Canada scored twice in the second half to claim a 2-0 win over El Salvador at Estadio Cuscatlan on Wednesday night.
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The Reds have thus won each of their three games this international window by the same mark and now have 25 points, at the top of the qualifying octagon for the 2022 World Cup.
Canada are 7-0-4 and could secure their ticket to Qatar in the first game of the next window next month.
Winners against Honduras by a score of 3-0, the United States are second with 21 points on a par with Mexico who defeated Panama 1-0.
Canada opened the scoring with a particularly bizarre goal in the 66th minute.
Cyle Larin came in from the right and crossed for Atiba Hutchinson whose header hit the post. The comeback then bounced off the back of the Canadian captain to thwart Salvadoran keeper Kevin Carabantes.
The veteran, who turns 39 next week, has probably never scored such an odd goal.
“I think the ball hit my shoulder, but sometimes you need luck in football,” Hutchinson explained.
Never particularly bothered, Canada will still have seen Milan Borjan pull off another small miracle at the end of the match when he stretched his hand to deflect a ball which was about to fall behind him.
And like in Sunday’s game in Hamilton, the game ended in a breakaway. This time around, it was Jonathan David who came up two-thirds of the way to lift the ball over the head of Carabantes who were trying to come back without their goal after venturing very far to support their attack in a effort of desperation.
the day after
After a major adrenaline rush like that provided by the 2-0 victory over the United States in Hamilton on Sunday, Canada looked like an overnight team during the first half.
Certainly, John Herdman had made many changes to his starting lineup, but the Canadians did not have the same aggressiveness as in the first two games of this international window despite strong possession of the ball.
Even a player like Jonathan David, who was more than good in those two games, lacked bite on Wednesday night, mainly in his finishing.
The Canadians had some great possession streaks in the first half, but Kevin Carabantes had a few minor feats.
Saldavor is known to be a very hostile environment for visiting teams and we have once again seen why.
First there are the fans who did not hesitate to throw bottles and cans at the Canadian players despite the very high fences all around the field.
Moreover, a riot team with shields followed the Canadian players, especially on throw-ins and corner kicks.
But there are also the Salvadoran players who have multiplied late tackles and questionable gestures in addition to playing in a very physical way, which Canada has struggled to manage at times.
“It was a good challenge, it was not an easy match, acknowledged head coach John Herdman. We lost four staff members and three players before we left Canada due to COVID.
“It was a real CONCACAF atmosphere. We had a good start and then we fell into their chaos a bit.”
almost a strike
Earlier in the day there were fears the match would not take place when Salvadoran players issued a statement saying they would go on strike.
They then wanted to protest for not having received bonuses and premiums from their federation.
The players, however, decided to fight back and play the game out of pride.
“As a group, we decided to play in order to maintain an illusion of country. We are going for ourselves, our families and our sport,” they wrote in a statement.
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