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Alphonso Davies Leadership And Speed Seals Victory For Canada v Panama

Alphonso Davies Leadership And Speed Seals Victory For Canada v Panama

By Rania Elhilali.

The stage was set beautifully, a world cup qualifying game for the men’s Canadian national team at BMO Field in Toronto.

In front of 26,000 fans, the largest attendance ever for a Canada men’s national team match in the city, the Reds sure took it upon themselves to grab the three points from Panama and swap places in the table, moving up to third.

The game started with a few early chances for the Reds which they were unable to convert. It was then the visiting team that scored in the sixth minute via Rolando Blackburn.

It then took a spark of leadership from young Bayern Munich star Alphonso Davies to begin to turn things around for Canada. In the 28th minute, Davies forced Panama’s keeper Luis Mejía to clear the ball over the crossbar, leading to a corner which Davies himself took.

Three corner kicks in a row eventually saw one of them find the head of Tajon Buchanan whose shot deflected goalward off Panama’s Micheal Murillo, levelling the match at 1-1.

Come the second half it was none other than Davies who would give Canada the 2-1 lead and would make BMO burst with energy.

Davies’ individual sprint of speed in keeping the ball in play, and in dancing into the box and through defender Fidel Escobar, to then strike the ball in the low left of the back of the net to score his tenth international goal with Canada to ultimately secure the 3 points at home.

The goalscoring continued in Toronto. Adding their names to the scoring sheet were Buchanan in the 72nd minute after Laryea crossed for him to head home; and Jonathan David who got another opportunity at goal after his effort in the first half was saved by Luis Mejia — this time he made no mistake and hit his shot across the keeper to seal the victory.

After 90 minutes Canada head coach John Herdman had some words to say to the fans and of the overall performance by his team:

“I have to say a massive thank you to all of the nearly 27,000 — the fans were brilliant, what a great night.

“The quality was there, we dominated after the goal, we got what we deserved. We know we can score against any team.

“We know we can come back and what you saw tonight is everything, the heart, the spirit, the talent. It’s a proud night for our country.”

The win was important for Les Rouges in the bigger picture of World Cup qualifying. The three points take Canada up past Panama and back into the third spot on a total of 10 points, leaving only leading teams the United States in second on 11 and Mexico top with 14.

The Reds will be back in action in November’s spell of international football, with two games — both in Edmonton’s Commonwealth stadium.

Coach Herdman’s side will look to carry the dominant home performances into their two games in Edmonton to remain in the top three of the World Cup qualifying table.

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