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CF Montreal's Romell Quioto moves in on Toronto FC's goalkeeper Quentin Westberg in Montreal on Nov. 21.Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press

CF Montreal dominated play but had to wait until Romell Quioto’s 72nd-minute goal to dispatch Toronto FC 1-0 Sunday and defend its Canadian Championship title.

After bossing the game, Montreal finally broke through when the Honduran, put behind the defence by a high looping ball from Rudy Camacho from inside the Montreal half, chipped goalkeeper Quentin Westberg on Montreal’s 21st shot of the afternoon.

Quioto had tormented the TFC defence all day, denied only by Westberg’s heroics.

Toronto had a chance to pull even in the 90th minute but Jordan Perruzza hit the goalpost after Sebastian Breza got a foot to a Toronto ball sent into the penalty box before fellow substitute Nick DeLeon got to it. The ball was sent back in but Perruzza was unable to find the target.

Montreal outshot Toronto 22-4 (9-0 in shots on target), had a 10-1 edge in corners and 57 per cent possession.

Having edged Toronto in a penalty shootout in the 2019 final, Montreal remains defending champion.

Due to the pandemic, the 2020 tournament was eventually reduced to a one-off between Toronto and Forge FC that has yet to be scheduled.

At stake Sunday was the Voyageurs Cup, a berth in the Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League, US$75,000 and bragging rights.

The Canadian Championship final was a consolation prize at the end of disappointing campaigns for both teams.

Montreal (12-12-10) finished poorly, missing out on the playoffs on the final day of the regular season.

The disappointment was deeper-rooted for Toronto (6-18-10), which was officially eliminated from post-season contention Oct. 16 in a 2-0 loss to visiting Atlanta, although the writing had been on the wall for some time during a dismal campaign.

Toronto, which fielded a makeshift backline Sunday due to injury, lost Alejandro Pozuelo to a hamstring injury in the 15th minute. The Spanish playmaker, visibly upset, was replaced by Ifunanyachi Achara.

So the season ended the way it started for Pozuelo.

The league’s reigning MVP missed TFC’s first 10 games in all competitions due to injury and managed just one goal and four assists in 19 league outings (14 starts).

Pozuelo started all 23 league matches last season, and finished with nine goals and 10 assists.

Star striker Jozy Altidore didn’t make the trip to Montreal due to flu-like symptoms not COVID-related, the latest hurdle in a more-off-than-on season that saw the burly striker score four goals in just 16 league appearances (including eight starts).

Altidore missed eight weeks due to a falling out with Armas and his return to action was interrupted by injury.

Venezuelan winger Yeferson Soteldo, Toronto’s third designated player, started on the bench. He had not played since Oct. 20 when he came off injured in a loss to Miami.

Soteldo managed to get cautioned in the 57th minute before entering the game.

Montreal defender Joel Waterman took objection to a shoulder charge to Jacob Shaffleburg as both players chased a ball near the Montreal byline.

Waterman shoved Shaffelburg when both get up, prompting the five-foot-three Soteldo – warming up nearby with the Toronto substitutes – to get in the six-foot-two Waterman’s face.

It was five degrees Celsius at kickoff, but felt more like three degrees.

Toronto spent most of the first half on the back foot with Montreal having 63 per cent of possession and outshooting TFC 9-1 (5-0 in shots on target).

Toronto was under pressure from the get-go with a Montreal through ball after a TFC turnover finding Quioto behind the Canadian defence in the first 20 seconds. But Westberg got a leg in front of Quioto’s shot to end the threat.

Quioto played provider in the 18th minute but his dangerous low cross failed to find a teammate as it went in front of goal.

Five minutes later, Quioto beat Michael Bradley to a Mathieu Choiniere cross only to see his deflection flash just wide of the post.

Westberg made a kick save on Quioto in the 41st after the Honduran went past Julian Dunn and raced towards goal.

There was more of the same three minutes later as Quioto outraced Bradley to a long ball only to see his shot hit Westberg in the face.

Montreal continue to control the game on the second half.

After a string of Montreal corners, Westberg had to reach high to claw away a deflected shot from Djordje Mihailovic.

Injured Montreal defender Zachary Brault-Guillard was taken off on a stretcher in the 60th minute.

Montreal kept coming with a hard Victor Wanyama shot hitting the crossbar in the 61st. Westberg then had to parry a Mihailovic shot minutes later.

After the Quioto goal, Perez sent on Soteldo, DeLeon and Perruzza in the 78th minute in a bid to find some offence.

Montreal had the best of Toronto during the regular season, beating TFC 4-2 in the April 17 season opener in Fort Lauderdale and 3-1 on Aug. 27 at Saputo Stadium.

Toronto got some small measure of revenge Oct. 23 in a 1-1 tie at BMO Field, thanks to a 95th-minute Altidore goal.

Montreal finished 10th in the Eastern Conference, two points below the playoff line and 18 above Toronto.

It came down to the final game of the regular season Nov. 7 with Montreal needing to beat Orlando to qualify for the post-season. Orlando didn’t co-operate in a 2-0 win.

One win in the last six games (1-2-3) of the season did not help Montreal’s cause.

Toronto lurched to a 1-8-2 start to the season while based in Orlando due to the pandemic.

First-year coach Chris Armas was fired July 4 after a humiliating 7-1 loss at D.C. United, with assistant coach Javier Perez put in charge for the remainder of the season.

TFC finished the season 13th in the East and winless in its last six league outings (0-3-3).

Sunday’s game may be the last outing for Perez as coach given speculation that Bob Bradley, father of Toronto captain Michael Bradley, is headed north after parting ways with Los Angeles FC.

Both teams started five Canadians with international teammates Richie Laryea and Jonathan Osorio (Toronto) wearing different colours this time than Kamal Miller, Samuel Piette and James Pantemis (Montreal) with all in the matchday rosters.

Toronto was also missing injured defenders Omar Gonzalez, Kemar Lawrence, Eriq Zavaleta and Brazil’s Auro.

The 21-year-old Dunn, who has Dunn has made just three career MLS appearances, started in the Toronto backline.

Montreal was in better condition, other than forward Mason Toye, who has not played since mid-August.

The 2021 tournament featured 13 teams, with Montreal, Toronto and CPL champion Forge FC entering the quarter-final stage.

Montreal reached the final by dispatching HFX Wanderers FC 3-1 and Forge in a marathon 8-7 penalty shootout that saw the goalkeepers decide the match, which finished tied 0-0 after regulation time.

Toronto beat York United FC 4-0 and Pacific FC 2-1.

Sunday’s game was played in Saputo Stadium after Montreal won a coin flip.

Toronto had won the title seven times since 2008 while Montreal had lifted the trophy four times.