Ibrahim’s late goal salvages draw for CF Montreal with Union

CF Montreal’s Sunusi Ibrahim, right, is embraced by teammate Djordje Mihailovic (80 after scoring against Philadelphia Union during second half MLS soccer action in Montreal, Saturday, October 16, 2021. (Graham Hughes/CP)

MONTREAL — Sunusi Ibrahim’s leaping header in the final minute kept CF Montreal’s playoff hopes alive in a 2-2 draw with the visiting Philadelphia Union on Saturday.

Mustafa Kizza’s cross found the substitute’s head after Montreal spent the last 15 minutes of the match desperately pressing for the equalizer to keep them in the MLS playoff picture.

Matko Miljevic was Montreal’s other goalscorer.

Kai Wagner scored for Philadelphia with Union’s other strike an own-goal from Montreal goalkeeper James Pantemis.

The Impact gained a precious point in the Eastern Conference to move one point back of fourth-place Orlando and five back of Philadelphia ranked third.

The top seven clubs in each conference advance to playoffs.

Montreal stormed out of the gate Saturday, enjoyed long stretches of possession and kept the ball deep in Philadelphia’s third of the field.

There were shouts for a penalty 11 minutes in when Montreal’s Mathieu Choinere got by Olivier Mbaizo and was brought down in the box to the displeasure of the home fans.

The game opened up after that. Impact defender Rudy Camacho found himself all alone in front of the net two minutes later, but sent his shot high over the bar.

Rain soaked the pitch a half-hour into the match and sped the game up significantly.

Montreal took advantage of the increased tempo in the 33rd minute when Miljevic scored his first goal in his first MLS start by curling the ball into the bottom right corner.

With a team-leading 14th assist, Djordje Mihailovic set a new franchise single-season record.

Wet grass came back to haunt Montreal in the 63rd, however. Jamiro Moriento’s free kick from 35 yards out skipped on the pitch, hit the post and rebounded off of the back of Pantemis to tie the game.

Philadelphia keeper Matt Freese’s quick reactions on a Zachary Brault-Guillard cross headed toward the goal prevented a Montreal goal.

The slick field combined with a Philadelphia set piece hurt Montreal again in the 76th when Wagner’s low free kick from the side of the box skipped by Pantemis.

Montreal’s pressure for an equalizer paid off in the 95th minute.

Both teams have matches Wednesday when Montreal travels to Exploria Stadium to face Orlando City SC. Philadelphia takes on Minnesota United on the road.

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