The Montreal Impact poured in four goals and got the win, but not without some hairy moments at the end against a young Vancouver Whitecaps lineup.
Ignacio Piatti scored twice from the penalty spot and Blerim Dzemaili got his first goal for the Impact in a 4-2 victory that clinched the two-legged Canadian Championship semifinal by a 5-4 aggregate score on Tuesday night.
But a goal in the 77th minute from Kyle Greig left the Whitecaps only one goal short of victory via the away goals rule, and Impact defender Ambroise Oyongo preserved the win by heading a ball away from the goal-line with Vancouver pressing in added time.
“We did what we had to do — we won the game,” Montreal coach Mauro Biello said. “We had an excellent first half.
“In the end, games like that are difficult because the other team is pushing hard and has nothing to lose.”
‘I thought we played very well’
The Whitecaps won the first leg 2-1 at home last week, but the well-rested Impact were expected to win at home against an opponent playing its fourth game in 11 days. Vancouver coach Carl Robinson left nine starters back home and dressed a young, mostly inexperienced squad.
They nearly stole an early goal as Nicolas Mezquida shot over the bar from close range in the opening minute, but the Impact took control with three goals before the intermission before a roaring announced crowd of 15,213 at Saputo Stadium.
“I thought we played very well the first 20 minutes,” said Robinson. “We missed a good chance in the first minute.
“I thought we had to score, but then they had two penalty decisions. At halftime I said to them it’s easy to go under but let’s not go under. Let’s show how good we can be. Let’s have a good second half, and we did. We kept fighting, which was positive for these young players because a lot of them haven’t played too many games.”
Anthony Jackson-Hamel also scored for Montreal.
The Impact advanced to next month’s final against the winner between Toronto FC and…