Montreal advances to first-ever SCCL final

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Photo: CONCACAF

Jack McInerney and Andres Romero scored to help the Impact de Montreal advance to its first-ever Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League final on away goals despite a 4-2 loss at Alajuelense in Tuesday’s semifinal second leg.

Pablo Gabas scored twice, while Allen Guevara and Jonathan McDonald added late goals for the host, which nearly overturned its 2-0 first-leg deficit.

Montreal becomes the first Canadian side and the second from Major League Soccer to reach the final, and will face either Herediano or Club America in the two-leg final later this month.

Herediano holds a 3-0 advantage heading into those sides’ semifinal second leg in Mexico City on Wednesday.

Romero’s goal gave the Impact just enough breathing room after Gabas had scored twice in 13 minutes early in the second half to give Alajuelense a 2-1 lead in the match.

Dominic Oduro and Patrice Bernier combined to find Romero on the left side of the penalty area. The Argentinean then cut back around a defender and goalkeeper Dexter Lewis before finishing past another defender to level in the 72nd minute.

Guevara put the Manudos ahead again 3-2 in the 79th minute after a side-footed finish off Armando Alonso’s cross.

McDonald then drove his sixth all-time SCCL goal — a 23-yard effort — beyond Evan Bush in the third minute of stoppage time, but referee Joel Aguilar blew the final whistle only moments later.

McInerney’s second goal of the competition gave Montreal the lead in the 42nd minute. Oduro combined with Ignacio Piatti to get free on the right and then delivered a low cross into McInerney, who hit a firm first-time finish beyond Lewis.

Gabas responded with his third and fourth all-time SCCL goals on a pair of set pieces.

In the 47th minute, he blasted a 19-yard free kick beyond Bush’s dive and into the top left corner. Then he lifted Alajuelense into the lead in the 60th, when he reached out to redirect a corner kick off the underside of the crossbar before striking the ground a foot or two over the goal line.

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