Pacific eager to get back at it after frustrating Atlético loss: ‘We will definitely respond’

How many times now have we seen teams concede late at The Island Games, especially after playing most of the 90 minutes on the front foot?

It was Pacific FC on the wrong end of that on Wednesday, when they fell 1-0 to Atlético Ottawa’s 90th-minute goal after out-shooting, out-possessing, and out-duelling their opponents throughout.

“They came in, they made it difficult for us by playing a low block, and we couldn’t get through in the first half,” said PFC coach Pa-Modou Kah, who added that his side just didn’t quite move the ball fast enough to break apart the Ottawa defence.

“Every time you lose you learn. Today we learned how we need to deal with it when teams are sitting in a low block, how we have to move the ball around to break them down, because they know how dangerous we are by shifting the ball from side to side. We were very slow coming out of the blocks.”

Entering the game with two straight wins, Pacific’s confidence was high at the start of the night. Still, with all the buzz surrounding them, it was important for them not to overlook Atlético Ottawa. The PFC boss was quick to tip his cap to Mista’s side, though, for standing tall against Pacific’s talented attack.

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“I’d like to call it a trap game, because you’re winning two games in a row, people expect you to win this game because it’s Atlético,” Kah said. “But they’re very well-coached and you can see that it’s not a fluke.”

It was a frustrating night for Pacific, who turned 61 per cent possession into 17 shots, none of which found the back of the net. Marco Bustos alone took five shots and six crosses, doing his utmost to try and find the breakthrough.

It was not to be, though. Instead, the club must quickly turn its attention to a must-win date with FC Edmonton on Sunday, which will decide their fate (assuming it hasn’t been decided for them by the prior results this weekend).

“Every game in this setting has been a bit of a cup final, and on Sunday it’s no different,” PFC goalkeeper Callum Irving said. “We have to fight for our lives and three points is the only option for us.”

That said, Kah was quick as ever to put things into perspective. When this reporter referred to Sunday’s contest as “do-or-die” for Pacific, he rebuked the phrasing before offering his thoughts on how the club will be approaching their must-win final match.

“There’s no do-or-die, because it’s not about life,” Kah said. “Do-or-die is for the people that are suffering and getting killed by police, and all of this other stuff.

“We’re playing a game of football, and that’s the thing: you get a second chance, which you don’t get in life. So we need to take our second chance that we get on Sunday. It’s still in our hands, and we’re still in there.”

He later continued: “The boys know it. And I know the boys are very disappointed because they wanted to win this game, but it’s another lesson for us to take, and we will definitely respond on Sunday.”

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