HIGHLIGHTS: Forge FC vs. Pacific FC (Sept. 23, 2023) | Presented by tonybet
Forge FC leapt Pacific FC in the CPL table on Saturday night with a 3-1 victory over the Tridents that could have significant implications in their quest to finish in a top-two spot this season.
After Djenairo Daniels opened the scoring just three minutes into the match, Rezart Rama equalized just two minutes later. After the match saw a significant delay due to a scary injury incident, Woobens Pacius scored shortly after the restart to hand Forge a big victory, while Jordan Hamilton scored in stoppage time.
The downside of the result from a Forge perspective, is that it clinches the regular season title for their rivals Cavalry FC. However, it does mean that they move up into second place, two points ahead of Pacific FC with two matches remaining in the season for both sides. Forge had already clinched their playoff spot earlier in the day due to York United’s loss to Cavalry FC.
Pacific FC clinched a spot last weekend, with Cavalry making up the other side who is confirmed to be appearing in this year’s postseason. Under the league’s new playoff format, finishing in the top two spots means playing in a first vs. second match,
For a match with big implications, Forge FC and Pacific FC came out of the gates flying. Daniels opened the scoring as he smashed home a lovely ball played perfectly into his path by Manny Aparicio in just the third minute.
Two minutes later, however, Kwasi Poku won a challenge and dribbled into the box before sending an excellent cross to the back post. Rama was wide-open at the back post to head home his first goal for Forge FC.
Shortly thereafter, the match took a scary turn after a collision between Pacific FC’s Kunle Dada-Luke and Forge FC’s Malcolm Duncan resulted in a significant medical delay. Both players were taken to the hospital for precautionary assessment, both were in stable condition. The clubs will provide further updates when more information becomes available.
The clock was stopped in the 26th minute, with both clubs returning to the field to warm up again before resuming. Shortly thereafter, Forge came incredibly close to taking the lead as Pacius took down an inch-perfect cross from Béni Badibanga, but his shot from in tight hit the crossbar.
Pacius, however, wouldn’t be denied. In the 35th minute, this time it was Poku who found Badibanga in the middle of the box. Badibanga’s shot was brilliantly stopped by Emil Gazdov, but Pacius was on hand to tap home his ninth of the season. The score remained 2-1 heading into half-time.
At the half, looking to inject an attacking spark into his side, Merriman brought off goalscorer Daniels and replaced him with the club’s leading scorer, Ayman Sellouf out wide, with Adonijah Reid shifting into a more central role. Pacific came out of the half-time break the livelier of the two sides.
They really should have equalized the match on a 54th-minute sequence that saw Reid get all alone in front, but the Pacific attacker got his first-time effort all wrong and squandered a big chance. Moments later, Amer Didić nearly chipped Forge goalkeeper Triston Henry from over half.
The Forge goalkeeper scrambled all the way back to tip the ball over the bar, but injured himself in the process. He had to be replaced by Christopher Kalongo in the 60th minute. In the 66th minute, Steffen Yeates came incredibly close again to equalizing for Pacific, but his effort struck the outside of Kalongo’s right post.
Forge, however, did a very solid job of seeing out the match defensively. Their makeshift back three of Alexander Achinioti-Jönsson, Manjrekar James and Rezart Rama held strong throughout the final half-hour of the match, limiting Pacific’s chances.
With time running out, Jordan Hamilton secured the third point with Forge’s third goal of the match. His initial shot was stopped by Gazdov, but he showed good composure to collect his own rebound and finish the chance.
Forge finished the season series having won three of the four meetings between the two sides. They have now won twelve of the eighteen all-time meetings between the two sides.
4′ — Djenairo Daniels (Pacific FC)
5′ — Rezart Rama (Forge FC)
35′ — Woobens Pacius (Forge FC)
90 + 5′ — Jordan Hamilton (Forge FC)
14′ — Yellow: Alessandro Hojabrprour (Forge FC)
45+2′ — Yellow: Aboubacar Sissoko (Forge FC)
76′ — Yellow: Josh Heard (Pacific FC)