Montreal extends Toronto’s MLS misery with 1-0 win

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Romell Quioto scored the only goal in front of a sold-out crowd.

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Derbies always bring out the best in football. From roaring fans to intensity on the pitch, both teams are looking for the ultimate bragging rights, regardless of form.

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That’s how a struggling Toronto FC overcame rivals CF Montreal in the semi-finals of the Canadian Championship last month, claiming a 4-0 victory at home.

However, Montreal got its revenge in Major League Soccer on Saturday night with a solid 1-0 win at Stade Saputo.

An own goal from Lukas MacNaughton lifted Montreal (10-8-2) past their rivals, extending Toronto’s (5-12-4) MLS winless streak to five games.

“It’s a good way to bounce back from two losses, especially the ones we didn’t really deserve,” said Montreal head coach Wilfried Nancy. “We controlled the counter-attack better this time and it gave us more control over the ball, which we did all game.”

Montreal started the game on the right foot, buoyed by a sold-out crowd – Stade Saputo’s first since before the pandemic – as they created chances early.

“If we had crowds like this every week, we would feel so much better at home. It really helps so a big thank you to the fans for tonight,” said defenseman Rudy Camacho. “I’m not going to lie, when you see 13,000 fans there, it hurts a little bit.”

Just five minutes later, Romell Quioto played a low cross to Kei Kamara, forcing an incredible save from TFC goalkeeper Alex Bono, who deflected the ball off the crossbar.

As Toronto settled into a low defensive block, Montreal continued to push forward, seeking the opener with other excellent chances from Matko Miljevic and Samuel Piette, to no avail.

The second half was much the same, with Toronto coming out in their same defensive formation and doing their best to fight back on the counterattack.

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However, the seat would eventually break when a perfect ball from Alistair Johnston found Quioto’s header at the back post in the 69th minute, deflecting MacNaughton and giving the hosts the lead.

“I still think I got that goal because the defender just deflected it, so it’s still mine in my heart,” Quioto joked. “We knew it was going to be a very different game (from Toronto), so it’s good to get the result we wanted.”

Toronto thought they had found the equalizer thanks to Ayo Akinola playing alone, but the celebrations were cut short when he was flagged offside.

The visitors didn’t do much in the final 20 minutes to trouble the Montreal backline, who finished the game rather easily and sealed their first clean sheet at home this season.

The match also saw the return to action of Djordje Mihailovic who missed more than a month with an ankle injury. The MVP candidate entered the game just before the hour mark.

“It’s been a long time for him with such a long recovery, but he did what he does best,” Nancy said. “He helped the team score and it was good for him to come back and have that feeling of a playing environment.”

Both teams are back in action on July 23. Montreal travels to Washington to take on DC United, while TFC hosts Charlotte FC at BMO Field. The Canadian Championship final between Toronto and the Whitecaps will take place on July 26 in Vancouver.

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