HAMILTON — Forge FC is the first club through to the semifinals of the 2021 Canadian Championship after defeating Valour FC 4-3 on Wednesday.
The hosts, who came into the game on the back of a 2-0 home defeat to York United FC in the Canadian Premier League on Saturday, bounced back at Tim Hortons Field against a valiant Winnipeg side.
Forge opened the scoring through David Choiniere in the 33rd minute before Woobens Pacius extended the lead in the 38th to send the home team to a 2-0 half-time advantage.
James Grant found Choiniere, whose right-footed effort made it past the fingertips of Matthew Silva before nestling in the back of the net.
Just five minutes later, Bobby Smyrniotis’ men produced an excellent team move to increase their lead, as captain Kyle Bekker tiptoed his way in the box before finding Pacius, who was denied once on the line by Silva but not a second time.
A dominant first half display from the hosts saw Valour FC manager Rob Gale respond with two half-time substitutions, as William Akio and Raphael Ohin came on in place of Moses Dyer and Federico Pena.
A mistake from Forge goalkeeper Triston Henry in the 60th min allowed Valour forward Austin Ricci to pounce and pull one back for the visitors.
Ricci did well to close down the Forge 'keeper, stealing the ball off Henry and placing it in the back of the net to narrow the hosts’ lead, but injured himself in the process during the coming together of two players.
The Valour FC goal-scorer was substituted immediately after, and Sean Rea came on in his place in the 64th minute.
The home side made a triple substitution in the 69th minute as Emery Welshman, Paolo Sabak and Joshua Navarro replaced Choiniere, Pacius and Tristan Borges.
The substitution marked Welshman’s much-anticipated re-debut with The Hammers, after re-signing for the club earlier in the week.
Valour FC pair Raphael Ohin and Rafael Galhardo received yellow cards in the 78th and 83rd minute, respectively, while Forge’s Paolo Sabak was booked for an offence in the 94th minute.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published September 15, 2021.
Marko Miokovic, The Canadian Press