HIGHLIGHTS: Cavalry beats Eddies to secure Fall title in Al Classico

It was much closer this time than in the Spring, but Cavalry FC has secured another title. Their 3-1 home win over FC Edmonton on Saturday crowned them Fall winners, as they wrapped up their regular season with a bang at ATCO Field.

The match opened with a frantic pace, as the Cavs looked to reclaim first place and the Eddies sought a first victory against their Alberta rivals. Dominique Malonga had the best chance of the first half in just the second minute, as he found himself in space in the box but rattled a low shot off the goalpost.

The Eddies’ fervent start didn’t translate into much in the way of scoring chances, as the Cavs outshot them 10-8 in the opening frame. Still, both Tomi Ameobi and Oumar Diouck were left wanting more after being stymied on good chances deep in the Cavalry end.

With the match looking like it was slated to end scoreless, and the Fall title set to go the way of Forge FC, Cavalry’s attack found a second wind. Jose Escalante stopped a Nico Pasquotti cross at the end line and laid it off for Sergio Camargo, who finished spiritedly with the outside of his foot.

Jordan Brown made it two not long after, as (almost out of nowhere) he strolled into space at the top of the box and fired it off the crossbar and down. Although the referee wasn’t initially sure it had crossed the line, his assistant confirmed it as Brown celebrated.

Jose Escalante added the dagger, slotting a penalty in the 86th minute after Mélé Temguia knocked down Nico Pasquotti at the edge of the box, but his goal will be most talked-about for his celebration. Escalante drew laughs around Spruce Meadows as he tore the corner flag out of the ground and rode it like a horse down the touchline.

FC Edmonton would have some consolation, as Easton Ongaro headed one in at the brink of the 90 minutes, but it was ultimately not to be for the Eddies against their Alberta rivals this year. Ongaro’s goal was their first against Cavalry this season.

This, the fifth installment of Al Classico in 2019, was the last in what’s been a hard-fought rivalry in both clubs’ inaugural seasons. Cavalry already clinched the Wildrose Cup with their 1-0 win earlier in September, but this victory is the icing on the cake as they finish the season with a 4-0-1 record.

Saturday’s match is the end of the road for FC Edmonton in 2019, as they finish on 18 points. Cavalry, of course, have two more to play: Finals 2019 kicks off next Saturday against Forge FC in Hamilton (3:30 p.m. ET, on OneSoccer), with the second leg a week later in Calgary (3:30 p.m. ET, on OneSoccer).

Box Score

76′ – Sergio Camargo (Cavalry FC)
80′ – Jordan Brown (Cavalry FC)
86′ – Jose Escalante (Cavalry FC)
90′ – Easton Ongaro (FC Edmonton)

47′ Yellow – Elijah Adekugbe
75′ Yellow – Tomi Ameobi
83′ Yellow – Oumar Diouck

Tickets on sale now: 2019 Canadian Premier League Finals

Three Key Performers

Jose Escalante (Cavalry FC)

Did well to track down Pasquotti’s cross for Cavalry’s first goal, as it looked like it was slated to end up out of bounds. That play led to one of Escalante’s three key passes on the night, which were crucial — as was his penalty, which resulted in perhaps the best goal celebration we’ve seen in the CPL.

Sergio Camargo (Cavalry FC)

The Colombian attacker is working his way back into form after a lengthy injury stay, and he looks raring to go ahead of Finals 2019. He made a number of sizzling runs through several lines of FCE players, taking five shots and finishing coolly for his goal, which was a major turning point.

Amer Didic (FC Edmonton)

Fresh off his stint with the Canadian men’s national team, Didic was very strong at the back for FC Edmonton for most of this match (especially in the first half). He had seven clearances and two blocks, winning 75 per cent of his duels and leading the side with 40 passes.