Halifax Wanderers see Red in 3-1 Loss to Atlético Ottawa

Halifax Wanderers see Red in 3-1 Loss to Atlético Ottawa

The Halifax Wanderers hosted Atlético Ottawa on April 27th, at the Wanderers Ground, which marked the first away game of the season for the nation’s capital team. Historically, Ottawa performs better on the road and Saturday was no different, as the visitors clutched a 3-1 win over the home-side.

Atlético Ottawa, who tied their last game against Cavalry FC, after conceding an own goal in the 90th minute of the match, was dealt the upper-hand after referee Ben Hoskins awarded Halifax’s Lorenzo Callegari a red card in the 19th minute which helped them take the lead in the first-half. The foul was given for a high-kick on Ottleti’s Manny Aparicio, which saw the Wanderers complete the remaining 70 minutes a player short.

Photo ©Trevor MacMillian/HFX Wanderers FC

The Haligonians, who kicked off the half, had several early chances including a shot on target in the 6th minute from a free kick that was awarded about 26-yards out from the visitor’s net, for a foul Luke Singh committed on Massimo Ferrin. The shot was an early first test for debuting goalkeeper Rayane Yesli, who comfortably saved Ferrin’s ball after it passed over Atléti’s wall.

The home-team had a second opportunity in the 10th minute when Giorgio Probo sent a dangerous ball in front of Ottawa’s goal, which rolled past his teammate Massimo Ferrin, as well as Atléti defenders Amer Didić and Kris Twardek. Aidan Daniels, positioned outside the 6-yard box, shot towards the frame, but it was cleared away by Didić.

Five minutes later, a patient home-side thought they had a third chance, but Probo’s pass to Zachary Fernandez, into the side of the penalty area, was blocked by Maxim Tissot, who put his body on the line to complete a clean tackle that saw the ball out for a Wanderers’ corner. This was the East Coast team’s last opportunity before Callegari picked up the red card and the home-team was forced to play the remainder of the match at a disadvantage.

The visitor’s had their first chance when Ollie Bassett weaved his way through players to the top of the penalty arc. He fed the ball forward and Ballou Tabla was able to send the pass towards goal, in the 27th minute. Fillion ultimately stopped the shot before the play was ruled offside.

The next ten minutes saw a couple more fouls and corners that amounted to nothing, as well as a yellow card to Twardek, his third in three games. The game quickly changed pace when, in the 39th minute, a defensive play by Ottawa saw the ball brought back into Wanderers’ box, after an initial clearance by Fernandez. Matteo de Brienne passed backwards to Rubén Del Campo sitting just outside the 18-yard line whose shot beat Fillion’s low dive for the first goal of the game and the first for Del Campo in red-and-white stripes.

Photo ©Trevor MacMillian/HFX Wanderers FC

With Atlético leading 1-0, Halifax was given the opportunity to equalize, only three minutes later, when a corner sent in by Wesley Timoteo was headed into the crossbar by Daniel Nimick. Aboubacar Sissoko was able to test Fillion once more before the half-time whistle, which resulted in an easy catch for the goalkeeper.

The goal scorer kicked off the second-half and was an intricate part of the first chance at the 50th minute, after he caught a pass and lifted it over Wanderers’ Fernandez and Daniels to meet a sprinting Tabla. Marked by Daniels, Tabla took a shot endeavoring to get it past the goalkeepers’ outstretched leg, and regrettably sent the ball wide.

Ottawa secured their lead in the 56th minute when Twardek sent the ball into the center of Halifax’s box to an unmarked Aparicio. The attacking center midfielder sent the ball deep into the corner of the net by way of a diving volley, putting Atlético up 2-0.

A foul on Tissot in the 60th minute led to a close chance for Ottawa when Bassett’s free kick was headed by Sissoko to the center of the box. Ryan Telfer’s attempt to clear was deflected off Del Campo right to Didić who got his foot on the loose ball before Fillion could grab it. Unfortunately, it passed across the face of goal and was picked up by Nimick who cleared it.

At this point, Atléti started to struggle and Ferrin picked up a failed pass from Luke Singh to substitute Alberto Zapater, and sent the ball skimming off Yesli’s crossbar. In the 66th minute, Probo intercepted the ball and ran it forward forcing the goalkeeper to go down on his right to prevent the goal.

The visitor’s luck changed when newly subbed-on Gabriel Antinoro sprinted down the line to meet a forward pass by Bassett. He carried it into the penalty area before passing to Tabla who, situated in the center of the box, tapped the ball into the bottom left of Fillion’s net, in the 73rd minute. Tabla, who had several shots towards the frame, including in the 67th, 71st, 79th, and 88th minutes, secured the 3-0 lead for the nation’s capital.

Photo ©Trevor MacMillian/HFX Wanderers FC

The Wanderers fought hard until the end despite playing the majority of the match down one player and were able to find three final shots on frame in the dying minutes, one of which denied Yesli Ottawa’s first clean sheet of the season.

First in the 82nd minute, substitute Jérémy Gagnon-Laparé sent a ball to Christian Volesky located at the center of the 6-yard line, who headed it and forced Yesli to dive to his right to make the save on his goal line. Then, in the 89th, Gagnon-Laparé sent the ball high and long to a wide-open Riley Ferrazzo who was able to control the ball and get past defender Zachary Roy before sinking the ball into the visitor’s net, marking the first goal of the season for the home-team. Just before the final whistle, one last shot by Ferrazzo’s was sent wide.

In a repeated pattern from previous matches, Atlético Ottawa seemed to struggle once again between the 60th and 70th minute of play. They had difficulty keeping possession, they had passes intercepted, and their backline looked disorganized. Overall, there was also player grouping and unnecessary fouls. I want to attribute the weak ten minutes to fatigue and I can only hope these errors will remedy themselves as the season progresses.

My player stand-out goes to the 72nd minute substitute Gabriel Antinoro, whose presence saw an immediate impact to the visitor’s performance from the moment he stepped on the pitch. Within his first minute of play, he assisted on a goal and seemed to help Atlético out of the weird ten-minute slump. Antinoro had great passes, he was first to the ball, he had great runs, and he won a couple of fouls, including the free kick in the 77th minute, which was unfortunately sent wide.

I also want to offer recognition to Rubén Del Campo, who seemed to find renewed confidence after his first goal in Atléti colours. He was an important fixture in the game and earned his start; he secured the first goal, had several great chances, and even made important clears such as the one on Halifax’s free kick in the 50th minute. I’m excited to see more of him this season.

Atlético Ottawa play their next game, a preliminary round of the Canadian Championship, at TD Place on Wednesday May 1st, at 7 pm. This will be the first match of the 2024 campaign between the home team and Winnipeg’s Valour FC, who have yet to win a regular season game. The last time these teams played, Valour took the lead in added time, for a 1-0 win.

About C.D.

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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