HFX Wanderers claimed the first leg of their Canadian Championship second round tie with Valour FC 2-1 on Wednesday off of a back-to-back two-goal stretch in the first half.
Those two markers from Tomasz Skublak and Mohamed Kourouma was all the home side needed to go up in the tie set to head to Winnipeg next week.
Valour’s possession style wasn’t enough to break down the Wanderers, with the home side outshooting Valour 16-8.
Their possession was rewarded in the 33rd minute after Dylan Sacramento smartly reeled in a low cross from Michael Petrasso. Roaming around an HFX defender at the top of the box, Sacramento fed the ball to Marco Bustos. A deflection off a snapped shot rolled the other way on Christan Oxner, giving the visitors the lead.
The Wanderers responded in short order. In the 39th minute, an HFX corner found Thomaz Skublak, just past an outreaching Mathias Janssens. His header bounced off the post and in, as Louis Beland-Goyette was not quick enough to clear the ball off the line.
Skublak was back to put the Wanderers ahead just three minutes later, when a lovely volley chip pass found a breaking Mohamed Kourouma. The winger smashed home a second for the Wanderers, which turned out to be the final goal of the game.
The return leg will take place a week from now, on Wednesday, at IG Field in Winnipeg (8:30 p.m. ET, 7:30 p.m. CT/OneSoccer).
33′ – Marco Bustos (Valour FC)
39′ – Tomasz Skublak (HFX Wanderers FC)
41′ – Mohamed Kourouma (HFX Wanderers FC)
26′ Yellow Card – Andre Rampersad (HFX Wanderers FC)
41′ Yellow Card – Nicolás Galvis (Valour FC)
50′ Yellow Card – Thomaz Skublak (HFX Wanderers FC)
71′ Yellow Card – Andre Bona (HFX Wanderers FC)
72′ Yellow Card – Marco Bustos (Valour FC)
Three key performers
Thomaz Skublak (HFX Wanderers FC)
What a performance from HFX’s young striker. A goal, an assist and countless scoring opportunities, Skublak was nearly spotless through 90 minutes. He pressed well, too, putting Valour centrebacks under pressure in their possession-based, play-it-from-the-back style.
Elliot Simmons (HFX Wanderers FC)
Simmons had his work cut out dealing with Valour’s stable of attacking midfielders, but he looked strong as a defensive midfield anchor. He got an assist off of the first goal, with a tricky corner delivery that went just over Jansesns, something he did in the second half to great effect, too.
Dylan Sacramento (Valour FC)
A bright spot for Valour up top, Sacramento’s speed, quick touches and passes were proving dangerous to HFX’s bulky defenders, with his work leading to his side’s only goal. He nearly scored, too, via a checky attempt on Oxner in the first half.