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Island Games Recap & Highlights: Pacific FC eliminated as Forge, HFX win on Saturday

Only three teams remain in the hunt for the second Canadian Premier League trophy!

HFX Wanderers celebrate João Morelli’s goal on Saturday
Canadian Premier League / Chant Photography

The second day of matches in the Group Stage of The Island Games took place on Saturday afternoon, with another two exciting matches that gave us a clearer idea of who might be battling it out for the North Star Shield next weekend.

Pacific FC were eliminated over the weekend, and according to Martyn Bailey, HFX Wanderers FC currently have a strong chance of making it into the Island Games Championship Final on September 19, as they only have the already-eliminated Pacific side left to play in their last match of this stage.

The earlier game on Saturday saw Forge FC take on Pacific FC. Coming off a draw with HFX in the first game of this second round, the reigning champions were looking to put themselves one step closer to returning to the final, and ended up doing just that.

They would take the lead from the penalty spot in the 35th minute, after Kadin Chung, one of the stars of the tournament up to this point, pushed over Jonathan Grant in the box as the Forge player was charging toward goal. It wasn’t the most obvious penalty, but was the correct call, and Daniel Krutzen stepped up to take it.

Krutzen, taking his first penalty in the CPL, confidently fired it home to give his team a 1-0 advantage.

Pacific had a few chances to score but despite having 68% possession, were unable to find the back of the net in this one. Forge would score again in the second half, as Anthony Novak slid the ball past Callum Irving to double the lead after a brilliant counter attack from The Hammers.

With the win, Forge went top of the table for this Group Stage round, where the top two sides make it to the Championship Final. They sit in first, with four points, and a better goal differential than HFX Wanderers.

Pacific, on the other hand, were eliminated from qualifying to play in the final next weekend. They made major strides this season, and have one game left to show what they’re all about.

Full highlights of Forge FC vs Pacfic FC:

HFX Wanderers took on Cavalry FC in the later game, and walked away with a 2-1 victory and three of the biggest points in their club’s short history.

With the win, they also extended their unbeaten streak to six games, with their only loss of the tournament coming against Cavalry in the opening round.

The Wanderers, who finished last place in the inaugural 2019 season, now see themselves a match away from the CPL Finals, sitting in second in the Group Stage standings, only behind Forge on goal difference.

Now stop me if you’ve heard this before, but a goal from Akeem Garcia gave HFX an early lead on Saturday. As he did in HFX’s previous two matches as well, Garcia found the back of the net within the first 15 minutes.

This time, he converted a penalty in the 12th minute, after Jonathan Wheeldon committed a second bookable offence in the penalty area, being sent off just 11 minutes into the match.

Prince Edward Island has earned the nickname “Penalty Island” from fans during this tournament, and this match contributed to that, with not one but two penalties in the opening 45 minutes.

After Cavalry goalkeeper Marco Carducci brought him down in the box moments earlier, João Morelli stepped up for the Wanderers in the 41st minute, making it 2-0 with a second penalty goal.

This was the 32nd match of The Island Games, but this was already the 19th spot-kick in the tournament.

With the goal, Morelli and Garcia have now combined for 10 goals at The Island Games, more than each of the four teams eliminated in the First Round scored — York9 and Valour FC scored eight, Atletico Ottawa scored seven and FC Edmonton scored five.

The Cavs gave their all to try and get back into the match, but an 80th minute goal from Jair Cordova was too little, too late, and HFX took this match 2-1

Full highlights of Cavalry FC vs HFX Wanderers:

What’s next?

Up next, Cavalry and Forge face off in a rematch of the inaugural CPL Finals on Tuesday afternoon, followed by HFX and Pacific in the evening.

Here’s the full schedule for stage two at The Island Games:

The full schedule for the Group Stage at The Island Games
Canadian Premier League