Action from the August 7, 2013, CONCACAF Champions League match between the Impact de Montreal (white) and the visiting San Jose Earthquakes. (Photo courtesy of the Impact de Montreal)
MONTREAL, Canada – A first-half goal by Hassoun Camara lifted the Impact de Montreal to a 1-0 victory over the San Jose Earthquakes in the opening match of Group 5 in the CONCACAF Champions League on Wednesday at Stade Saputo.
Camara separated from Alan Gordon and the French defender flicked in a header from eight meters following a free kick by Argentine midfielder Hernan Bernardello in the 16th minute in the all-Major League Soccer matchup.
Even before Camara’s goal, San Jose had the first chance to go ahead, when Puerto Rican referee Javier Santos ruled Collen Warner, who was standing on the edge of Montreal’s five-man wall, handled Ramiro Corrales’ free kick inside the box.
Gordon stepped to the spot, but American goalkeeper Evan Bush dived to his right and saved the 11th minute attempt.
Marco Di Vaio nearly doubled the Impact’s lead in the 28th minute on another set piece. The Italian forward’s free kick from 27 meters, however, deflected off the San Jose wall for a corner kick.
San Jose interim coach Mark Watson was forced to make his first change just before halftime as Sam Garza replaced injured Honduran midfielder Marvin Chavez.
Five minutes after the interval, the Earthquakes’ Adam Jahn found Garza with a perfect cross from the left. The 23-year-old’s open header inside the six-yard box went back across the goal and wide of the far post.
Two minutes later, San Jose midfielder Jaime Alas, on loan from Rosenborg BK in Norway, put his 28-yard free kick off the crossbar.
After doing well to absorb the pressure in its defensive third, the Impact’s Italian defender Marco Ferrari nearly added a second goal in the 65th minute. His header from Justin Mapp’s service hit off the crossbar from eight meters.
Montreal, which is making its first CONCACAF Champions League appearance since reaching the 2008-09 quarterfinals, will head to Estadio Cementos Progreso to take on Heredia in its second group stage match on August 21.
On week later, San Jose will travel to Guatemala City to face the Jaguares in its next encounter.
NOTES: Montreal has four wins and two draws in six all-time Champions League games at home…Montreal has conceded one goal or less in each of its six all-time Champions League home games.