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Atlético Ottawa dominate Valour to win 7-0, advance in Canadian Championship

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A rout. A slaughter. An utter annihilation.

All of the above can apply when describing Atlético Ottawa’s 7-0 victory over Valour FC in the Canadian Championship first round in Ottawa Wednesday.

Atlético dominated all aspects of the match on both sides of the ball, from kickoff to the final whistle, and deservedly advance to the 2024 Canadian Championship quarterfinals to face Pacific FC later this month.

Ollie Bassett, Alberto Zapater, and Ruben del Campo each scored a brace while Ballou Tabla found the net once to advance the capital city club to the next round.

Ottawa’s seven-goal triumph is the largest-ever margin of victory in Canadian Championship history, surpassing MLS side Montreal Impact’s 6-0 win over Toronto FC in the second leg of the 2013 semifinals.

This record-breaking result is also the biggest win in Atlético Ottawa’s history, the most goals Ottawa has scored in a single match, and the most goals scored by any team in a single match in Canadian Championship history.

Atlético Ottawa enjoying 2024 so far

Ottawa continues its excellent start to the season and remains undefeated in all competitions.

While pleased with the result, Ottawa’s head coach Carlos Gonzalez preferred to highlight his team’s attitude, work rate, effort, and overall performance on both offence and defence. But he also cautioned his team to not get overconfident with the win.

“It was a great game. We played with good intensity, with great intention,” Gonzalez said after the match. “I’m proud of how we’re growing, little by little. But it’s only one game, we can’t get too carried away.”

It was complete domination on the stat sheet by Atlético. Ottawa won the expected goal (xG) battle 3.92 to 0.27, they outshot Valour 22-8 and recorded 10 shots on target to Valour’s two. Ottawa amassed 17 shots from inside the opposition box, Valour had three, Ottawa had 34 touches in the opposition box to only 14 for Valour and Ottawa recorded eight big scoring chances to Valour’s zero.

In terms of final third entries, Valour had the advantage with 53 compared to Ottawa’s 50, yet Ottawa’s defence was up to the task, pressing well, closing down open space, and limiting Valour to essentially nothing offensively. Meanwhile, Atlético’s attackers came in waves and had Valour’s defenders on roller skates all match long.

Two-goal star Ollie Bassett was thrilled about the result but also emphasized the importance of his team playing the full 90 minutes at high intensity.

“It’s not every day you’re up 4-0 at halftime,” said Bassett after the game. “It was about trying to keep playing the right way and not taking our foot off the gas. The result speaks for itself, but it was a performance that was long overdue.”

Atlético Ottawa score four in first half

The scoring started in the 14th minute when Bassett slotted home a penalty into the top left corner after Matteo de Brienne won a penalty after a collision in Valour’s box.

In the 30th minute, Alberto Zapater scored his first goal for Atlético Ottawa after heading home a Maxime Tissot corner kick.

Atletico Ottawa, Canadian Championship, Valour FC

Atlético Ottawa beat Valour FC 7-0 in their 2024 Canadian Championship match in Ottawa Wednesday, May 1, 2024. Photo: Tim Austen/Freestyle Photography

Not even a minute later, de Brienne created a turnover in the center circle before sending a long, accurate through ball to del Campo who struck it well into the bottom right corner with his left foot. 3-0 Ottawa.

Zapater found the back of the net again in the 37th minute, after heading home a Bassett corner kick which Amer Didic headed across the face of the goal toward Zapater.

Gonzalez emphasized the importance of scoring set-piece goals. Ottawa scored two set-piece goals in the first half, contributing to their massive 4-0 halftime lead.

Much of the same in the second half

In the second half, the goal onslaught continued. In the 63rd minute, Manny Aparicio forced a turnover in midfield and sent a powerful through-ball between two defenders to Tabla who controlled it before cutting to his left to beat a defender and slotting it home to make it 5-0.

Right off the ensuing kickoff, Ottawa’s high press forced another errant pass by Valour in their defensive third. Zapater secured the loose ball before sending a long pass down the flank to Tabla, who completed a brilliant cross into the six-yard box for Bassett who made no mistake, hammering it under the crossbar for his second of the match. 6-0 Ottawa.

Atletico Ottawa, Canadian Championship, Valour FC

Atlético Ottawa beat Valour FC 7-0 in their 2024 Canadian Championship match in Ottawa Wednesday, May 1, 2024. Photo: Tim Austen/Freestyle Photography

Shortly after, del Campo made it 7-0 with a composed close-range finish to complete his brace after Sam Salter kept the ball in play at the byline.

Del Campo ended the match with 5 shots (all on target), scored two of his match-leading three big chances, and created three big scoring chances for his teammates. His performance won him player of the match honours.

Ottawa scored twice from set pieces, twice in transition, and scored two pairs of goals in quick succession (within two minutes of each other). All are crucial ways to score in important games, according to Gonzalez.

Atletico and Valour FC meet again in the league this weekend

These two teams will meet again on May 5 at TD Place for a CPL league match. Bassett highlighted the danger of underestimating this Valour team on Sunday after today’s result.

“If we expect Sunday to be as easy as tonight, we could be in for a rude awakening,” admitted Bassett. “I don’t think any of us are expecting it to be an easy game. It’s something you can’t take for granted. We’ll just focus on our performance and hopefully, the result will take care of itself.”

Despite Wednesday’s humiliating result, Valour FC head coach Phil Dos Santos still expressed confidence in his player’s abilities.

“I never doubt and question the integrity of my players. When they stepped on the field, their desire was to win the game,” Dos Santos said. “It’s not the first time (this has happened) in football, it won’t be the last. The most important thing is how the team is going to react to this defeat (on Sunday).

“In a knockout game, (if you lose) by one, by two, by three, it doesn’t really matter.” 

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