RECAP: Atlético Ottawa 2-2 Halifax Wanderers FC
Canadian Premier League

Halifax Wanderers FC seemed destined to pick up their first win of the 2024 Canadian Premier League season on Sunday afternoon, but two late goals from Atlético Ottawa saw them fight back for a remarkable 2-2 draw to extend their unbeaten streak to a league-record eight matches to start the season.

After the two sides spent the first ten minutes building into the game and getting a feel for each other a bit, Halifax had a pair of opportunities to score in quick succession, but couldn’t take advantage of either one.

First, Ryan Telfer broke free from a defender on the right flank and made a run into the box, but curled his shot wide of the left post from a few yards out with only the goalkeeper to beat. Moments later, Riley Ferrazzo ran along the goalline and tried to squeeze a shot past Rayane Yesli at the near post, but the Ottawa netminder made the stop.

Those two chances for the Wanderers sparked some life into Ottawa, who immediately created an opportunity at the other end of the pitch. Kris Twardek crossed the ball into the box from the right wing, and Sam Salter met it in the box, heading it into the arms of Yann Fillion. The hosts thought might have won a penalty a few minutes later when Ballou Tabla went down in the box after some contact with Wes Timoteo, but the referee waved it away.

The Wanderers opened the scoring in the 21st minute on an excellent team goal finished off by Ferrazzo. After a couple of passes in midfield, Timoteo received the ball and charged forward with it before passing it forward to Telfer. Telfer gave it back to Timoteo with a backheeled pass before Timoteo played it laterally to Ferrazzo, who made no mistake with his shot from close range into a wide-open net.

Ryan Telfer tried to double the lead instantly, breaking through the Ottawa backline before poking a shot on target, but Yesli was able to make the save. A curling effort from Ballou Tabla nearly tied the game for Ottawa in the 29th minute, but his shot didn’t dip enough and landed on the top of the net.

Tabla had a chance to finish off a great team move from the hosts in the 44th minute after receiving a pass through the Wanderers backline from Ollie Bassett, but Zach Fernandez lunged to make a crucial block at the last second. Tabla put the ball into the back of the net moments later, finishing off another well-worked opportunity from the hosts, but the goal was called back for a marginal offside.

Despite a resurgence from Ottawa late in the half, it was the visiting Wanderers that took a 1-0 lead into halftime. Julian Dunn had the final opportunity of the half, sending the ball over the crossbar with a header from a few yards out.

Ottawa made a couple of substitutions at halftime, bringing Ruben Del Campo and Alberto Zapater off the bench, and the momentum started to shift in the home side’s favour. Del Campo, looking to break the CPL record for most consecutive matches with a goal, was especially a spark, heading a shot toward goal minutes after entering the pitch but missing the target. Tabla also nearly took advantage of a quick counter-attack early in the half, but had his effort saved by Fillion.

Del Campo attempted an audacious bicycle kick in the 73rd minute as Ottawa continued to chase an equalizer, but couldn’t make clean contact.

Another impressive counter-attack from the Wanderers resulted in a second goal in the 75th minute, this time finished off by second half substitute Tiago Coimbra. As several players charged up the pitch, Massimo Ferrin picked out Aidan Daniels with a pass to slip his teammate behind the Ottawa defence, and instead of taking the shot himself Daniels unselfishly passed the ball across the box for Coimbra to put it into the wide open goal.

Yann Fillion denied Ollie Bassett with a huge save in the 80th minute, coming out of his net bravely to make himself big and deny the reigning Golden Boot winner a goal that would have cut Ottawa’s deficit in half. Bassett did get his goal four minutes later, placing the ball into the bottom left corner with a well-taken shot to pull one back for the hosts.

Already facing a lot of pressure as Ottawa ramped up the intensity, the Wanderers faced another challenge when they went down to ten men in the 86th minute. Already booked for taking off his shirt when celebrating his goal, Coimbra received a second yellow and a sending off for time wasting, kicking the ball away after being caught offside.

The home club and its fans got a boost of energy after the red card, and even more so when the fourth official revealed there would be ten minutes of stoppage time at the end of the second half. Ottawa thought they won a penalty in stoppage time when Dani Morer went down in the box, but the referee waved away their protests again.

Just when it seemed as though Halifax were about to hang on for their first win of the season, Alberto Zapater broke their hearts with a header in the box that sailed past Fillion and into the back of the net to tie the game at 2-2 in the eleventh minute of stoppage time.

With the remarkable draw, Atlético Ottawa’s unbeaten streak to start the CPL season is extended to eight matches, while the Wanderers remain winless through seven matches.



Atlético Ottawa: Yesli; Twardek, Walker (Torres 72′), Singh, de Brienne; Tabla, Sissoko (Morer 78′), Aparicio, Antinoro (Zapater 46′); Bassett, Salter (Del Campo 46′)

Halifax Wanderers FC: Fillion; Nimick (Loughrey 63′), Dunn, Timoteo; Fernandez, Rampersad, Callegari, Ferrazzo (Daniels 63′); Probo (Gagnon-Laparé 72′), Telfer (Coimbra 63′), Ferrin (Bayiha 79′)


21′ — Riley Ferrazzo (Halifax Wanderers FC)
75′ — Tiago Coimbra (Halifax Wanderers FC)
84′ — Ollie Bassett (Atlético Ottawa)
90+11′ — Alberto Zapater (Atlético Ottawa)


14′ — Yellow: Lorenzo Callegari (Halifax Wanderers FC)
30′ — Yellow: Ballou Tabla (Atlético Ottawa)
77′ — Yellow: Tiago Coimbra (Halifax Wanderers FC)
81′ — Yellow: Yann Fillion (Halifax Wanderers FC)
86′ —  Red: Tiago Coimbra (Halifax Wanderers FC) — second yellow card
90+2′ — Yellow: Matteo de Brienne (Atlético Ottawa)
90+8′ — Yellow: Wesley Timóteo (Halifax Wanderers FC)