For the second time this season, Vancouver FC and Valour FC battled to a 0-0 draw at Langley’s Willoughby Community Park, as they ended up splitting the spoils in a crucial battle of the seventh and eighth-place teams in the CPL table on Sunday.
Arguably a must-win game for both sides, it’d be an intense encounter between the pair, but ultimately they were just unable to muster up the crucial tally that they both craved on the day.
As a result, they’ll now head into their last 10 matches of the season looking to quickly turn around their fortunes, as they both remain mired in extended winless runs.
After a cagey start to the match, as both teams remained disciplined and organized defensively right from the opening whistle, the first chance wouldn’t come until the 23rd minute. There, Vancouver did well to string together a nice sequence of passes, before teeing up a Shaan Hundal shot from outside of the box, but his left-footed attempt would sail just over the crossbar.
At the other end, Pacifique Niyongabire nearly put Valour ahead in the 32nd minute, as he managed to wiggle himself free inside Vancouver’s box, but he’d be denied by a strong stop from Vancouver’s Callum Irving in goal.
Continuing a spell of end-to-end action, Vancouver had another good look through Hundal in the 40th minute, as he found a nice pocket of space after a good ball from Gabriel Bitar, where he’d send another powerful strike just over the bar.
Then, right before half, Valour would have the best chance of either side up to that stage.
There, Kian Williams managed to cut inside and fire a ball into a dangerous area in the box, one that Walter Ponce would be first to react to, firing the ball off the post from close range.
After that, however, the referee would then blow for half time, leaving both teams to regroup as they got set to chase a victory in the second half.
Despite that break, though, the pace wouldn’t slow down, either.
Vancouver had the first good look of the first half, as Hundal had a great look from inside of the box on his preferred right foot, before Alejandro Díaz had a strong attempt at goal with his head, but they were both denied by acrobatic saves from Valour’s Rayane Yesli in goal.
Then, shortly after, Hundal had another great look at goal, as he managed to make good contact on a header following an inch-perfect James Cameron cross, narrowly sending his attempt wide of the mark.
At the other end, Valour then came close to an opener in the 62nd minute. In fact, they breached the net, as Niyongabire slotted home a great flick from Klaidi Cela on a corner, but his goal would be immediately waived off for offside, as he had snuck behind Vancouver’s defenders before scoring.
Moments later, Valour came close once again, as Kian Williams flashed a dangerous shot from a tight angle in the 67th minute, forcing a strong stop from Irving, keeping the score level.
From there, the game would slow back down again, however. There would be opportunities – Díaz had a nice look for Vancouver around the 78th minute, while Williams flashed over a dangerous free kick in the 84 – but neither side were unable to come close to that valuable opening tally.
Despite that, they’d continue to push right to the end, eager to change that. As a result, Vancouver came close in the 88th minute, as Hundal found himself in a dangerous position at the edge of the opposing box, but he’d send his left-footed attempt well over the mark.
Then, right in the final minute, Vancouver came close to grabbing a winner. Off a corner, the ball would fall to a wide-open Rocco Romeo in the box, and he’d unleash a powerful header, one that would only be kept out by a strong save from Yesli, who’d also do well to hold onto the subsequent rebound.
Yesli’s save would quickly prove to be crucial, too, as the final whistle would blow just minutes later, leaving both sides to settle for the draw.