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Canada overwhelmed Panama in Toronto 4-1, after overcoming an early goal against, and snatched third place from the Concacaf octagonal for the Qatar 2022 World Cup, on a night in which Alphonso Davies, Jonathan David and Tajon Buchanan stood out.
After the victory this Wednesday, Panama is fourth with 8 points and Canada is third with 10.
The game was turned on for Panama shortly after the opening whistle at BMO Field in Toronto when Canaleros forward Rolando Blackburn took advantage of a great pass from Michael Murillo on the edge of Canada’s small area and after 5 minutes he beat the Canadian goalkeeper Maxime Crepeau.
But the joy of the Panamanians did not last long. The early goal spurred on the Canadians, who arrived unbeaten in the octagonal after reaping a victory and four draws in the previous five games.
The team led by John Herdman applied relentless pressure on the Canaleros, which kept them cornered in their half of the court with no possibility of threatening Crepeau.
Canada did not slacken and after two consecutive corner kicks, the “canucks” managed to pierce Mejía’s door in a third corner that hit the back of Panamanian Murillo and stayed at the back of the canal network.
As a result of the greater verticality, in the 44th minute Panama achieved its first corner kick of the match. But as Édgar Bárcenas prepared to hit the ball, the midfielder bumped into a player from the Canadian bench warming up on the wing.
What seemed like a minor incident quickly turned into a tangana in which the benches of both teams intervened. Finally, the cooler heads took control of the situation and all the players returned to their positions without the referee having to use the card holder.
The second half was a festival for Canadians. The “canucks” came out convinced that they could overcome the Panamanians and kept their pressure on Mejía’s goal.
It was after a triple substitution ordered by Christiansen when the persevering Davies stole the ball from José Luis Rodríguez and began a gallop towards the Panamanian goal in which he first beat Fidel Escobar and finally Mejía himself to place the 2-1 on the scoreboard at the minute 66.
Canada’s second goal completely unhinged the Canaleros and just five minutes later, a header from Tajon Buchanan increased the Canadian lead to 3-1.
Later, in 78, Jonathan David scored the fourth that closed the scoring.
- Canadá: Maxime Crepeau; Alistair Johnston, Kamal Miller, Steven Vitoria, Richie Laryea; Stephen Eustaquio (m.85, Samuel Piette), David Wotherspoon (m.65, Mark-Anthony Kaye), Jonathan Osorio (m.65, Sam Adekugbe), Tajon Buchanan, Alphonso Davies (m.81, Jacob Shaffelburg); Jonathan David (m.81, Charles-Andreas Brym).
Coach: John Herdman.
- Panama: Luis Mejía; Harold Cummings, Fidel Escobar, Eric Davis, Michael Murillo (m.86, Freddy Gondola); José Luis Rodríguez (m.52, César Blackman), Christian Martínez (m.77, Gabriel Torres), Édgar Bárcenas, Alberto Quintero (m.52, Armando Cooper), Aníbal Godoy; Rolando Blackburn (m.52, Alfredo Stephens).
Coach: Thomas Christiansen.
Goles: 0-1, m.5: Rolando Blackburn. 1-1, m.27: Michael Murillo, en propia meta. 2-1, m.66: Alphonso Davies. 3-1, m.71: Tajon Buchanan. 4-1, m.78: Jonathan David.
Referee: Armando Villarreal admonished Davis, Murillo and Cooper.
Incidents: Concacaf octagonal match of the Qatar 2022 World Cup qualifier played at BMO Field in Toronto.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.