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Sports CF Montréal prevails 2-1 against Whitecaps in Saputo Stadium debut

02:36  17 april  2022
02:36  17 april  2022 Source:   montrealgazette.com

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CF Montréal continues to win, but the club arguably still has yet to produce a solid 90-minute effort.

Kei Kamara of CF Montréal makes a header against Vancouver Whitecaps FC in MLS play Saturday, April 16, 2022, at Saputo Stadium in Montreal. © Provided by The Gazette Kei Kamara of CF Montréal makes a header against Vancouver Whitecaps FC in MLS play Saturday, April 16, 2022, at Saputo Stadium in Montreal.

Two goals, both scored in the opening moments of each half, carried CFM to a hard-fought 2-1 victory over the Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday afternoon before 12,042 spectators in the club’s Saputo Stadium home debut.

Djordje Mihailovic opened the scoring in the second minute before Romell Quioto added an all-important insurance goal in the 47th. Brian White responded for the visitors in the 65th.

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Disaster nearly struck the home side in the final minute of second-half stoppage time. Tosiant Ricketts completed a three-way play with a header looped over the head of goalkeeper Sebastian Breza. But, following a video review, it was deemed offside by referee Nima Saghafi.

Two potential Whitecaps scores were disallowed because of offside calls.

It was the third successive victory for CF Montréal, which is undefeated in four, levelling its record at 3-3-1. The struggling Whitecaps, meanwhile, are now 1-5-1, having lost four straight on the road.

The match couldn’t have started more impressively for the home club, which has often struggled following the opening kickoff, until discovering its groove.

The Mihailovic goal — his fourth this season, tying a career high for CFM’s most valuable player in 2021 — came after only 63 seconds. It resulted following a high chip from Canadian international Alistair Johnston. Mihailovic was covered by Javain Brown, but he was guilty of poor defending.

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Mihailovic easily beat goalkeeper Thomas Hasal from just outside the six-yard box. It marked the second time this season the Whitecaps have conceded within the opening 10 minutes of a contest.

Despite the quick start, there were few scoring opportunities from either side over the opening 45 minutes.

In the 25th, Ismaël Koné sent a cross to Sunusi Ibrahim, forcing Hasal into a save.

Just short of the half-hour mark, Vancouver’s Ryan Gauld took a knock to his head and landed on his face following a collision with Johnston, whose parents, incidentally, were in attendance. Gauld was examined for a potential concussion by a sideline physician, but was allowed to continue several minutes later.

In the 33rd, Ibrahim had a chance from distance but, again, the attempt went directly at the ‘keeper.

In the 41st, Gauld fell to the pitch again following a collision. Clearly, still in distress, this time he was forced to depart for the afternoon and was replaced by Pedro Vite.

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The Whitecaps were outshot 7-1 in the half. Three of CFM’s attempts were on target.

Whatever transpired in Vancouver’s dressing room during the intermission break, it obviously didn’t work as the visitors were victimized for a second goal just following the restart.

Barely more than 90 seconds following the resumption of play, CF Montréal struck for an insurance goal. It was a pretty three-way play from Ibrahim to Mihailovic, whose short feed to Quioto was converted easily past a helpless Hasal for his third goal this season.

It was Ibrahim’s first assist in Major League Soccer competition.

The Whitecaps attempted to cut into the deficit in the 62nd when Vite fed Lucas Cavallini. His roller from the penalty spot beat Breza, but the play was called offside.

It mattered little. Three minutes later, White’s shot from Breza’s left counted, although CFM argued it was a dangerous manoeuvre by Cavallini, who attempted a bicycle kick but failed, the ball falling to the foot of the scorer.

The momentum clearly had shifted to the visitors. In the 73rd, White sent a cross to Cavallini. He attempted to find the far side of the net from a sharp angle, only to miss.

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The road weary CFM players must pack their bags again next weekend when they travel to Chester, Pa., to meet Philadelphia on Saturday afternoon.

hzurkowsky@postmedia.com

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Back home at Saputo Stadium, CF Montréal aims to take advantage .
Now that CF Montréal has emerged from the heaviest part of its schedule — having played five of six MLS matches on the road — relatively unscathed, it aims to become a dominant side at home. “The next few weeks are most definitely important … being able to make our home a fortress, and being able to take advantage of our fans and this comfortable environment,” attacking midfielder Matko Miljevic said after the club’s first practice of the year at Saputo Stadium. “That’s a must for us,” he added. “It’s crucial to win at home — and that’s what we intend to do in the new few weeks.

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