Montreal (AFP) – Montreal Impact ground out a 0-0 draw against Costa Rica’s Deportivo Saprissa on Wednesday to reach the quarter-finals of the CONCACAF Champions League in manager Thierry Henry’s first competitive home match.
Former France international star Henry had goalkeeper Clement Diop to thank after denying Saprissa’s Mariano Torres from long-range in the 88th minute as the visitors finished strongly.
Montreal had been in control of the contest after a 2-2 draw in the first leg in San Jose last week, when they had taken a 2-0 lead before being pegged back.
However Henry’s side lived dangerously in Wednesday’s return fixture, inviting pressure with an ultra-defensive 5-4-1 line-up at Montreal’s 1976 Olympic Stadium.
Montreal barely created a chance of note in a lacklustre game, Romell Quioto coming closest to conjuring a goal in the 45th minute when he squared to Shamit Shome who shot at Saprissa goalkeeper Aaron Cruz.
Instead it was Saprissa who looked the more threatening of the two sides for long periods, dominating possession but unable to find a way through a resolute Montreal defence.
The Costa Ricans’ best chance came two minutes from time, when veteran Argentinian midfielder Torres unleashed a powerful shot from just outside the area.
Senegal international Diop was equal to the challenge however, diving to his left to parry way as Montreal hung on for the 2-2 aggregate win on away goals.
Montreal will now play either Major League Soccer rivals Seattle Sounders or Honduras’ Olimpia in the last eight.
The CONCACAF Champions League is the premier club competition for North America, Central America and the Caribbean, with Mexican teams dominating the tournament.
Saprissa were the last non-Mexican winners of the competition in 2005, while only two teams from MLS — Los Angeles Galaxy in 2000 and D.C. United in 1998 — have lifted the title.