Atlético Ottawa Put the Win in Winnipeg With 2-0 Victory

Atlético Ottawa Put the Win in Winnipeg With 2-0 Victory

Altético Ottawa extended their undefeated streak on June 9th when they played Valour FC at I.G. Field in Winnipeg. Drawing their previous game 2-2 with a last-minute equalizer, Ottawa came out fighting Sunday to take home all three points.

Both teams saw early opportunities, the first of which came in the 5th minute on a corner kick sent in by Themi Antonoglou. Ottawa initially cleared the ball, but Valour quickly regained possession and Antonoglou’s clever pass to Shaan Hundal caught the defense off guard – he slipped behind two ATO players unnoticed, leading to a tense moment for the visiting fans. From the byline, Hundal serviced the ball to his teammate at the near post, and Nathan Ingham dropped low anticipating the shot. However, a miscommunication between the goalkeeper and his defenders saw Amer Didić run in front of Ingham to defend against the Winnipeg player, blocking Ingham’s vision. This could have been disastrous had Gabriel Antinoro not cleared the danger by taking advantage of the home team’s heavy pass to blast the ball out of Ottawa’s end.

The next chance came in the 13th minute after the game had calmed. Diogo Dias da Ressureição found Abdul Binate on the edge of the penalty area, just before Matteo de Brienne went in for a tackle. Moving forward with the ball, Binate skillfully evaded Antinoro and fired a shot, driving Ingham down to his right with outstretched arms to make the save. However, the referee halted play and awarded Valour a set piece outside the box for de Brienne’s foul. Thankfully for Ottawa, Roberto Alarcón squandered his chance, as he drove the ball directly into the wall.

Photo © CPL Photos

Atlético’s first chance came in the 18th minute when de Brienne, receiving a pass from Rubén Del Campo, surged forward with the ball. Opting for a long cross into the box, he targeted Ballou Tabla running in. Antonoglou, in hot pursuit, obstructed Tabla with his body, and deflected the ball off his knee to veer it towards Jonathan Viscosi, who rushed out to snatch it.

In the 30th minute, Kris Twardek advanced up the field towards the 18-yard box, and slipped a pass to Ollie Bassett on his right before he was shoved in the back and taken down by Jordan Swibel. Despite the foul, the play continued and Bassett delivered a cross into the center of the box, where Del Campo attempted a shot. Unfortunately, a deflection from Tass Mourdoukoutas sent the ball wide of the frame. The ensuing corner taken by Bassett could have put ATO ahead, but Mourdoukoulas headed it away and the ball landed at de Brienne’s feet at the edge of the penalty area, where he volleyed it and struck the crossbar. Ottawa retained possession, circulating the ball until Antinoro’s decided to strike in the 32nd minute, which was again safely caught by Viscosi.

Valour’s next chance came as a result of a foul by Manny Aparicio on Dias da Ressureição in a dangerous position. Despite Hundal getting his head to the ball, Valour couldn’t capitalize on their set piece, as the ball flew across goal and out to the dismay of the home fans, in the 42nd minute.

The visitors had two final chances in the first half starting in the 46th minute; Bassett’s attempted olimpico curled in beautifully but was slightly overshot, sailing just over the crossbar. Then, in the 48th minute, de Brienne intercepted Dias da Ressureição’s pass, feeding Del Campo who charged into the box, forcing Viscosi to slide out off his line. The goalkeeper failed to grab the ball and Del Campo continued his run to the byline, where he shot from a tight angle and found the side netting.

Valour’s final chance of added time came from a corner by Antonoglou, but Ingham rose to pluck the ball from the air just before halftime, a save he recreated in the 73rd minute. Throughout the match, Valour struggled to put power behind their shots, resulting in easy saves by the goalkeeper – in the 7th minute, Mourdoukoulas floated a long ball into Ottawa’s box that was basket saved. Then, Dias da Ressureição’s attempt from outside the penalty area in the 27th minute was comfortably collected by Ingham. Similarly, Hundal’s shot from distance in the 34th minute lacked power, and Ingham easily dropped to collect the ball.

Photo © CPL Photos

In response to a mediocre opening 45 minutes, ATO came alive in the second half, firing four shots on target and converting two. Their first chance emerged when Didić fed Bassett the ball up the field in the 47th minute. With only two touches Bassett setup Tabla inside the penalty area, but surrounded by Valour defenders, Tabla’s shot was deflected out for a corner by Ohin.

Not long after, Ottawa was awarded their first free kick in the 55th minute about 10-yards out from Valour’s penalty box. De Brienne won the foul and Alberto Zapater took the kick, but it was dejà vu as the ball failed to go through the wall and the rebound was sent into the box for an easy save by Viscosi.  

Ingham, relatively unchallenged in the first half, faced a similar scenario in the second. In the 57th minute, Hundal received a cross and aimed for the near post, but his shot lacked power, making it an easy catch for the keeper and securing him his clean sheet.

The game changer came moments later; Del Campo was fouled in the box by Noah Verhoeven, earning a penalty for Atlético. Antinoro had received a pass from de Brienne, dribbled it up field and played it into the box for Del Campo – Verhoeven got the first touch, but it was light, leaving the ball loose in the area. Del Campo went in to collect it, but was pulled back by Verhoeven and the referee immediately called for a penalty kick. Bassett deceived Viscosi, sending him the wrong way as he slotted the ball into the far bottom right corner, giving Ottawa a 1-0 lead.

Photo © CPL Photos

The save of the match occurred in the 67th minute after Zapater intercepted a pass from Mourdoukoutas just beyond the halfway line. Driving forward, Zapater unleashed a long-range shot and Viscosi reacted swiftly, diving low to his right to parry the ball away, preventing it from meeting the far corner of his net.  

The final opportunity of the game came in the 90th minute from two ATO substitutes. After intercepting Zachary Sukunda’s pass, Samuel Salter played the ball forward to Aboubacar Sissoko on his right and made a darting run through two Valour players into their penalty area. Sissoko promptly returned the pass, and after evading a charging Mourdoukoutas, Salter slid the ball under Viscosi’s leg, who was a second too late to make his split save and the ball ricocheted off the near post and in for the second and final goal of the game.

My standout player of the match goes to Matteo de Brienne, who came out determined to prove himself against his former team. He had four tackles, including one on Binate’s run up field in the 6th minute, numerous defensive actions and a series of crucial clearances, one of which was on a Valour set piece. He was also strong in the offensive creating scoring opportunities, winning a free kick, being first to rebounds, and unleashing an amazing strike in the 31st that unfortunately went off the crossbar.

Photo © Phil Larivière 

Don’t miss the next match where first place Atlético Ottawa host sixth place York United at TD Place, on June 15th at 1 PM. The last time these teams faced-off, ATO clutched a 2-1 win, beating the Torontonians for the first time on home soil, and they’ll be eager to recreate that result.


C.D. Girard (she/her/elle) discovered Atlético Ottawa during their 2023 season and has been a loyal fan ever since. A long-time admirer of the sport, she first began playing football at the age of seven and most looks forward to international competitions where she supports both Canada and the Netherlands.


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