HFX Wanderers take 2:1 lead over Valour FC in Qualifying Round 2

HFX Wanderers FC took a 2:1 lead over Valour FC in the Canadian Championship Qualifying Round 2 at Wanderers Grounds in Halifax on 5 June. Valour […]

HFX Wanderers FC took a 2:1 lead over Valour FC in the Canadian Championship Qualifying Round 2 at Wanderers Grounds in Halifax on 5 June. Valour will try to overcome the deficit on 12 June in the return leg at Investors’ Group Field in Winnipeg. HFX Wanderers narrowly beat out League1 Ontario champions Vaughan Azzurri in the first round, advancing 3:3 on away goals to face their Canadian Premier League counterparts Valour FC who entered the competition in Qualifying Round 2.

It was the away side who created the first dangerous opportunity, as Valour’s Dylan Sacramento got a quick half volley away on a cross from the left side and Wanderers keeper Christian Oxner was forced to make a good reflex save in the 23’. Valour FC took a 0:1 lead in the 34’, recording an important away goal. Michael Petrasso’s low, hard cross from the right wing was controlled in the penalty area by Sacramento who couldn’t get a shot away but was able to get a pass to Marco Bustos. The shot from Bustos took a deflection off of HFX Wanderers FC’s Peter Schaale and beat the keeper.

The home side equalized through Tomasz Skublak (40’) who jumped the highest in the Valour box to head in the Elliott Simmons corner and the ball just crosses the line. Just two minutes later, Skublak flicked the ball over the Valour defence and into the path of Mohamed Kourouma who calmly put his shot past Mathias Janssens to give HFX Wanderers a 2:1 lead (42’).

Skublak continued to cause trouble for the Valour FC defence in the second half, including hitting the outside of the post in the 52’. In the 62’, he again got behind the defence and cut in a cross from the byline but the visitors were able to clear the danger. Five minutes later, Valour were again able to clear their lines after a mad scramble in their own penalty area.

In the 73’, Valour substitute Tyler Attardo had an opportunity to tie the match but his shot went just wide of the far post. The away side continued to press for the equalizer late in the match, and Ali Musse was taken down just outside of the Wanderers penalty area in the 84’, giving Valour a dangerous opportunity. Bustos’ free kick had the home side’s keeper worried but went just wide.

Late in the match, Kourouma had the opportunity to add to HFX Wanderers’ lead but his shot sailed over the crossbar (89’).

HFX Wanderers FC’s Starting XI was backstopped by Canadian keeper Christian Oxner. The defensive line featured Peter Schaale, André Bona, and Canadians Ndzemdzela Langwa and Matthew Arnone. Captain Elton John led the midfield and was joined by Andre Rampersad and Canadian Elliott Simmons. Kodai Iida started alongside Canadians Mohamed Kourouma and Tomasz Skublak to form the home side’s attack.

HFX coach Stephen Hart made his first substitution in the 71’, replacing Rampersad with Canadian Vincent Lamy. Canadian Scott Firth came in for Iida (87’)
Valour FC’s starting XI featured goalkeeper Mathias Janssens along with Martín Arguiñarena and Canadians Skylar Thomas, Michael Petrasso, and captain Jordan Murrell in defence. Canadians Louis Béland-Goyette, Marco Bustos, and Dylan Carreiro made up the midfield for the visitors and the all-Canadian forward line of Dylan Sacramento, Calum Ferguson, and Nicolás Galvis rounded out the side.

Valour coach Rob Gale made a double change in the 64’, bringing on Canadian Ali Musse for Carreiro and Canadian Tyler Attardo for Ferguson. Thomas made way for Raphael Ohin (68’).

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