Color us impressed with the heavy-underdog Montreal Impact, even if their minds were elsewhere after a 1-1 draw versus Club America could’ve been an even better result.
The sports books listed Club America favorite by as many as two goals for the first leg of the CONCACAF Champions League final on Wednesday. After all, this was Montreal’s first dance in the CCL against a five-time champion playing at Estadio Azteca.
[ MATCH RECAP: Club America 1-1 Montreal ]
Frank Klopas’ crew walked out of Mexico on level terms. Better actually, scoring an Ignacio Piatti road goal and leading for 74 minutes of the match before Oribe Peralta netted an 89th minute equalizer.
Stars do that, and Club America has plenty, but the Impact showed they have the team ingredients to shock CONCACAF.
It should’ve gone even better for Klopas’ crew, as this was only whistled as a yellow card. If it isn’t denying a clear goal-scoring opportunity, we’re not sure what is, and it’s a shady call even considering the intimidated decisions that generally happen in Azteca.
Would it surprise you to hear that Klopas was pretty ticked off about the non-red? From Goal.com:
“For me, it was incredible that again, in a game like this in a final, instead of the players having to dictate the game and the fans enjoying the game, we have to talk about the referees,” Klopas told reporters. “We’re in the 44th minute, clearly a breakaway that’s not called for a red card.
“I don’t know how it’s a yellow card when we have a player going one on one in on goal and he gets taken from behind. For me, I just want the refs to call a fair game and let the game be decided on the field by the players. That’s all we ask for.”
Still, Montreal is happy with the effort and the opportunity to make history next Wednesday in front of a sold-out home crowd.
Then again, Club America can walk away from the game knowing its shooting was a bit off and a cranky crossbar denied another goal. Plus, Peralta’s late equalizer was a nice consolation for the drawing home side. From the Associated Press:
“Despite not getting a win, the tie gives me good vibrations because it’s hard to generate football and we had like 12 or 13 scoring chances today,” America coach Gustavo Matosas said. “Fortunately, for us Oribe came through for us. Montreal is a good team, that’s why they are at the final, but I’m confident that we can get a win at their place.”