Pacific FC snapped a three-game losing streak on Saturday, beating Valour FC 2-1 at Starlight Stadium.
The home side had the majority of the ball in the early stages of the game, putting a ton of pressure on the Valour backline, and first came close to opening the scoring in the 14th minute. After a cross in from a corner, Thomas Meilleur-Giguère headed the ball on target, but Matteo de Brienne did well to clear the ball away from danger on the line. It was de Brienne that conceded the corner in the first place, getting his body in front of a cross into the box and deflecting it out of bounds.
Manny Aparicio was able to get a shot away a few minutes later after receiving a pass from Steffen Yeates, but he sent his shot wide of the target. Aparicio had a couple of opportunities to strike free kicks in the opening 45 as well, but both times struck the wall of Valour defenders.
Valour’s lone shot of the first half came just before the half-hour mark, as Walter Ponce put the ball on target from outside the box, but Emil Gazdov was able to make the stop. Moments later, Darlington Murasiranwa made a huge stop to deny Josh Heard at the other end of the pitch, getting down to get his arm on the ball.
Pacific finally took the lead in the 35th minute, through Adonijah Reid. Yeates played a low pass to the feet of Aparicio, who chipped the ball over the Valour backline with his first touch, into the path of Reid, who redirected the ball past the rushing Murasiranwa.
The Tridents dominated the opening half, outshooting Valour 9-1, and having 62% of the possession of the ball, but only took a 1-0 advantage into halftime.
Phil Dos Santos went to his bench immediately, making a triple change at halftime. While one of those subs, Andy Baquero, had the first shot after play resumed, the substitutes didn’t have the immediate impact that Dos Santos was hoping for, as it was Pacific on the front foot as they kept pushing for more goals to extend their lead.
Paul Amedume and Bradley Vliet both missed the target with shots in the first 15 or so minutes of the second half, before Yeates had an effort blocked in the 64th.
Valour eventually found an equalizer against the run of play in the 77th minute, as Matteo de Brienne tied things up for the visitors. Meeting a cross to the back post, de Brienne slid in to redirect the ball past Emil Gazdov, giving them hope of completing the comeback and potentially picking up three massive points.
Any hope of a Valour win was cut short just eight minutes later. Pacific’s super sub Ayman Sellouf came to his team’s rescue once again, picking up the rebound from Easton Ongaro’s shot off the woodwork and bending it into the bottom right corner of the net to give the Tridents a 2-1 advantage late on.
Despite a frantic end to the match, as Pacific looked to extend their lead and Valour looked for a second equalizer over a back-and-forth nine minutes of stoppage time, another goal wouldn’t come for either side. It was an important three points for Pacific, who move within a point of league leaders Cavalry FC, and will look to build on this after their recent slump.
35′ — Adonijah Reid (Pacific FC)
77′ — Matteo de Brienne (Valour FC)
85′ — Ayman Sellouf (Pacific FC)
24′ — Yellow: Marcello Polisi (Valour FC)
66′ — Yellow: Guillaume Pianelli (Valour FC)
79′ — Yellow: Dante Campbell (Valour FC)
83′ — Yellow: Bradley Vliet (Pacific FC)
90+2′ — Yellow: Andy Baquero (Valour FC)
90+4′ — Yellow: Ahinga Selemani (Valour FC)