Canada beats Cuba 6-0, faces unbeaten U.S. next at CONCACAF U-20 Championship

The Canadian Press

SAN CRISTOBAL, Dominican Republic — Tanya Boychuk scored twice from the penalty spot and Jazmine Wilkinson added two goals in two minutes to help Canada blank Cuba 6-0 in round-of-16 play Saturday at the CONCACAF Women's Under-20 Championship.

The win earned Canada (2-1-1) a date with the powerful United States (4-0-0) in the quarterfinal Wednesday. There will be plenty on the line given only the semifinal winners advance to the FIFA U-20 World Cup in August.

"It will be a big next match against the Americans and we know they are a strong team, but so are we and I think we are only on the tip of the iceberg with how good this team can really be," said Canada coach Rhian Wilkinson. "We have been preparing for this match and we can build on our form against Cuba."

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The two tournament finalists will join co-hosts Costa Rica and Panama as CONCACAF representatives at the FIFA U-20 championship.

The U.S. downed Saint Lucia 6-0 in Santo Domingo in other round-of-16 play.

Maya Ladhani and Leonie Portelance also scored for Canada, which led 2-0 at the half on a hot afternoon at Estadio Panamericano. The Canadians outshot Cuba 18-4 (13-1 in shots on target) and had 62 per cent of the possession.

Canada has qualified for seven of the nine previous FIFA U-20 World Cups, reaching the quarterfinals in 2004 and 2014 and losing to the U.S. in the final of the inaugural 2002 tournament (when it was under-19) on home soil.

It failed to qualify in 2018, losing to Mexico in a semifinal penalty shootout and then 1-0 to Haiti in third-place game. Because of that, Canada was seeded third here on the same side of the draw as the Americans.

Wilkinson continued to rotate her roster, making five changes from the team that lost to Jamaica.

Cuba (1-2-1) had a good scoring chance early, with Canadian goalkeeper Kayza Massey coming up big to stop Cecil Aldana from close range, but Canada soon took control.

Boychuk scored from the penalty spot in the seventh minute after she was chopped down in the box. Ladhani hit the Cuba goalpost in the 14th minute and then scored in the 36th when her shot, following a Canadian free kick, bounced in off the crossbar.

The Canadians had 68 per cent of possession in the first half, outshooting Cuba 7-4 (5-1 in shots on target). And they dominated after the break.

Canada kept attacking in the second half and got another penalty when Wayny Balata was clipped from behind. Boychuk slotted the ball home in the 56th minute.

Portelance hit the crossbar in the 59th minute. And Wilkinson forced a pair of good saves from Cuba captain/goalkeeper Alianne Matamoro in the 75th minute. Matamoro had to tip another Wilkinson shot over the crossbar in the 79th.

Put in alone twice, Wilkinson scored back-to-back goals in the 82nd and 83rd minutes. Portelance rounded out the scoring with a 90th-minute header into the corner of the goal.

With five career goals at the CONCACAF U-20 Championship, Boychuk moved into a tie for third place on Canada's all-time list at the competition (tied with Jordyn Huitema and Jenna Richardson, trailing Jodi-Ann Robinson at seven and Aysha Jamani at nine).

Wilkinson and Portelance scored their first international youth goals.

Canada finished second in Group E while Cuba was third in Group C, which the Americans topped after outscoring their opposition 24-0.

The Canadian women defeated El Salvador 2-0, tied Guatemala 0-0 and lost 3-1 to Jamaica in preliminary-round play. Cuba lost 9-0 to the U.S., beat Honduras 6-1 and tied the Dominican Republic 0-0.

Jamaica thumped Bermuda 9-1 in earlier round-of-16 play Saturday.

Canada won the 2004 and 2008 CONCACAF championships and finished runner-up in 2006, 2012 and 2015.

 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 29, 2020.

The Canadian Press

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