Nigel Reo-Coker plays right-back in CONCACAF Champions League final - with disastrous consequences

Nigel Reo Coker

The ex-Aston Villa and West Ham United midfielder's Montreal Impact side fell 4-2 to Mexican giants Club America in last night's home leg to lose the final series 5-3 on aggregate.

The Montreal Impact’s dreams of becoming the first MLS club to win the CONCACAF Champions League were dashed last night after a 4-2 defeat to Club America saw them lose the two-legged final series 5-3 on aggregate.

After earning a shock 1-1 draw in last week’s first-leg at the Estadio Azteca, Montreal raced off to a fantastic start in front of a 61,000-plus home crowd, going into the break 1-0 up thanks to Andres Romero’s eight-minute opener.

America’s relentless attack proved too powerful to stifle, however, as the visitors struck three times in a 16-minute span just after the interval before forward Dario Benedetto completed his hat-trick nine minutes from the end to leave the Impact’s CCL hopes in tatters.

Substitute Jack McInerney salvaged some pride for the Canadian side in the closing stages but there would be no coming back from the disastrous period after half-time, as the Mexican giants were the ones celebrating a continental title and Club World Cup berth.

It was a disappointing end to a historic run which had seen them dispatch both Pachuca and Costa Rica’s Alajuelense in the earlier knockout rounds, despite finishing bottom of last season’s MLS regular campaign standings, but America’s superior talent showed in the end.

Injuries had also taken their toll, though, as star winger Justin Mapp and rookie Cameron Porter were both lost to long-term issues last month, while defenders Victor Cabrera and Hassoun Camara missed the final’s second-leg with knocks.

Their absence saw head coach Frank Klopas elect to use midfielder Nigel Reo-Coker at right-back, where the stand-in skipper proceeded to have a disastrous showing, proving culpable for America’s first three goals.

The former Aston Villa and West Ham United man had started at the position on a regular basis for the Vancouver Whitecaps during his first season in MLS but his lack of recent backline practice was more than noticeable on the night.

He was far from pleased with his performance either, telling MLSsoccer.com at the final whistle: “I got asked to do a job. I hadn’t played there for over two years now. I got asked to do a job, and I did it the best I could.

“…I don’t know what to say, really, if I’m honest.”

Those on Twitter had a lot to say about the Englishman’s performance, though, with the reaction proving somewhat telling.

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