Ana Vitoria scores late goal to lift Brazil over Canada 2-1 in international friendly

SAO PAULO — Canada's national women's soccer team lost in disappointing fashion on Tuesday, but manager Bev Priestman saw a lot of positives in her team's performance.

Ana Vitoria scored in stoppage time to lift Brazil to a 2-1 win in the international friendly, snapping Canada's five-game win streak and ending its 2022 campaign on a sour note.

The goal came on a scramble in front of the net after a Brazilian corner kick in the 90th minute. Although Canadian goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan stopped an initial header on the set piece, it ricocheted back into play and Vitoria toed it over the goal-line.

"They'll learn from that. That'll never happen again," said Priestman. "I think the nature in which we lost, obviously, it sucks to end the year like that.

"Overall, I think we had some bright spells. (...) We could have punished them more than what we did. We had some clear-cut chances."

The Canadian national women's team had won their previous five matches, including a 2-1 victory over Brazil on Friday in the first of two international friendlies between the powerhouse sides.

Both Canada and Brazil have qualified for next year's World Cup in Australia and New Zealand starting in late July. The seventh-ranked Canadians have been draw into Pool B with No. 13 Australia, No. 24 Ireland and No. 45 Nigeria.

Priestman said that playing high-quality competition like ninth-ranked Brazil serves as excellent preparation for next year's event.

"That's the reason we came here," said Priestman of the two friendlies in Brazil. "I think it'd be very easy to stay away from top-tier opponents. But (...) we have to challenge ourselves, because in many ways, only the likes of Brazil are going to punish you in those moments.

"As much as we'd like to go after the sixth win, in many ways these are the best things that can happen to you because you grow."

Beatriz Zaneratto Joao's goal in the first half gave Brazil the early lead and Ashley Lawrence's penalty kick in the 60th minute had seemingly earned Canada a draw before Vitoria's late score.

The Canadians suffered another loss on Tuesday when veteran forward Nichelle Prince went down with an injury shortly after Vitoria's goal. Prince had jumped up to challenge for a lob in midfield and seemed to land awkwardly. She had to be taken off the pitch in a stretcher.

Priestman said Prince was in a lot of pain and her teammates were concerned for her but Canada's manager had no update or details on the injury.

A rough tackle by Kerolin stripped Canadian midfielder Jessie Fleming of the ball at midfield and she charged ahead, slowing down do a couple of stepovers before making a pass to Joao. Midfielder Quinn tracked back to try and strip Joao but the Brazilian fired off a shot past the Canadian's outstretched leg and into Canada's net for a 1-0 lead.

A Geyse handball in the box in the 59th minute gave Canada a penalty kick.

Lawrence made no mistake, putting the loft into the left side of the net as Brazilian goalkeeper Lorena jumped to the right to draw Canada even at 1-1.

Substitute Evelyne Viens almost gave Canada the lead in the 67th minute. Her header off a corner kick was headed into the net, but Lorena swatted it into the crossbar and then it ricocheted off the Brazilian goalkeeper's head and out. With no video replay or VAR available in the international friendly there was no official review to see if the ball crossed the line.

Priestman was once again missing several players.

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

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 15, 2022.

The Canadian Press