Calgary Foothills FC opened their 2018 Premier Development League (PDL) season with a hard fought 2-0 victory over Victoria Highlanders FC in Okotoks Friday night.
After a scoreless first half, the match came to life when Foothills FC’s Ali Mussi stepped up to convert a penalty in the 47th minute. Foothills FC goalkeeper Marco Carducci then saved a penalty, using an outstretched leg, keeping the hosts ahead in the 69th minute.
Highlanders FC had a man sent off when Gordon Hall received a second yellow card in the 79th minute. Substitute Nico Pasquotti then secured the victory for the hosts with a goal in time added on.
“It was a scrappy performance,” admitted Foothills FC head coach Tommy Wheeldon Jr. “But it’s three points, a clean sheet. A warrior’s performance. It’s a great platform to build on.”
“Sometimes you got to win pretty. Sometimes you got to win ugly. Today we won ugly.”
Wheeldon had special praise for his defensive core.
“Marco’s made a great PK save at an important time. Look at the backline – Jackson, Jay, Joel and Jordan along with Elijah just in front, they’ve just worked their socks off to keep it at zeros. I was delighted.”
Foothills FC captain Elijah Adekugbe also appreciated his club’s effort on the night.
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“I’m proud of the boys because in the end our team spirit prevailed, we got the win,” said Adekugbe after the match. “When the game gets tough you just find that extra bit of wind and I think that’s what gave us the win tonight.”
In the end, the game was determined by the two penalties – a point not lost on Adekugbe.
“We got that quality going forward so when we got (the penalty), I knew it was a goal. And, I’ve got complete faith in Marco Carducci. Great keeper, I’ve trained with him tons of times.”
“He’s saved a couple of my penalties in practice,” laughed Adekugbe. “So I’ve seen him do that before and I had full confidence in him.”
Calgary Foothills FC and Victoria Highlanders meet again in two days time and head coach Wheeldon foresees another battle.
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“It’s always chippy with them,” he said. “They were hyped up. We’ve got a target on our back and they’ve come here trying to upset us.”
Calgary Foothills FC play Victoria Highlanders FC at Foothills Composite High School in Okotoks Sunday May 13 at 2pm.
Single game and season tickets are available online or at the gate.