Sunisi Ibrahim sends CF Montreal to the semi-finals of the Canadian Championship

A hat-trick from Sunusi Ibrahim allowed CF Montreal to win 3-0 against their Canadian Premier League opponents on Wednesday at Saputo Stadium and advance to the semi-finals of the Canadian Championship where Toronto awaits FC, in the Queen City, in the week of June 20. The draw also ensures that the winner of the other semi-final will host the final match of the competition.

If last year’s semi-final between the teams of Montreal and Hamilton was so close that it was goalkeeper Sebastian Breza who scored the winner in the penalty shootout, the club of the MLS has, this time, clearly asserted the superiority which it should enjoy, in theory, over its vis-à-vis the Canadian Premier League, which has nevertheless made it to the three finals in the history of this circuit, with two championships to the key.

Despite several changes made to the squad, which lost 2-1 at home to Real Salt Lake last Sunday, the Montrealers played from the kickoff with remarkable cohesion.

From the second minute, Ibrahim was launched by Mathieu Choinière – who finally faced his brother David, No. 7 of Forge FC and former Impact – in a one-on-one against goalkeeper Triston Henry, victorious on this attempt. The scenario was about to repeat itself, with another outcome.

After several ball recoveries in the offensive third by dint of pressing the opponent, the Montrealers chose to reward themselves with patience at the quarter-hour mark.

Central back Joel Waterman, deployed in the middle of a three-man defence, showed disarming patience with the ball at his feet before eliminating five opponents with a single pass towards v. The Argentinian immediately turned to slip the ball into the back of the defense for Ibrahim, who opened the scoring in another one-on-one.

Seven minutes later, Miljevic prepared the second goal of his. A nice exchange at the edge of the penalty area with Kei Kamara, and the Sierra Leonean was launched in front of Henry. Kamara had the chance to shoot, but out of the corner of his eye he caught sight of Ibrahim, lonely at the far post, and simply crossed towards him to double the Montreal lead in an empty net.

The visitors, if they hoped to score quickly on the return from the break to revive, rather gave in again. Ibrahim, again, was the target during a free kick from Miljevic. Even if CF Montreal generously places the head of its striker at around 1.6 m from the ground in its statistical data, it is with his skull that Ibrahim redirected the ball into the back of the net.

The withdrawal of Ibrahim and Choinière on the hour mark gave Wilfried Nancy the opportunity to give young hopefuls some more playing time.

To Robert Thorkelsson, Gabriele Corbo and other Miljevic were added Rida Zouhir and Jojea Kwizera, whose enthusiasm was only tempered by the sprinklers which mysteriously activated in the opposing half shortly before the last quarter of an hour of play – and by a heavy strike from David Choinière that goalkeeper James Pantemis somehow diverted into a corner kick.

After this detour on the road to an 11th Coupe des Voyageurs, CF Montreal will return to MLS this Saturday with the visit of FC Cincinnati, a match that could result in fireworks since 16 goals have been scored in the last 3 meetings between the two teams – and one of those ended 0-0.

Forge FC, meanwhile, travel to Edmonton on Tuesday, May 31 for their seventh game of the season in the Canadian Premier League.

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