It was the moment Impact fans had waited on for what seemed an eternity. The return to an Impact starting line-up at Stade Saputo for their hero, Nacho Piatti.
And he didn’t disappoint. Understandably a little ring-rusty, but the same jaunty gait, the same exquisite touch, the old unpredictability and the winning goal from the penalty spot.
It’s good to have you back, Nacho!
It was a big night for Victor Cabrera too. The teak-tough Argentinian was making his 100th start in an Impact shirt, but sadly his evening ended prematurely, the centre-back being led away with just over 10 mins remaining, with a suspected broken arm.
Let’s not forget it was a big night too for York9, who gave a good account of themselves and flew the flag well for the CanPL.
Indeed it was the Nine Stripes who should really have taken the lead with only 8 mins on the clock. Murofushi found Telfer with an inviting ball forward. The Toronto FC loanee’s clever run took him in between Cabrera and the covering Krolicki. He was able to draw Pantemis making his Montreal debut, from the goal, but succeeded only in putting his finish from 20 yards, over the cross-bar.
It was a bad miss, and York9 would not get a better opportunity throughout the rest of game.
Montreal finished the half the stronger. Ingham was forced to readjust his feet quickly to deal with a ball via a deflection, which had been lobbed back into the box by Urruti, and then the Argentinian brought the best out of the York9 ‘keeper, unleashing a fierce low drive, which Ingham got a strong hand to, conceding a corner.
The interval was reached scoreless and Ingham was the first ‘keeper called into action again on the resumption of play.
Taider pushed a ball out right to Bayiha arriving in the box. The youngster was 12 yards out when he pulled the trigger, but was unable to slot beyond Ingham’s large frame.
That was on 49 mins. Three mins later, Taider himself had an opportunity after being set up by Piatti, however the only netting the Algerian could ripple from 18 yards was the side-netting.
The game’s decisive moment came on 55. The Montrealer in the York9 ranks, Diyaeddine Abzi could count himself somewhat unlucky. Piatti gathered the ball on the right and moved towards the box. He crossed, the ball hit Abzi’s outstretched arm as he attempted to pull it away. But these days such a scenario seems always to be interpreted as handball and a penalty.
The Impact players claimed for the offence in unison, York9 didn’t contest the decision with any great dissension and Piatti slotted coolly to the right, as Ingham went the opposite way.
The goal somewhat killed the game. Montreal enjoying the greater percentage of possession, still lacked cohesion in an attacking sense, although Urruti did manage to test Ingham with a 22-yard drive after being set-up by Choiniere, and Taider’s long range effort rapped the bar from similar distance with 3 minutes left.
In between York9 substitute, Ricci managed to manoeuvre a shooting opportunity which Pantemis gratefully gathered at the second attempt.
Apart from that, all of note was contained in a tete-a-tete between the opposing number 8’s, with Taider and Di Chiara having their names taken, and the injury to Cabrera.
The Argentinian had jumped highest to effectively make a clearance, but the presence of Telfer unbalanced him after impact, causing an awkward fall. It was clear something wasn’t quite right from his and the other players’ reactions. Cabrera left the field along with medical staff, with his arm supported.
Post-match, Remi Garde acknowledged that his team couldn’t manage a goal from open play and had this to say ...
“It’s the first step back to what we know we can do. We could have been smarter in the second-half. Should have scored two or three goals. I mean we had a situation where we executed too quickly. We had time to decide to make another pass or slow down sometimes.
“And I think we should remember we had young players on the field; I speak of James, Mathieu, Clement and Ken. These are all young players. Everybody has to be aware you know, that it takes time.
“Players that were playing u19 football six months ago. We cannot compete like being the top team in the league. But overall today the improvement in the team spirit and the way we played was interesting. It is not enough, but it’s back on the right track.”
IMFC - Pantemis - Sagna, Camacho, Cabrera (Raitala, 81), Lovitz - Krolicki, Taider, Choiniere - Bayiha (Okwonkwo, 72), Urruti, Piatti (Shome, 65)
York9 - Ingham - Doner, Gasparotto, Thompson, Abzi - Di Chiara, Murofushi (Ricci, 61) - Porter (Estevez, 77), Aparicio (c), Telfer - Adjei Karlsson (Gattis, 60)
Match Officials -
Referee: David Barrie
Asst Refs: Oscar Mitchell-Carvalho, Peter Pendli
4th Official - Matt Soare
Attendance - 14,743