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Recap: Toronto FC falls to rivals CF Montréal

Toronto let an early two goal lead slip in what was another enthralling edition of the Canadian Classique.

Alistair Johnston shields the ball against Jayden Nelson during the first half at BMO Field.
Sean Pollock/Waking The Red

Toronto FC were defeated 4-3 by CF Montréal on Sunday night at BMO Field.

After scoring twice in the opening 10 minutes, the Reds faltered at home, giving up their two goal advantage and trailing at halftime.

The Reds couldn’t have gotten off to a better start against their bitter rivals. Following a VAR review, Montreal captain Samuel Piette was called for a clumsy challenge on Ayo Akinola inside the area. Federico Bernardeschi would step up to score from the spot, netting his third penalty in as many attempts for TFC.

Less than two minutes later, the goal scorer would turn provider with Bernardeschi assisting his compatriot Lorenzo Insigne. Il Magnifico tucked in a lovely volley after Bernardeschi’s deflected cross fell to him, giving the hosts an early two goal cushion.

Lorenzo Insigne smiles after scoring a goal in the first half against CF Montréal.
Sean Pollock/Waking The Red

This would be by far TFC’s best part of the match, with Montreal doing an exceptional job of turning the tide, dictating the play for most of the match after going down.

Canadian international Kamal Miller would be the one to get his side back into the game, cutting the deficit in half in the 19th minute. Kei Kamara’s shot on goal was parried to Miller by Alex Bono, with the defender scoring his second goal of the season.

Montreal saw Toronto score twice in less than two minutes and would do the exact same. Shortly after Miller’s goal, Djordje Mihailovic was left with too much space, blasting a shot from distance into the back of the net. Bono would get a hand on the ball but couldn’t stop it from reaching its target. It was definitely a night to forget for the Toronto FC goalkeeper.

Montreal almost got their third in the 29th minute after a free kick from Mihailovic got to Victor Wanyama. With the net left wide open, the Kenyan somehow put his header just over the crossbar.

Montreal would eventually get their third goal of the match, right before the halftime whistle. In the 43rd, Kei Kamara raced onto what seemed like a straightforward long ball from Joel Waterman. Chris Mavinga had an opportunity to clear, but failed to deal with the danger, allowing Kamara to get past him and nutmeg Bono. The Sierra Leone international has now scored 11 goals against Toronto. Only Federico Higuain has more goals against Toronto with 12.

Bob Bradley’s side had to come out in the second half ready to get back in the game in front of their supporters, but the effort was flat. The players seemed drained after giving up their lead. In a match they just about had to win to have any hope of reaching the playoffs, TFC looked defeated even though there was still another half to play.

In some positive news for TFC fans, Mark Anthony Kaye was introduced to the match after the break, making his return from injury. MTL remained the better side following the interval, grabbing their fourth goal early in the half to put the game out of reach. In what was another instance of sloppy defending, Alistair Johnston was allowed to get on the end of a headed pass from Kamara, nodding it past Bono.

Richie Laryea gets a bit rough with Kei Kamara during the 401 Derby at BMO Field.
Sean Pollock/Waking The Red

From that point on, Toronto were out of the game. Bernardeschi had some efforts fly over the bar but the Reds would have to wait until stoppage time to get their third goal. An exquisite play from Insigne would be just a consolation. The Italian skipped through the Montreal defence before chipping it past James Pantemis. Insigne would go down after scoring and hobbled back to his side’s half of the pitch.

With the defeat, Toronto remain four points away from the seventh and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference which is now occupied by New England following their win on Sunday.

The Reds are on the road for their next match, travelling to play Atlanta United on September 10.