It was a perfect night for Pacific FC on Friday (July 22) as they climbed back to the top of the Canadian Premier League with a 3-0 win over Cavalry FC in front of a jubilant home crowd at Starlight Stadium in Langford.
A first goal of the season for Marco Bustos blew the roof off at 24 minutes, with a second-half goal and penalty sealing PFC’s win in style.
Unusually for James Merriman’s men, PFC only had 41 per cent possession over the course of the game, but direct running in behind from Josh Heard and Djenairo Daniels caused plenty of problems for the visitors, with Bustos’ dribbling on the right turning defenders inside and out.
And it was PFC’s number 10 who broke the deadlock with a miraculous goal, chipping the ball into an empty net from out wide after Cavalry’s goalkeeper Julian Roloff came out of his box but fluffed his clearance. Bustos threw his shirt and was visibly emotional during his celebration, after what’s been a difficult season for him so far.
Emotions were running high on both sides at times, with tempers threatening to boil over. The last time the two teams played at Starlight, a player apiece was sent off for scrapping. But the rest of the half was uneventful, with the score remaining 1-0 at half-time.
The second half started ideally for PFC but calamitously for Cavalry, with midfielder Jose Escalante stooping to head into his own net from a cross into the box, making the score 2-0 for PFC.
Cavalry had their chances, goalkeeper Callum Irving earning the plaudits for saves first from a bouncing header and then two dangerous free-kicks close to the PFC 18 yard-box.
Diaz had a golden chance to make the score 3-0 after Daniels had run onto a long ball and squared to him, but Diaz’s low-finish was tipped away by Roloff. But the Mexican striker would redeem himself shortly when he calmly converted a penalty after Heard was brought down in the box. The goal was Diaz’s 11th of the season and sealed the win for PFC.
PFC has now won three straight games in league play, a remarkable turnaround considering their form in the previous weeks.
They are now top of the Canadian Premier League with 29 points, although that may be short-lived with the teams below them having games in hand.
Next up, the CPL reigning champions travel to Kingston in Jamaica for their first ever CONCACAF League game against Waterhouse FC on July 26.
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