March 27, 2023
Leon's highlight-reel goal lifts Canadian women past Brazil in soccer friendly |  CBC sport

Leon’s highlight-reel goal lifts Canadian women past Brazil in soccer friendly | CBC sport

Pia Sundhage, who has coached the USA to two Olympic gold medals and a silver medal at the World Cup, knows her football.

And Sundhage, now in charge of the Brazilian women, was quick to praise Canada after her side were beaten 2-1 on Friday.

“Remember Canada is a gold medalist at the Olympics and just getting better,” said the 62-year-old Swede, whose USA team beat Canada 4-3 after extra time in an epic semi-final at the London 2012 Olympics.

The Canadians took revenge on Sundhage at the Tokyo 2021 Olympics when the Canadians beat Brazil 4-3 on penalties after the quarter-final match ended in a tied 0-0.

Canada prevailed again on Friday thanks to Adriana Leon’s highlight goal, extending the Canadian women’s winning streak to five games. While Canada endured some rough patches against the experienced Brazilians, they flexed but didn’t break.

“I think we have to learn from some mistakes today, but we also have to put to bed the really good chances we had,” said Canada coach Bev Priestman.

“I thought it was a very good game of football for everyone,” she added.

CLOCK | Leon blinds:

Canada beat Brazil in women’s friendly

Adriana Leon’s beautiful shot proved the winner in Canada’s women’s national soccer team’s 2-1 win over Brazil.

The two teams meet again on Tuesday in Sao Paulo.

“They look electric in transition,” Priestman said of the Brazilians. “We knew that. We prepared for that. But I think what I’m expecting is another very good game in Game 2.”

Canadians strip

The seventh Canadians have now won nine of their last 10 and are 11-2-3 in 2022, with defeats at the top-ranked Americans (1-0 in July’s CONCACAF W Championship final) and No. 6 Spain (1-0 in February at the Arnold Clark Cup).

Ninth-placed Brazil had won 10 straight victories, beating their opponent 34-1, six of those victories coming in a Copa America championship in July. Brazil had not lost since beating Sweden 3-1 on June 28th.

“I’m not happy with the result but there were times in the game where we did quite well,” said Sundhage.

Shelina Zadorsky also scored for Canada at Estadio Urbano Caldeira, also known as Vila Belmiro – home of Santos FC and once Pele.

Debinha answered for Brazil, who were 2-1 down at the break but started the second half with determination. Priestman sent some experience from her bank to stabilize the ship.

Canada’s first two goals came from well-rehearsed set pieces.

Zadorsky rose and in the 22nd minute headed in from a corner from Ashley Lawrence after a Christine Sinclair header ricocheted off the bar by Brazil goalkeeper Lorena.

It was the Tottenham defender’s fourth goal in 86 appearances for Canada.

“[I’m] very pleased. I think you can see she’s confident. She plays a lot of minutes at Tottenham and you can feel and see that on the pitch,” said Priestman.

“Dri just scores some incredible goals”

Leon made it 2-0 with a beautiful volley in the 29th minute from a Jessie Fleming corner. Sinclair headed the ball and Leon swung her left foot and hammered in a low shot for their 28th goal for Canada – and their fifth in their last seven games.

“Dri just scores some incredible goals,” said Priestman of the Manchester United forward. “She has that and that’s why she’s on the team. And that’s why she scores — because under pressure, she has that technical ability to just pull the trigger and do it well.

“That confidence will help us next year. When people keep scoring goals it really gives the team confidence.”

Brazil responded with a beautiful goal from Debinha in the 33rd minute. After a Canadian turnover, Brazil drove towards the Canadian goal and Kerolin chipped the ball past Bianca St-Georges in Debinha’s path. The Brazil star striker used her torso, perhaps with a small shoulder, to chest forward the ball and then pinned it past goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan.

Canada, who beat Brazil 2-1 in the bronze medal match at the Rio 2016 Olympics, improved to 9-9-9 against Brazil since their first meeting in 1996.

Canada are missing key players

As in recent internationals windows, Priestman was missing players.

Janine Beckie (Portland), Vanessa Gilles (Olympique Lyonnais, France), Deanne Rose (Reading, England), Allysha Chapman (Houston Dash) and varsity players Simi Awujo and Zoe Burns (USC), Jade Rose (Harvard) and Jayde Riviere (University of Michigan) are all unavailable.

Sinclair, Lawrence and Gabrielle Carle, absent in the October window in which Morocco (4-0) and Argentina (2-0) won No. 29, were back in the squad for the games against Brazil. Canada won two friendlies in Australia in September (1-0 and 2-1).

Sheridan started in goal behind Lawrence, Kadeisha Buchanan, Zadorsky and St-Georges. Fleming and Julia Grosso were a deep midfield duo behind Nichelle Prince, Sinclair and Leon with Evelyne Viens at the helm.

The Canadian starting XI had amassed a total of 1,028 caps, including 318 for 39-year-old Sinclair.

Jordyn Huitema and Carle came on for Canada early in the second half. Desiree Scott, Cloe Lacasse and Sophie Schmidt followed later in the half.

Amanda Allen, a 17-year-old, won her first senior international from the bench when she came on as a 71st-minute substitute.

Sheridan required treatment in the 72nd minute after a Brazilian stepped on her forearm as the two chased the ball.

Huitema went down in the penalty area in the 82nd minute after arguing with Brazil’s Fernanda, but no call came.

The 41st-ranked Canadian men were in action earlier in the day, scoring 2-2 against No. 85 Bahrain in a World Cup warm-up in Manama. Canada were missing some of their top talent and European clubs are still in action.

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