Montreal’s semi-professional team puts up a good fight but loses 3-0 to Toronto FC

The score in the Canadian Championship quarter-final match was 0-0 at halftime, but a missed penalty hurt CS Saint-Laurent’s chances.

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The final score doesn’t tell the whole story.

CS Saint-Laurent, a semi-professional team, was defeated 3-0 by Toronto FC of Major League Soccer on Wednesday night in front of 6,482 fans at the Complexe sportif Claude-Robillard in the first leg of their quarter-final series. of the final of the Canadian Championship.

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A 3-0 score in football suggests a blowout, but this game wasn’t one, especially considering the difference in talent level on both sides.

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Saint-Laurent qualified for the Canadian championship by winning the Quebec Ligue 1 championship. Only a few of the team’s players earn a small salary while holding down other jobs and/or going to school, while Toronto had a player payroll of more than $25 million last year.

At halftime, the score in this David vs. Goliath battle was 0-0.

Saint-Laurent didn’t just sit back and defend, as both teams had good scoring opportunities in the first half and shot attempts were 10-9 in Toronto’s favor.

It was Saint-Laurent who had the first good chance early in the second half, but Matthew Ben Longstaff opened the scoring for Toronto in the 50th minute. Three minutes later, Saint Laurent’s Loïc Kwemi had a good chance from close range to tie the score. score, but Toronto goalkeeper Luka Gavran made the save.

In the 58th minute, the referee missed what looked like an obvious handball by Toronto center back Aimé Mabika in the box that would have resulted in a penalty kick for Saint-Laurent. Instead, Toronto quickly took advantage of a long ball going the wrong way and just 11 seconds after the foul, Deandre Kerr scored to make it 2-0. Federico Bernardeschi completed the scoring in the 76th minute with a free kick.

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The second leg of this two-game series with aggregate goals will be on May 21 in Toronto.

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The failed penalty for a handball was definitely the turning point in the first leg. Instead of the score being tied at 1-1 after a penalty kick, with the momentum returning to Saint-Laurent and their fans behind, it was 2-0.

“Those are game-changing moments,” Saint-Laurent coach Nicholas Razzaghi said. “At the end of the day, it is what it is. It’s frustrating because of the consequences of that. That’s our job. That’s the difference between the professionals and us. Sometimes those little details don’t go well and we have to be able to handle that. But yes, we surely feel very harmed by that call.”

Razzaghi was proud of the effort his players made and stated that fatigue affected them in the second half.

“It’s certainly difficult to concentrate when you’re not used to this level of fitness and quality on the ball,” he said. “It tires your mind, if not more than your legs. It’s probably difficult, but I’m very proud of the effort they put in because they worked very, very hard and they didn’t come into this challenge scared. “They took on this challenge with great confidence and courage.”

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Toronto coach John Herdman was impressed by the Saint-Laurent team, which advanced to the quarterfinals with a 3-2 road victory in penalty kicks over the Halifax Wanderers of the Canadian Professional Premier League.

“We were hoping they would have an open game,” Herdman said. “They had a very deliberate style and that deliberate style meant really using their strengths. The coaching staff did a great job.

“I take my hat off to them,” Herdman added. “Great work from your technical team. “They can hold their heads up.”

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