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Bahous strikes winner for PFC against former club

Pacific FC midfielder Zakaria Bahous scored a goal in first-half injury time that stood as the winner in the 1-0 Canadian Premier League victory against his former Atlético Ottawa club on Sunday.

Zakaria Bahous got the full measure of his former team on Sunday. But Manny Aparicio and Ollie Bassett were unable to do the same.

Pacific FC midfielder Bahous scored a goal on a Euro-worthy shot in first-half injury time that stood as the winner in the 1-0 Canadian Premier League victory against his former Atlético Ottawa club before 5,794 fans at TD Place Stadium in the nation’s capital.

Bahous, who played two seasons for Ottawa, made the most of the moment and joyously spread his arms towards the fans who once cheered for him and then pointed to the PFC logo on his jersey.

Atlético Ottawa was unlucky not to tie or even win the game as former PFC players Aparicio and Bassett just missed on prime chances. An Aparicio shot was cleared off the goal-line at 58 minutes by Tridents defender Cédric Toussaint. Former Northern Ireland U-19 international Bassett, the 2022 CPL MVP and 2023 Golden Boot co-winner as leading scorer, shot over the net on a penalty kick in second-half injury time after PFC was called for a hand ball in the box. Moments earlier, Sam Salter of Ottawa sent a shot off the crossbar from close in.

Atlético Ottawa, owned by Spanish La Liga giant Atlético Madrid, led the Island-based Tridents by a whopping 22-6 in shots at goal. But the PFC defence, and goalkeeper Emil Gazdov, led their nerve.

“We are frustrated and disappointed. We missed countless chances,” said Canada-capped Ottawa striker Kris Twardek.

“Anytime a team is in a low block is always challenging,” said the former Millwall player.

“Then for them to get the goal just before the half. If they were writing up the script for this game, they would have scripted it that way.”

PFC left several key ­players and usual starters at home in anticipation of Wednesday night’s Canadian Championship semifinal game at Starlight Stadium against the Vancouver Whitecaps of Major League Soccer. They included captain Josh Heard and defenders Kunle Dada-Luke and Thomas Meilleur-Giguère.

“[PFC] came to defend and have two or three chances and be ruthless in those moments and it worked,” said Ottawa head coach Carlos González, the Spaniard and former coach of the Kuwait national team.

“We were not being ruthless in our moments. You have to give credit to the defending power they have and how they do it.”

PFC moved to 5-4-4 in wins-losses-draws in league and 7-4-5 overall. CPL-leading Atletico Ottawa, who PFC beat in the Canadian Championship quarter-finals to advance to play the Whitecaps in the semifinals, went to 7-2-4 in league. The ­Tridents narrowly lead the all-time series against Ottawa 6-5-6.

Next up for PFC, at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Starlight Stadium, is its third-ever meeting in the Canadian Championship against the Whitecaps with the all-time series 1-1.

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