Pachuca 2, Montreal Impact 2 | CONCACAF Champions League Match Recap
PACHUCA, Mexico – It surely felt like a defeat, but it really isn’t so bad for the Montreal Impact.
Up 2-0 before the hour mark, Montreal saw Pachuca score twice in 12 minutes and settled for a 2-2 tie in the first leg of their CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal, on Tuesday at Estadio Hidalgo.
Heriberto Olvera and Ariel Nahuelpán answered a brace from Dilly Duka, and while the Impact failed to become the first MLS team to win in Mexico in the CCL knockout stage, they bring back two crucial away goals to Montreal.
The match started as expected. Montreal, in the first outing of the season, forfeited possession to Pachuca, who got past Impact full backs at will in the earlygoing. Pachuca won corner after corner, but conceded chances on the counter to the new-look Impact.
Duka scored the opener in the 25th minute. With the ball at his feet, Duka cut inside while Dominic Oduro made a decoy run to the outside. Pachuca goalkeeper Oscar Perez expected a shot at the far post as Miguel Herrera missed his slide tackle, but Duka’s shot squeezed in between Aquivaldo Mosquera’s legs and trickled just inside the near post.
It was Duka again who shocked the Pachuca crowd eight minutes into the second half. Justin Mapp went past his marker on the right and managed to blast a shot that Perez stopped. But Pachuca failed to clear, and Duka tapped home the rebound.
It only woke up the Tuzos. Three minutes later, after Laurent Ciman had fouled Germán Cano, Olvera's free kick slightly deflected off the wall, and Montreal goalkeeper Evan Bush couldn’t get a hand to it.
Pachuca equalized in the 68th minute. On a quick transition, Nahuelpán, surrounded by Montreal defenders, finished a square pass with his thigh, sparking euphoria in the previously subdued crowd.
Montreal sat back for the rest of the encounter, absorbing pressure but creating few chances on counterattacks. Pachuca’s Diego De Buen forced Bush into a fine save in the 72nd minute, and while Impact fans must have been nervous late on, Pachuca probably didn’t create as many clear cut chances as they would have wanted.
The second leg of this series will take place next Tuesday, Mar. 3, at Montreal’s Olympic Stadium. Beforehand, Pachuca play at Tijuana on Friday in Liga MX action.