WINNIPEG — A late 82nd-minute strike by Victor Martinez gave Atletico Ottawa a 1-0 victory over FC Edmonton in the first game of the Canadian Premier League season Saturday afternoon in the bubble in Winnipeg.
Martinez curled a left-footed shot from the edge of the penalty area past goalkeeper Connor James, who was well off his line, for the first goal of the new CPL campaign.
The play started with a dangerous cross into the box by Ottawa, followed by a failed clearance that fell right to Martinez.
It was a tough break for FC Edmonton, which had a few chances to break the scoreless deadlock earlier in the encounter.
Edmonton substitute Easton Ongaro, unmarked in the box, nearly scored in the 64th minute but his left-footed shot from five yards out was stopped on the goal line by ‘keeper Dylon Powley. It was Edmonton’s only shot on target in the match.
It looked like Edmonton went ahead 1-0 in the 24th minute when Tobias Warschewski’s second effort on a free kick – after his first shot hit the wall – found the back of the net, but the play was called back for offside.
All eight CPL teams are playing at Winnipeg’s IG Field for the fist part of the season – a 29-day single-city stretch being dubbed "The Kickoff."
IG Field is home to Valour FC and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the Canadian Football League.
The Manitoba capital will host the first 32 games of the campaign with each of the eight teams playing eight games in a stretch that will run through July 24. The league is planning to return to home markets afterwards.
Later Saturday, Pacific FC scored two first-half goals and held on to defeat HFX Wanderers FC 2-0.
Marco Bustos scored in the 17th minute and Oliver Bassett doubled the lead in the 37th to give Pacific FC all three points in their first game of the season.
Pacific FC saw more of the ball and outshot the Wanderers 9-5.
On Sunday, Forge FC plays Valour FC and Cavalry FC tackles York United FC.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 26, 2021.