Leagues Cup: CF Montreal Survives Late Scare To Beat Pumas On Penalties
CF Montreal secured their first win in Leagues Cup after beating Pumas UNAM from Mexico City 4-2 on penalties after the game finished 2-2.
Bryce Duke and Mathieu Choiniere scored for Montreal, who played in front of a packed Saputo Stadium with a sell-out capacity of 19,619 fans in attendance.
There was also a big Mexican fanbase that had made the trip to support the visitors and it made for quite the atmosphere as they looked to remain unbeaten, but failed.
“I had a very good impression,” head coach Hernan Losada said in his post-match press conference. “Especially the first 60 minutes I think we played a really good brand of football.”
From the start of the match, it looked like CF Montreal was in the driver’s seat dominating in possession and chances to score.
“I thought today was exceptional, it felt like a cup match and the fans were really involved in the game with a lot of emotion so very positive from my point of view.”
The first serious opportunity of the game came in the 20th minute when off a corner from Ariel Lassiter. Mathieu Choiniere was able to head a ball on target, but was unable to beat the Mexican keeper Gil Alcala.
Three minutes later Duke opened the scoring when he was at the top of the box just inside the half circle and powered a shot into the back of the net to make it 1-0 for CF Montreal.
“It’s a cup game against a Mexican club. When you play a team from another country there is always a bit more energy and intensity and everyone saw that.”
CF Montreal doubled their lead in the 43rd minute when they were awarded another free-kick and Choiniere’s shot curled into the net. Gabrielle Corbo thought he scored, but the goal was given to Choiniere.
Losada was asked if the way the team won was a bitter pill to swallow not winning in regulation but the coach feels a win is a win.
“No, we are happy with the win and with the result – it’s up to us to play till the end and it’s unfortunatexbut we deserved to win.”
Pumas UNAM started to wake up in the second half and in the 53rd minute, it was Cesar Huerta with the team’s first shot on target and Jonathan Sirois made his first save.
With two minutes left to go in the 90, the Mexicans pulled off an impressive comeback: in the 88th minute Huerta made a sublime cross to Gabriel Fernandez, who was able to score with a scissor kick putting the ball into the back of the net.
Two minutes later Fernandez did it again when he found himself in front of the net. Two of his teammates missing he finally put the ball in sliding with it into the net.
The Leagues Cup rules state no game can end in a tie and the game went straight into penalty kicks.
Adrian Aldrate was the first shooter and missed his kick when the ball sailed high over the net, and CF Montreal’s first kicker was Rudy Camacho who had no issue scoring.
Both Choinere and Fernandez scored to make it 2-1 for CF Montreal, and both Huerta and Corbo scored to make it 3-2 but Jorge Ruvcalba’s shot was saved by Sirois and Lassi Lappalinen scored to seal the win for the home team.
Despite missing out on a point Joel Waterman says he and the team are pleased with the win.
“I thought the first half was great,” Waterman responded. “We limited their chances and they have some dangerous players and I think we had trouble getting out of our zone again and we need to improve on that and I wish we got the three points.”
Ariel Lassiter spoke about the importance of scoring goals and not giving up despite all the adversity the team faced.
“Goals change games,” Lassiter answered. “When Bryce (Duke) put that first one away it gave us more confidence throughout the first half and that pushed us through and with a team like Pumas you always have to be ready. They have good players and it’s a 90-minute match and we have to be better in controlling that but the important thing is we got the two points and we push forward.”
Finally, we got to hear from the CF Montreal keeper Jonathan Sirois, who wasn’t too busy during the game, but made a game-deciding save in the penalties.
“It was my first time doing penalties in MLS and it was a nice experience. I had great pleasure playing at home in a full stadium and you can’t ask for more.”
CF Montreal will be back in action on Wednesday night at Saputo Stadium when they will host DC United in their second and final group stage match.