HIGHLIGHTS: Atlético Ottawa vs. Valour FC (Sept. 24, 2023) | Presented by tonybet
Atlético Ottawa failed to make up any ground in the playoff race on Sunday afternoon, left stunned by a 94th-minute winner from Valour FC’s Walter Ponce in a 1-0 defeat at TD Place.
The visitors were the braver of the two sides to start the match, taking a trio of shots in the opening ten minutes. Marcello Polisi had a shot blocked seven minutes in, before Pacifique Niyongabire and Matteo de Brienne both missed the target in the three minutes that followed. Responding to Valour’s strong start, Ottawa started to pick up the tempo in the minutes that followed, with Ollie Bassett and Sam Salter taking Ottawa’s first two shots of the match in quick succession, and Salter’s being the first shot on target for either side during the match.
Kian Williams gave Nate Ingham a scare just before the half-hour mark, opening up a lane for himself to shoot and firing the ball at the Ottawa goalkeeper’s net, but it sailed just wide of the post.
That would be the closest anyone would come to finding the back of the net in the opening half, and the two sides entered the break tied at 0-0.
Moments after play resumed, however, Ottawa came inches away from opening the scoring themselves in the unlikeliest of ways. Ilias Iliadis curled a dangerous corner kick into the box, and it nearly ended up going directly into the back of the net. Rayane Yesli was there to cover it anyway, but it hit the woodwork. The Ottawa midfielder tried it again just after the hour mark, but this time Yesli was able to make an easy catch.
Luke Singh and Niyongabire traded off-target shots just before the hour mark, and Bassett and Williams each had efforts blocked, as the teams continued to trade chances — still looking for that elusive first goal.
With a heightened sense of urgency as the clock ticked away, Ottawa upped the tempo several notches as they desperately looked for a goal that would give them three huge points. Sam Salter and Luke Singh were among the players to fire shots at Yesli, but neither could hit the target.
Just when it seemed like the match was destined for a 0-0 stalemate, Walter Ponce won the match for the visitors with one of the last kicks of the game. Kian Williams played a low pass along the ground to the Chilean attacker, and he made no mistake, firing the ball past Nathan Ingham for his third goal of the season.
With the defeat, Ottawa remain in fifth place in the CPL table, three back of the Halifax Wanderers for the coveted fourth position and the chance to host a playoff game at TD Place.
90+4′ — Walter Ponce (Valour FC)
25′ — Yellow: Maxim Tissot (Atlético Ottawa)
45+1′ — Yellow: Ilias Iliadis (Atlético Ottawa)
68′ — Yellow: Diego Gutiérrez (Valour FC)