Early goals by Cyle Larin and Jonathan David helped Canada to a comfortable 2-0 victory over World Cup host Qatar in an international men’s soccer friendly on Friday in Vienna, Austria.
Canada controlled large stretches of the game and built its 2-0 lead after just 13 minutes at a largely empty Generali Arena. Qatar, five places below Canada in the world rankings at No. 48, failed to impress on the day.
The Canadians, who were facing Qatar for the first time, will undergo a stiffer test Tuesday when they take on No. 13 Uruguay in Bratislava, Slovakia.
There was a moment of concern in the second half with Alphonso Davies needing treatment after tangling with Ismail Mohammad in the 57th minute. The Bayern Munich star was able to walk off, albeit gingerly, as he gave way to a substitute.
Canada wasted little time with Larin scoring in the fourth minute. The Club Brugge striker rose high to head home a Sam Adekugbe cross, delivered from just outside the Qatar penalty box, for his Canadian men’s record 25th goal in 53 appearances.
David, who is signed to Adidas, covered the Nike logo on the Canada shirt with his right hand as he celebrated the goal. There has been recent social media chatter about Canada, unlike other teams, not unveiling a new jersey for the World Cup.
Canada came close to scoring third goal off a free kick in the 88th minute but Ike Ugbo’s header was saved by the Qatar ‘keeper and Kamal Miller’s attempt off the rebound hit the crossbar.
David (Junior) Hoilett, earning his 48th cap, captained Canada in the absence of the injured Atiba Hutchinson.
WATCH | Chris Jones breaks down state of Canada’s men’s team:
Controlled play from the start
Friday’s game marked the Canadian men’s first against an Asian opponent since November 2016 when they lost 2-0 to South Korea. Canada coach John Herdman expected a well-drilled opponent with the Qatari players largely drawn from domestic teams, with Al Sadd and Al-Duhail leading the way.
The World Cup host will play out of Group A at the World Cup along with the eighth-ranked Netherlands, No. 18 Senegal (the reigning Africa Cup of Nations champion) and No. 44 Ecuador.
The Canadians, who open World Cup play Nov. 23 against No. 2 Belgium in Group F, used the flanks to attack the condensed Qatar defence.
After going down early, Qatar had a chance in the 10th minute after a Canadian giveaway in its own end. But Mohammed Waad’s shot went straight at Milan Borjan.
Canada had 62 per cent possession in the first half. Both sides made changes at the break with Canada sending on Richie Laryea to replace Larin. Charles-Andreas Bryn, Ismael Kone and Ugbo followed off the Canadian bench in a triple change on the hour mark.
Qatar showed more purpose in the second half but could not breach the Canada defence, offering little in attack.
Laryea came close in the 63rd minute but his shot from in-close was blocked, as was Ugbo’s shot off the rebound. Liam Millar, returning to the national team after being sidelined with a broken arm, entered in the 67th minute.
Mark-Anthony Kaye came on in the 74th as Herdman, with an eye to the heavy club load some of his players have experienced, used his bench liberally.
First get-together since contract dispute
For the Canadians, the European camp is a first get-together since an ill-fated gathering in June in Vancouver when players refused to play a friendly against Panama due to a contract dispute. The team put the impasse behind it to play Curacao and Honduras in CONCACAF Nations League matches June 9 and 13. But contract talks continue.
Canada’s final World Cup warm-up is Nov. 17 against No. 24 Japan in Dubai.
Despite the injuries, Herdman fielded a strong lineup with Miller, Steven Vitoria and Alistair Johnston in front of Borjan with Adekugbe and Hoilett at wingback and Samuel Piette and Stephen Eustaquio in midfield with Davies, David and Larin leading the attack.
Piette was influential in midfield, often joining Eustaquio in snuffing out Qatar attacks.
The Canadian starting 11 went into the match with a combined 428 caps, led by Borjan (65) and Piette (62).
The uncapped Joel Waterman (CF Montreal) and Luca Koleosho (Spain’s Espanyol) started on the bench. The 18-year-old Koleosho has yet to pledge his international allegiance to Canada. Born to a Nigerian father and Italian-Canadian mother (born in Montreal), he has options.
Denial of responsibility! Planetconcerns is an automatic aggregator around the global media. All the content are available free on Internet. We have just arranged it in one platform for educational purpose only. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, all materials to their authors. If you are the owner of the content and do not want us to publish your materials on our website, please contact us by email – [email protected]. The content will be deleted within 24 hours.