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Canada earns tie against Mexico at Azteca Stadium on road to World Cup

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For years the Canadian males’s nationwide soccer workforce had been a punching bag for Mexico on the famed Azteca Stadium in Mexico Metropolis, however on the highway to 2022 FIFA World Cup that now not is the case.

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Not with this version of the Canadian workforce, who’s placing collectively a powerful case to be one of many three computerized qualifiers from Concacaf on the World Cup in Qatar.

Jonathan Osorio scored within the forty second minute to present Canada a 1-1 tie towards Mexico at Azteca on Thursday in a Concacaf World Cup qualifier. It was the primary time Canada has not misplaced in Mexico since 1980, and a sport they undoubtedly may have received.

“We needed to get the three factors (for win), you can see we placed on a striker on within the ninetieth minute to try to get that win in Azteca,” mentioned Canada head coach John Herdman. “I’m content material with the purpose, however on the identical time, I feel there was a possibility to take three.

“I feel we’ll stroll away from this, taking a look at this in time, considering we may have taken three tonight.”

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Canada has by no means crushed Mexico on the highway, and going into the competition with a proficient squad and enjoying with home cash, not anticipated to get a end result, Herdman determined take a run at one of the best workforce within the area, enjoying Bayern Munich star Alphonso Davies up the sector on the appropriate wing and rising star Tajon Buchanan up entrance.

The 2 speedsters terrified Mexican defenders each time the ball went up the sector and had them on the again foot from the opening kickoff.

“We realized from our final sport towards them (Gold Cup), we received an understanding of their urgent techniques and I believed the blokes executed rather well,” Herdman mentioned. “We have been ready to attract their stress and play behind them after which centered on the place our strengths have been within the entrance areas.

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“I feel the boys executed effectively and within the second half, we received a bit leggy, you can see that, however I believed we completed robust.”

Canada had the primary good probability of the sport when Davies arrange Richie Laryea on the high of the Mexican penalty space, which compelled goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa to make an impressive diving save.

Not like earlier visits to Azteca, Canada didn’t pile gamers in defence and simply try and survive for 90 minutes. This Canadian workforce has attacking expertise to threaten Mexico, no matter the place the groups are enjoying.

“We needed to open this sport up, we needed to be courageous,” Herdman mentioned. “We needed to dare to lose, to win; and I believed there was quite a lot of braveness from the gamers right here tonight. It was simple to return right here and park the bus, however we needed to indicate that we’re stepping ahead and we wish to present that there’s extra to return.

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“I’m pleased with the efficiency and I’m content material with the purpose.”

Regardless of the early possibilities for Canada, it was Mexico who scored first as defender Jorge Sanchez, on a uncommon run up the sector, took a cross lifted excessive of the Canadian defence from Hirving Lozano, and slotted a shot by way of goalkeeper Maxime Crepeau.

Canada didn’t defer from its sport plan after giving up the purpose within the twenty first minute, and took the play to Mexico, creating a variety of high quality possibilities to tie the sport earlier than Osorio’s purpose within the forty second minute.

Davies got here shut, attending to the tip of a low cross from Buchanan from the appropriate wing, however was unable to show a shot on web.

Later, Stephen Eustaquio floated a free kick to the far put up, the place centre again Steven Vitoria was capable of get a head to, however the ball was batted away by Ochoa because it bounced in entrance of the goalkeeper.

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Osorio tied the sport with a world-class end, taking a cross from Davies, performed by way of 4 Mexican gamers, managed it together with his proper foot after which slotted a left-footed shot into the nook previous Ochoa.

“I’ve watched Jonathan develop for the final three years right into a strong chief on this workforce,” Herdman mentioned. “When he first got here in, he was an emotional man. However during the last three years, he’s embraced that management and is a giant a part of setting the tradition of this workforce on and off the pitch.

“He embraced that bravery tonight, he embraced that mentality and for me, it was one of the best efficiency I’ve seen him play in a Canadian jersey.”

The second half was performed at a decrease tempo because the altitude of Mexico Metropolis appear to have an effect on gamers on each groups. Canada didn’t press as excessive and Mexico have been content material to slowly construct the ball out of the again.

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Mexico got here near taking the lead within the sixty fourth minute when Canada fullback Alistair Johnston almost headed the ball into his personal web defending a cross. Johnson received to the ball meant for Lozano and tried to move it up over his personal web, however the ball bounced off the highest of the crossbar and was then cleared by Vitoria.

Later within the half, the sport was stopped as Mexican followers behind the Canada web have been deemed to be chanting homophobic slurs. This has been a long-standing drawback with some Mexican followers and initially the sport was to be performed with out followers as a punishment for behaviour on the Below-23 qualifying match.

FIFA had sanctioned the Mexican soccer federation and dominated they needed to play the primary two residence video games of the ultimate Concacaf qualifying spherical in an empty stadium. The ruling was overturned in August, nevertheless, and adjusted to 1 sport, which got here when Mexico hosted Jamaica in September.

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After the temporary stoppage, play resumed and the groups settled again right into a methodical contest in search of the odd break.

Canada almost received it when Davies received into some house, however was unable to play a remaining ball throughout to Jonathan David, who would have been in on their own. Liam Fraser had one other glorious probability for Canada to go forward when he received a header on a nook kick, which Ochoa tipped over the crossbar with 12 minutes to play.

Canada will proceed qualifying by travelling to face Jamaica on Sunday, then return residence to host Panama on Wednesday at BMO Discipline in Toronto.

“We’ve take a look at our three sport technique and mentioned (Thursday) we’d push exhausting,” Herdman mentioned. “We’ve a bunch of men that may go exhausting and a bunch that’s rested. I’ve group of warriors prepared, and so they know that they’re coming into this subsequent sport, and I’ve a bunch of men which are tremendous recent and excited to get after Jamaica.”

Electronic mail: dvandiest@postmedia.com

On Twitter: @DerekVanDiest

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