Continuing a bright start to their season, Pacific FC downed rivals Vancouver FC 6-3 in a high-flying all-BC CPL derby matchup at Langley’s Willoughby Community Park on Friday, vaulting them back atop the CPL table.
A physical and robust affair, both teams came out flying in this game, as they marked their second-ever meeting in style with goals, tackles and bundles of energy.
Despite an even back-and-forth first half by both teams that finished 2-2, however, Pacific would pull away in the end, doing well to grab all three points in commanding fashion.
The match would get off to a scintillating start, as both teams looked to grab an early edge in this derby, leading to some strong early tackles from both sides.
Then, profiting off that energy boost, Pacific had a pair of good looks inside three minutes, as Sean Young tested former teammate Callum Irving with a shot inside the box in the 2nd minute, before Adonijah Reid then tested Irving less than a minute later with a good attempt.
Off the back of that, Pacific would manage to grab a crucial lead on the ensuing corner from Reid. There,e he found Đidić with a ball after a fortunate bounce in the box, and the big centre back would make no mistake in nodding home for his third of the season, before joining his strong contingent of away supporters in celebration.
Yet, despite going down early, Vancouver would not be perturbed by that. Instead, they nabbed an equalizer just two minutes later, as Ibrahim Bakare found Min-jae Kwak with a dangerous ball into the box, where the winger would do well to finish into the low corner with a great shot for his first CPL goal.
Continuing the flurry of action, Vancouver then almost grabbed the lead off a dangerous free kick in the 20th minute, as Gabriel Bitar just flashed a dangerous shot wide of the post from the edge of the box.
Vancouver would come to rue that miss, however, as Pacific then regained their lead just minutes later. There, Josh Heard did well to cut inside from distance, before unleashing a curling effort, one that sailed into the top corner to give his team the lead.
Eager to keep the back-and-forth action, though, Vancouver almost got one back right away, as another dangerous ball found Kwak in the box, but his deflected effort would be nicely saved by Pacific’s Kieran Baskett. At the other end, Pacific then almost added to their lead in the 29th minute, as Adonijah Reid unleashed a curler from distance, sending his effort just over.
Yet, unsurprisingly, this game would have one last turn in it before half time. There, Vancouver managed to nab an equalizer just before half time, as the CPL’s youngest-ever player, TJ Tahid, made some history by curling home a great shot from in-tight to become the CPL’s youngest-ever goalscorer.
After that, both teams would mercifully get some rest, allowing them to reset before getting set for what the second half had to offer.
Despite that, the break would do nothing to slow down the pace of the game, as both teams traded chances early inside the second stanza. At one end, Manny Aparicio sent one over from distance, before Shaan Hundal tested Baskett with a dangerous attempt just minutes later.
Then, continuing his bright start to the second half, Hundal nearly gave his team the lead in the 59th minute, as he danced through a few defenders before unleashing a fierce strike, but his attempt would be just kept out by the strong hands of Baskett once again.
He’d come to regret those close calls just minutes later, however, as Pacific then quickly came alive to grab a significant foothold on the match.
First, second half substitute Aymen Sellouf, just minutes after coming on, did well to cut inside and curl in a lovely low strike to make it 3-2 for his team in the 66th minute.
Then, less than two minutes later, Sellouf would set up fellow sub Easton Ongaro with a great through ball, before Ongaro did well to slot it home to make it 4-2.
Not done there, either, Sellouf then added to Vancouver’s misery in the 79th minute, as he managed to win a penalty, one that Manny Aparicio would step up and slot home to then make it 5-2.
Vancouver did then get their hopes restored in the 87th minute, as Shaan Hundal stepped up to convert a penalty won by Gael Sandoval to make it 5-3, but then Pacific quickly extinguished those dreams as Kekuta Manneh scored his first-ever CPL goal with a rocket off the crossbar in the 91st minute to make it 6-3.
From there, that’d be all that this match would have to offer, as the flood of goals finally slowed down enough for the referee to blow the final whistle, confirming Pacific’s emphatic victory.