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HFX Wanderers and FC Edmonton booked the final two spots in eCPL’s Home To Play championship on Friday. They join this week’s tournament winner Atlético Ottawa and Week 2 winners Forge FC in the four-team EA Sports FIFA 20 tournament finals set for April 24.
Week 1 winners Atlético Ottawa went two-for-three in the weekly eCPL tournaments as Malyk Hamilton and FIFA pro Fist_Agitpower bypassed HFX Wanderers opposites Pedram Malakiam and Christian Oxner in Friday’s dead-rubber final. As such, Atlético certainly will be considered favourites entering the championship.
Oxner, quite aptly, clinched HFX’s spot with two clean-sheet performances against Valour FC (Dylan Carriero) and Pacific FC (Marco Bustos).
The Eddies, who feature midfielder Erik Zetterberg, confirmed their spot earlier on Friday, grabbing the “wildcard” berth with the fourth-best record (4-3) over the past three weeks.
Here’s how Week 3, the final eCPL qualifying weekend, played out.
Game 1: Pacific FC vs. York9 FC
Leg 1 – Pacific FC (Marco Bustos) 0-3 York9 FC (Max Ferrari)
An all-France affair kicked-off this do-or-die tie with Max Ferrari giving York9 a comfortable start. Three hero-saves from Hugo Lloris kept Bustos in the match until Ferrari smashed home a second-half dagger via Ousmane Dembele.
Leg 2 – Pacific FC (Skills Shack) 4-0 York9 FC (@feroze17)
Skills Shack would go on to rescue Bustos, but would need extra time to do so. Two first-half markers put PFC back in contention. Skills Shack equalized late on and went into extra time in complete control, eventually scoring a winner and eliminating York9 from eCPL finals contention.
Final: Pacific FC 4-3 York9 FC (a.e.t.)
Game 2: HFX Wanderers FC vs. Valour FC
Leg 1 – HFX Wanderers FC (Pedram Malakiam/WeirdGuyFromWork) 2-4 Valour FC (@Doxy6ix)
Valour FC got off to a good start, putting a big scare into the heavily-favourite Wanderers pairing. Doxy6ix used his Ultimate Team to perfection, grabbing a few well-worked goals before being gifted a penalty and resulting in insurance marker late in the game.
Leg 2 – HFX Wanderers FC (Christian Oxner) 3-0 Valour FC (Dylan Carreiro)
Playing as France, the Wanderers goalkeeper pinned Valour’s Dylan Carreiro back for much of the match. A goal down in the 86th minute, Oxner finally drew level on aggregate off a rebound, sending the tie to extra-time. In an eerily similar ending to Game 1, Oxner grabbed his extra frame winner and eliminated Valour from the tournament.
With the loss, Valour FC ended the Home To Play competition with a record of 1-3.
Final: HFX Wanderers FC 5-4 Valour FC (a.e.t.)
Game 3: Cavalry FC vs. Forge FC
Leg 1 – Cavalry FC (Niko Giantsopoulos) vs. Forge FC (Kwame Awuah) (not streamed)
Leg 2 – Cavalry FC (@stopde_official) vs. Forge FC (Nawid Noorzai/GoalMachineFIFA) (not streamed)
Niko Giantsopoulos and Cavalry FC made an unceremonious exit from the Home To Play tournament after dropping their matchup versus Week 2 champions Forge FC.
Final: Forge FC advances
Game 4: Atlético Ottawa vs. FC Edmonton
Leg 1 – Atlético Ottawa (Malyk Hamilton) vs. FC Edmonton (Erik Zetterberg) (not streamed)
Leg 2 – Atlético Ottawa (@Fist_Agitpower) vs. FC Edmonton (@SibWolf__) (not streamed)
FC Edmonton dropped out early, but not all was lost. After making the finals last week, the Eddies side couldn’t get past championship-bound Ottawa in a rematch of their Week 2 semifinal.
Still, with a 4-3 record, Erik Zetterberg and FC Edmonton advanced to next Friday’s eCPL Home To Play Finals.
Final: Atlético Ottawa advances
Semifinal 1: HFX Wanderers FC vs. Pacific FC
Leg 1 – HFX Wanderers FC (Christian Oxner) 7-0 Pacific FC (Marco Bustos)
Playing back-to-back matches, Christian Oxner continued his explosive run in this all-France affair, putting the Wanderers one foot closer to a second eCPL final in as many weeks and all-but eliminating PFC.
“I don’t think I’ve ever lost by that many before,” Bustos joked.
Leg 2 –HFX Wanderers FC (Pedram Malakiam/WeirdGuyFromWork) 5-0 Pacific FC (Erfan Hosseini/Skills_Shack)
Could Skills Shake pull off another upset? After overcoming a three-goal deficit in round one, he went to work on a tough Pedram Malakiam side but came up short. Pacific FC ended their competition with a record of 2-3.
Final: HFX Wanderers FC 9-0 Pacific FC
Semifinal 2: Forge FC vs. Pacific FC
Leg 1 – Forge FC (Nawid Noorzai/GoalMachineFIFA) 0-1 Atlético Ottawa (@Fist_Agitpower)
Fist_Agitpower’s drag-back opener with Johan Cruyff was all that separated the pros preparing to face off again next week for the championship.
Leg 2 – Forge FC (Kwame Awuah) 0-4 Atlético Ottawa (Malyk Hamilton)
Malyk Hamilton and his trusty France side got things going early in the 21st-minute with back-to-back goals from Kylian Mbappé and Blaise Matuidi. Kwame Awuah’s Dutch team had loads of one-on-one chances but couldn’t convert.
Up 5-0 on aggregate, Hamilton held on to make his second of three eCPL finals.
Final: Forge FC 0-5 Atlético Ottawa
Final: HFX Wanderers FC vs. Atlético Ottawa
Leg 1 – HFX Wanderers FC (Pedram Malakiam/WeirdGuyFromWork) 0-1 Atlético Ottawa (@Fist_Agitpower)
A slick drag-back, left-footed effort from Fist_Agitpower’s Neymar kicked off this FIFA pro half of the final off in style. Evenly matched, both pros stayed patient. Fist_Agitpower would work in a few chances, but nothing as clear as his early opener.
With a red-hot Oxner waiting in the wings, Wanderers’ pro Pedram Malakiam dropped deeper and deeper, reverting to a defensive set-up. That holding stance would remain for the remainder of Leg 1, setting up a tight finale.
Leg 2 – HFX Wanderers FC (Christian Oxner) 1-4 Atlético Ottawa (GoalMachineFIFA)
Oxner selected the Canadian men’s national team in the deciding game – an intentional mismatch with Malyk Hamilton’s France.
Hamilton jumped out to a quick lead with the French and their overpowered attack. Down 3-0 after 30 minutes, Oxner got one back via Vancouver Whitecaps forward Lucas Cavallini.
Ottawa cruised to victory from there. Oxner, meanwhile, at least kept some secrecy around his championship weekend game plan.
“Just tried to have some fun,” Oxner joked after the match. “I didn’t think Malyk would style on me, man.”
Final: HFX Wanderers 1-5 Atlético Ottawa
For more information on the eCPL Home to Play tournament, visit ecpl.gg.