Substitute Ahmed Hamdi was the hero of the home side, scoring two late goals to seal Montreal’s victory in a big comeback north of the border.
The Montrealers were finally back at Stade Saputo, in front of their own supporters, after a streak of 28 consecutive games on the road. Boosted by its first home game in 2021, Montreal put pressure on its visitors from kick-off. Joaquin Torres, who was making his first start with the club, beat Kenneth Vermeer with a long shot but hit the crossbar just two minutes into the game.
Cincinnati was also ahead to throw a cold shower on Montreal. Victor Wanyama was easily dispossessed of his own defensive third by Brenner, who then left it to Luciano Acosta. The Argentine sent the ball to Haris Medunjanin just above the box who sent a low shot to the far post to break the ice.
Cincinnati took a two-goal advantage with just 14 minutes on the clock due to a costly defensive error by Montreal. Zorhan Bassong returned the ball to James Pantemis but the keeper struggled to get the ball to his feet. Brenner sprinted over the Canadiens, stole the ball and scored one of the easiest goals of his young career.
Montreal reduced its deficit to one just seven minutes later. Wanyama was forgiven for the game’s opening goal by sending a deep pass to the left flank for Lassi Lappalainen. The Finland international found Mason Toye with a cross and the New Jersey native became the first CF Montreal player to score at Stade Saputo in 2021.
The hosts didn’t stop there and took the game to 2-2 after 34 minutes as Joaquin Torres was witty enough to jump on a rebound from Vermeer’s hands and find the equalizer for Montreal.
If you thought there weren’t enough goals in the first half of this game, Cincinnati once again took the lead just before half time. Alvaro Barreal sent a free kick to Gustavo Vallecia who was well inside the penalty area and scored his club’s third goal of the night.
Cincinnati resumed their two-goal lead seconds after halftime after another defensive mishap from Montreal. Barreal took advantage of a slip from Rudy Camacho before meeting Brenner who scored his second goal of the game.
But the game was only just beginning. Montreal had another chance to equalize when Mason Toye was shot inside the box by Kenneth Vermeer and referee Silviu Petrescu called for a penalty. Toye stepped in and beat Vermeer with a low shot to the right side.
As this match was not crazy enough, Montreal found its second equalizer of the evening a few seconds later. Egyptian youth international Ahmed Hamdi’s strike hit the woods and made its way to bring Montreal back to level for a second time with 15 minutes to go.
Then Hamdi did it again. This time, he took advantage of a poorly cleared cross to give Montreal their first lead of the game. The ball fell directly into his foot and Hamdi did not miss the opportunity to shatter Stade Saputo.
Finally, the public announcer took the microphone to dedicate the victory to assistant coach Jason Di Tulio, who is currently battling brain cancer.