sure goal, he sliced his shot just wide.
But that wouldn’t cost them on the day, as they’d see out the rest of the game from there, allowing them to finally celebrate that long-awaited victory with their home fans.