Atlético Ottawa have claimed the first three points of the 2021 CPL season, knocking off FC Edmonton by a 1-0 scoreline on Saturday to open up The Kickoff at Winnipeg's IG Field. A late Viti Martínez goal was all Mista's side needed to begin their second-ever campaign with a win. The first starting 11 of Alan Koch's career as FC Edmonton manager was an interesting one, with Fraser Aird dropping to right-back and Jeannot Esua pushing forward to the wing, but talisman striker Easton Ongaro -- still recovering from a wrist injury -- surprisingly didn't start, with Tobias Warschewski and CPL-U SPORTS Draft pick Thomas Gardner getting the nod up front. Meanwhile, Mista named a formidable lineup of his own, with six newcomers, including Ryan Telfer and Rafael Núñez as wingers and Chris Mannella as the midfield catalyst. The Eddies appeared to have opened the scoring around the 25-minute mark, when a rocket of a low shot by Warschewski found its way into the net after a blocked free kick, but Shamit Shome's placement a hair offside in the box drew a flag from the assistant referee. The first half ultimately played out quite evenly, with Ottawa settling into their shape as time wore on and growing into the game. Telfer came alive toward the final 15 minutes of the opening frame, cutting inside with the ball a few times as an inverted winger, but neither he nor striker Malcolm Shaw was quite able to challenge FCE keeper Connor James before halftime. Both clubs emerged from the interval quite lively, with scoring chances exchanged at both ends in the first few minutes -- the most dangerous of which saw James caught well outside his box, but Shaw wasn't quite able to find a shooting angle to put it in the net. It was the Eddies who blinked first in choosing to change things up, with Koch choosing to make a pair of attacking substitutions in the 63rd minute -- bringing on both Ongaro and Beto Avila. The move nearly worked out immediately, with Avila finding Ongaro with a goalmouth cross just a minute later, but keeper Dylon Powley (himself a former Eddie) made a phenomenal point-blank save off Ongaro's left-footed attempt. Some aggressive subs from Ottawa -- Shawn Lawson, Keesean Ferdinand, Zach Verhoven, and Brian Wright all checked in within five minutes of each other -- injected a little more energy to a side that had been pinned back for a stretch. At last, Atlético Ottawa found their breakthrough: in the 82nd minute, after a few waves of pressure toward the Edmonton end, a Rafael Núñez corner kick found its way into the box. It bounced to the top of the penalty area after a blocked shot, and Viti Martínez hit it perfectly on the half-volley to stun James and break the deadlock. Despite a handful of late substitutions to try and find an equalizer, Edmonton wasn't quite able to solve the resolute Ottawa defence. A few late set-pieces near the Atlético box gave Koch's side some chances, but it was Ottawa who emerged from the game with all the spoils.


Goals 82' – Viti Martínez (Atlético Ottawa) Discipline 28’ – Yellow: Ramón Soria (FC Edmonton) 67’ – Yellow: Amer Didic (FC Edmonton) 71’ – Yellow: Jeannot Esua (FC Edmonton) 78’ – Yellow: Shawn Lawson (Atlético Ottawa)

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