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Canadian Championship: Pacific Pounces On Penalties To Thwart TSS Rovers

By on May 2, 2024 0 736 Views

In a tight affair that gripped all those watching at Starlight Stadium and around the country too, Pacific FC came out victorious in its Voyageurs Cup match-up against League1 BC entrants TSS Rovers FC.

The semi-pro visitors once again entered the first-round contest as underdogs despite having proven themselves in the cup last year, when they routied Valour FC in the first round before Pacific bested them quarter-final. That made tonight’s rematch all the more tantalizing, though the visitors only had a short period to prepare for the game.

Photo Credit: CPL Photos

For the first half of the game the two sides held each other off and maintained strong and balanced postures. The second saw Pacific start with a bang with Romanian midfielder Andrei Tircoveanu striking the post twice, though neither moment led to a goal.

While PFC built momentum and the Rovers found themselves being out-performed in nearly every statistical metric, the League1 BC team would ultimately strike first at the seventy-fifth minute with their first shot of the game.

A giveaway by Pacific’s Thomas Meilleur-Giguere would put the ball right at Matteo Polisi‘s feet. From there a trifecta of Rovers attackers would pressure down the middle, ultimately splitting the d-line to an open Michael Hennessy, who slotted it past a sprawling Sean Melvin.

As the clock wound down, the pressure mounted for the professional home side as Pacific sought not to notch itself in history as a professional team to lose to a semi-pro side in the Canadian Championship. However, thee time would eventually come for their redemption.

With the fourth-official indicating an additional six minutes of added time, a window had opened for James Merriman’s squad. Right at the end, a crumbling and turned-around Rovers defensive structure gave too much room: as a nasty head-to-head collision near centre field that brought down opposing midfielders put a pause in added time’s play, referee Alain Ruch allowed the clock to continue long past the ’90+6 mark.

Ultimately, with the entirety of their squad pressing up against the Rovers’ penalty area, a long swinging ball would cross to the feet of Ayman Sellouf. Quick passes from Sellouf to Meilleur-Giguere would slip between TSS defenders, allowing Reon Moore to redeem himself from a previously-missed opportunity and tap it in past Rovers ‘keeper Justyn Sandhu.

With the sound of Alain Ruch’s whistle, the match was slated for kicks from the spot, a place seemingly unimaginable for Pacific FC’s fans only 20 minutes prior.

With Pacific having made a last-minute switch of keepers, bringing on Emil Gazdov for starter Melvin, this change would prove prudent as the following series of kicks would be a battle of keeper prowess.

Six rounds would be needed with both sides tied at three goals-a-piece after the fifth strike. With Gazdov having chosen correctly and saving Ivan Mejia’s attempt, a good guess by Rovers keeper Sandhu would not be enough to stop Victoria-native Josh Heard’s shot, sealing the deal for the home side.

Photo Credit: CPL Photos

Both sides now return to they respective leagues, having just begun their 2024 campaigns within the previous week (though the Rovers had a bye). Meanwhile, Pacific awaits a date confirmation for their upcoming two-game series against Atletico Ottawa, who secured their second-round berth with a 7-0 trouncing of Valour FC.

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