Montreal advances to SCCL semifinals on away goals

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Cameron Porter scored four minutes into second-half stoppage time to boost the Impact de Montreal into the Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League (SCCL) semifinals on Tuesday before 38,104 fans at the Stade Olympique.

The forward’s dramatic strike gave the Major League Soccer (MLS) side a 1:1 draw with Pachuca, a result that saw it advance on the away-goals rule after the quarterfinal series ended level at 3-3.

Montreal, which had the worst record of all MLS clubs last season, became only the third team from the league to overcome a Mexican foe over two legs in a CONCACAF club competition, joining Sporting Kansas City (2002) and the Seattle Sounders (2013).

Pachuca looked as though it was in the driver’s seat, when German Cano converted a penalty in the 79th minute after Laurent Ciman had wrestled him down in the penalty area. On the ensuing kick from the spot, Cano powered his attempt into the right corner for a 1-0 advantage.

Montreal had other ideas as a pair of second-half substitutes combined for one of the most memorable goals in the club’s history.

Calum Mallace, who took over for midfielder Marco Donadel in the 65th minute, launched a 60-yard pass to an onrushing Porter on the left wing. Porter, an 85th minute replacement Nigel Reo-Coker, chested the ball down, ran into the penalty area, got around a defender and drilled a shot to the lower right past goalkeeper Oscar Perez.

Up until Pachuca’s goal, the game still proved to be a thrilling affair with so much at stake. Both sides pushed forward, although quality scoring opportunities were at a premium.

The Impact will face the winner of the D.C. United-Alajuelense series for a place in the final.

The semifinals are scheduled for 17-19 March (first leg) and 7-9 April (second leg).

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