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Pacific FC blows lead but responds to beat Valour FC

PFC wins 3-2 in Winnipeg
Pacific FC defender Kunle Dada-Luke fends off a check from Valour FV striker Diogo Ressurreicao during CPL action in Winnipeg on Friday night. CPL PHOTOS

Pacific FC survived a Canadian Premier League game of soccer swings Friday night in Winnipeg, blowing a 2-0 lead before prevailing 3-2 over Valour FC at Princess Auto Stadium.

“We should have put the game away in the first half but we let them back in,” said PFC midfielder Sean Young.

“But it’s three points on the road. Our response was great and we found a way to get the win.”

With top-two goalkeepers Emil Gazdov, out with illness, and Sean Melvin, out with injury, PFC had to rely on third-string ’keeper Daniel Zadravec, who held his own.

“Daniel was great and he deserved the win,” said Young.

PFC head coach James Merriman said he didn’t sense a trace of nervousness in the reserve ’keeper.

“Daniel trains in our environment on a regular basis. When you work hard and your opportunity comes, you will be ready.”

Zadravec was just that.

Merriman was more concerned about other aspects of the Tridents’ victory, especially his belief that PFC should have killed the game much earlier with the lead: “We deserved the three points. But we miss that ruthless decisiveness and let them back in the game. It’s frustrating letting teams back in games.”

Young scored on a penalty at 19 minutes and Romanian import Andrei Tircoveanu at 33 minutes to stake the Tridents to the two-goal lead. Shaan Hundal, in the injury time in the first half, and Jordan Swibel at 63 minutes levelled matters for the hosts. The game was decided by a Hundal own goal at 75 minutes.

PFC moved to 4-2-4 in wins-losses-draw in league play while Valour FC — which had to play its first seven games of the season on the road due to new turf being installed for Valour and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the CFL at Princess Auto Stadium — dropped to 2-7-1.

From the Island to the prairies, PFC continued its uncanny Canadian Premier League mastery of Valour FC. PFC extended its all-time series record against Valour FC to 16-2-3, its best overall record against any team in the six-year history of the CPL.

“Every game is a new match and we focus on every game,” said Merriman.

“You can’t read anything into the past. It means nothing.”

The Tridents continue on the road in Toronto against York United on Wednesday before hosting Vancouver FC in the cross-strait derby June 27 at Starlight Stadium.