Victor Wanyama makes impact as CF Montreal stun Lionel Messi-less Inter Miami

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STARS ABROAD Victor Wanyama makes impact as CF Montreal stun Lionel Messi-less Inter Miami

Joel Omotto 08:00 - 11.03.2024

Victory Wanyama put in a good shift after coming from the bench as CF Montreal recorded a morale-boosting victory against Lionel Messi-less Inter Miami in the MLS.

Victor Wanyama came off the bench to make an impact as CF Montreal handed a Lionel Messi-less Inter Miami their first MLS defeat of the season following a 3-2 victory in Florida.

Wanyama replaced Samuel Piette in the 68th minute by which time CF Montreal were leading 2-1 after goals from Fernando Alvares and Mattias Coccaro either side of Leonardo Campana’s strike for Miami.

Despite Messi’s absence, it was a rollercoaster of action as Laurent Courtois’ men resisted Miami’s advances to hand the bookies’ MLS Cup favourites their first loss of the season.

CF Montreal took a two-goal lead in the second half, thanks to goals from substitutes Coccaro and Sanusi Ibrahim, in less than a five-minute span.

Coccaro scored his first goal in Montreal colours by getting his head on the end of a perfect free kick from last season’s breakout CFM star Mathieu Choiniere.

Courtois opted to start ex-Inter Miami frontman Josef Martínez on the bench in his return to South Florida. The former MLS MVP spent all of last season with Inter Miami after a superstar five-year stint with Atlanta United.

Martínez could’ve taken a crack at goal to double Montréal’s lead just three minutes after Coccaro put the visitors back in front, but the Venezuelan laid the ball off for Ibrahim who slotted a low shot into the bottom corner of the net thanks to the benefit of a deflection.

The goal came after Wanyama had started the move deep in midfield before a swift passing involving the Montreal players saw Martinez feed Ibrahim in the box to score what turned out to be the winner.

Jordi Alba scored an effortless volley just two minutes later to reduce Montreal’s lead back to one. But luckily for the visitors, that’s as close as Miami would get.

“Of course they’re happy, because they just beat one of the biggest clubs, if not the biggest team of the league right now,” Courtois said post-game.

“I know people are going to talk about ‘this guy was missing’ and that. OK, fine, but I still don’t want to take anything away from what they did, and just want them to enjoy and be rewarded for all the effort and being away from home all this time.”

Messi, Luis Suarez and Sergio Busquets were all absent from Miami’ starting XI with Tata Martino looking to manage a tired squad that was playing their fifth match of the season.

Suarez and Busquests made late cameos but could not change the tide of the game.

It was Wanyama’s second straight appearance of the bench for Montreal who have now won two and drawn one of their opening three games which sees them level on points with Miami.

Additional information from Canadian Soccer Daily

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