Sunusi Ibrahim scored a hat-trick and Matko Miljevic provided three assists in CF Montreal’s 3-0 win over Hamilton’s Forge FC in the quarter-finals of the Canadian Championship on Wednesday.
In front of a small crowd typical of these matches and playing with his B-team because of the high rotation, the Bleu-Blanc-Noir started defending his Canadian Championship title with confidence.
He continues his journey by visiting Toronto FC at BMO Field during the semifinals to be played in a month’s time.
The Montrealers made short work of Hamilton who didn’t show his best face. The visitors were extinguished, sluggish and very low in energy, mostly withstanding Montreal’s onslaught for 90 minutes.
Highly agitated in his offensive intentions, Ibrahim quickly took control of the game by getting a chance in the second minute.
The duo Ibrahim-Miljevic only got going in the 14th minute. The Argentinian slid a ball past the opposing defenders who reached the Nigerian to beat Triston Henry with a low shot.
Miljevic did it again in the 22nd minute by offering Kei Kamara and Ibrahim a two to zero. Very generously, Kamara offered the ball to his young teammate only to Henry’s left.
Then the duo completed their work in the 49th when Miljevic fired off a falling corner that attacked Ibrahim with a header to move the ropes.
In his first game since October 23, James Pantemis was silent and took the shutout.
Not the same Forge
We didn’t see the same Forge as we saw at the last meeting between the two teams last fall.
Particularly striking was the first half hour in which Montreal had the ball almost 80% of the time.
Hamilton forced himself to defend five behind, with the defenders very lined up. The problem is that Montreal players still went behind the defensive curtain.
And strangely enough, Hamilton exerted little pressure on the ground, which is a good recipe after all against CF Montreal. Meanwhile, it was the Bleu-Blanc-Noir that attacked relentlessly and put a suffocating pressure on the visitors.
A matter of attitude
It was with his B team that CF Montreal easily got rid of Hamilton’s Forge FC, but don’t tell Wilfried Nancy that.
“It’s not the B-squad, I don’t like that term. I’m usually happy with the attitude and I’m not surprised. It strengthens the way the boys train.”
His roster has recovered after consecutive losses in the MLS last week. Last Sunday against Salt Lake, Nancy didn’t like his team’s play, but on Wednesday his men gave him exactly what he wanted.
“The boys have been very patient with the ball, it makes the game difficult for the opponent and they better find the space.”
The attack came from Sunusi Ibrahim who scored all three himself. Let’s admit we expected more when Kei Kamara terrorized Triston Henry.
Nancy explained that the 19-year-old striker was still a project and a way of working had to be taught.
“Sunu is a youngster and he is doing well in training, but he has to be constantly pushed to rehearse and endanger himself.”
“It’s his reward. He was also interesting in the game and he was interesting because of his teammates who made it easy for him through movement and movement.
As for Matko Miljevic, author of three assists, Nancy loved his game, but he will also sit down with him to work on certain points.
“He reminds me of Joaquin,” said the head coach. It’s all new to him, because in Argentina they didn’t ask him that much to defend and attack. It should be more consistent in games in the long run. He needs to clean up his game, he tends to slow down the game if he’s really good at speeding it up.
Called in to explain his slow performance, Bobby Smyrniotis was crystal clear.
“It was the worst half of football in our three-and-a-half years that we played in the first half. We didn’t have the energy for it.”
“Maybe they played their worst half because we were very good. They didn’t get a chance to do what they wanted,” replied Wilfried Nancy a moment later.
According to Smyrniotis, his team was overtaken by a more leggy Bleu-Blanc-Noir.
“They did a big rotation and you could tell they had a lot of fresh legs.”