Final Score: Atlético Ottawa 2-2 HFX Wanderers Goalscorers: Wright 39', Shaw 75' (pen); Morelli 3' (pen), 51' Game of the 2021 season: 55 CPL match: 190
RELATED READING: RECAP: HFX, Atlético Ottawa play out entertaining 2-2 draw || Sights & Sounds: Atlético Ottawa 2-2 HFX Wanderers
Match in a minute or lessAtlético Ottawa clawed back to snatch a point at home against HFX Wanderers FC Sunday, taking a 2-2 draw in the process. Mista’s side, who gave up their league-leading eighth penalty in the opening minutes, saw star winger Ryan Telfer sent off just before half. Wanderers attacker Joao Morelli looked to have sunk Ottleti with a brace, taking sole lead of CanPL’s golden boot race with his seventh and eighth goals on the season, but a second-half penalty from Malcolm Shaw ensured split points in an entertaining bottom-of-the-table CanPL clash.
Three ObservationsRyan Telfer ejected, could face a lengthy suspension Atlético Ottawa winger Ryan Telfer was sent off just before halftime after a crunching tackle on Morelli and ensuing shoving match between teams. The heated moment clearly got the best of both teams but especially Telfer, who was shown making an offensive gesture while departing the pitch. An extended suspension is expected for the Trinidad and Tobago attacker as word from Canada Soccer’s disciplinary board awaits. Ottawa, despite all odds, battles back: 'Lucky to have players who gave everything' Ottawa coughed up the team’s eighth conceded penalty this CanPL season – four times more than second-highest teams – and had lost Telfer by halftime. Considering their bottom-of-the-table status, it looked as if Mista’s team would crumble in the frame. Instead, they found an equalizer and worked well down a man, showing resilience in bundles. Ottawa was also down several starters, with Mista revealing post-match team medical officials ruled out the likes of Dylon Powley, Milovan Kapor, and several players due to fitness concerns. "At halftime [after Telfer’s sending off] I said to the players we have two ways to go, either fighting or going on and doing exactly the same'," Mista recalled after the match. "Because we are Atlético Ottawa. It doesn’t matter if you lose or win – it’s your attitude. I’m lucky to have players who gave everything like they did today." Golden boot leader Morelli bucks Wanderers goalscoring trend Halifax’s three-match Ontario road trip came to an end Sunday with a third draw and, objectively, the third match left with dropped points. Coach Stephen Hart was quick to highlight the team’s lack of finishing in the final third yet again but in the face of Joao Morelli, whose match brace put him top of the goal-scoring race in CanPL on eight goals. As our own Kristian Jack has pointed out, Morelli’s touch and attacking nuisance has set him apart from other attackers in the league this season and, in turn, separates himself from his snakebitten teammates. "The bottom line is is we had the chances to go up on two or three chances," Hart said. "Joao has been fairly consistent with the goalscoring when he plays and when we're grateful for that."
CanPL.ca Player of the MatchJoao Morelli, HFX Wanderers FC CanPL’s current leading goalscorer was much more than a penalty scorer. Lovely touch-and-moves littered the Brazilian’s 90-minute performance and his second-half goal was one of the best finishes of the season. It doesn’t help Morelli eventually led to Telfer’s sending off, too, shifting the match in Halifax's favour.
What’s next?HFX Wanderers FC sees their all-Ontario road trip come to a close as they return home to Nova Scotia to face Forge FC on Friday (5pm ET/6pm AT). Ottawa, meanwhile, faces a quick turnaround as they host York United on Wednesday (7pm ET). Watch all matches live on OneSoccer.