The Canadian Premier League has a new champion! After a narrow 1-0 victory on Sunday evening, Pacific FC are now the champs after they were able to get in the way of Forge FC and their search for a CPL threepeat.
It finished 1-0 in Pacific’s favour on a wet and windy day in Hamilton with Alessandro Hojabrpour netting the title-deciding goal, denying Forge their chance of winning a CPL title in front of their fans.
Pacific FC played the role of underdog to perfection, nabbing a huge victory away to the CPL juggernauts, even keeping a clean sheet in the process.
Forge started the match in a positive manner, putting pressure on the Pacific defenders and earning plenty of set piece opportunities as a result.
For the majority of the first half, Pacific looked to play on the counter, sending plenty of longballs behind the Forge backline in hopes of Terran Campbell or Gianni dos Santos latching onto them and rushing towards goal. This type of chance never really came for the Vancouver Island club.
For Forge, it was a first period full of half-chances as they were able to fire off quite a few shots from distance, none of which really testing Pacific FC keeper Callum Irving.
Forge midfielder Mo Babouli was a real bright spot for his side, constantly dropping deep to collect the ball and start Forge attacks. He was the liveliest of the Forge attackers on a day where his other teammates struggled to make a real impact in front of goal.
The best chance of the half fell to Emery Welshman in the 36th minute as he made a clever dash into the Pacific goal area, but was unable to control a whipped cross from Kwame Awuah with the goal in front of him left wide open.
Going into halftime, Forge will have felt good about the way in which they controlled the ball but were probably frustrated with their lack of end product. On the flip side, Pacific would have been pleased going into the second half without conceding a goal.
Throughout the second half it was as if Forge fans were waiting to see their team kick into fifth gear, but it never really happened. The attacking players seemed to get more frustrated as the half went on and at times looked as if they ran out of ideas.
In the end, Forge were made to pay for their lack of decisiveness in front of goal and it was Pacific FC who made the most of their set piece opportunities.
With Gianni Dos Santos behind a free kick in the 59th minute, Hojabrpour made a smart near-post run and tucked in the cross from the left past Triston Henry in the Forge goal who had no real chance of stopping the slick headed effort.
From then on it just didn’t look like it would be Forge’s evening to make history at home.
To their credit, Pacific FC worked tirelessly all game long, keeping things very tidy at the back, essentially shutting out key players for Forge such as Tristan Borges and Omar Browne. The Pacific FC backline deserve a lot of praise for their performance.
Pacific FC played things tight after their goal and were able to see out the rest of the match, keeping Forge at bay for the 90 minutes. Pa-Modou Kah will have been thrilled with his team’s physical and mental endurance as they kept an impressive clean sheet on their way to lifting The North Star Shield.
Speaking postgame, PFC captain Jamar Dixon summarized the match well as he spoke about his side’s clinical edge in the final. “I told these guys we’re going to get one chance, one chance... and we got it and that’s what happens.”
Congratulations Pacific FC on an amazing achievement and terrific overall season!