March 3, 2010 - North American Soccer League (NASL) - Montreal Impact
VIGO, Spain - The Montreal Impact lost 2-1 to Celta de Vigo, Wednesday morning, at Balaidos Stadium in Vigo, in Montreal\'s second exhibition match in Europe.
Forward Reda Agourram scored the lone Impact goal at the 24th minute. Off a cross from Philippe Billy, midfielder Rocco Placentino dribbled past a Celta player and fed the ball to Agourram, who scored from inside the box with a powerful left-footed shot to the top of the net.
"It\'s special to score against a team that I\'ve known since I was young," said Agourram. "It was a great chance on goal and I was fortunate to capitalize. Things went well for me, but there\'s still room for improvement. I have to keep working on my positioning and my decision-making. This was a really good experience for the whole team, similar to our matches versus Bordeaux and River Plate last season."
Celta de Vigo forward Dimitrios Papadopoulos, who was part of Greece\'s Euro 2004 championship team, opened the scoring at the 19th minute. Following a turnover in midfield, Papadopoulos was left alone in front of the Impact goal and deflected a cross from the right flank with a nifty left foot.
Vigo forward Gaston Cellerino, an Argentine on loan from Italian club Livorno, scored the game-winning goal at the 65th minute. Cellerino accepted a pass behind Montreal\'s back line and beat Impact goalkeeper Srdjan Djekanovic with a point-blank shot to his left.
"We played against an excellent team that plays a very organized style that is focused on ball possession," noted Impact head coach Marc Dos Santos. "But, we played our game and were very well-organized defensively. We didn\'t surrender many scoring chances and overall, the match was very positive."
"We shouldn\'t be disappointed with the result. A score of 2-1 versus a team of that quality while we\'re still in preparation mode is something to be quite happy about," said defender Cédric Joqueviel. "We did what we set out to do and saw some good things today. That bodes well for the next step."
The Impact had two excellent scoring opportunities at the end of each half. Rocco Placentino nearly put Montreal in the lead at the 43rd minute. He took a deep pass from Leonardo Di Lorenzo and fired a shot to the far post, missing just wide. At the 86th minute, following a free kick from midfielder Tyler Hemming, forward Roberto Brown headed the ball to Eduardo Sebrango, who shot just over the net.
Note that Celta de Vigo spent roughly a decade in the Spanish First Division, starting back in the mid-90s. The club participated in the 1998, 1999 and 2000 UEFA Cup, was a finalist in the 2001 Spanish Cup and qualified for the Champions League in 2002-2003. Celta de Vigo is managed by head coach Eusebio Sacristan, a former assistant coach with Barcelona from 2003 to 2008.
The Impact started the match in a 4-4-2 formation, but switched to a 4-3-3 as of the 57th minute. Other than Djekanovic, only midfielder Tony Donatelli and defender Hicham Aaboubou played the full 90 minutes.
The Impact will play its third and final match of the camp against Portuguese club Boavista FC, tomorrow at 3 pm (10 am ET), at Estadio do Bessa XXI in Porto, another venue able to accommodate more than 30,000 spectators.
Boavista FC, a third division Portuguese club, was the national champion in 2001 and participated in the Champions League in 2000 and 2002. The club was also a semi-finalist in the 2003 UEFA Cup.