April 15, 2024
  • April 15, 2024

Canada Beats Cuba To Advance At Gold Cup

By on July 4, 2023 0 639 Views

It was a result that was pretty much expected, but it wasn’t all smooth sailing for Canada: they managed to beat Cuba 4-2 to finish second in Group D at the 2023 Gold Cup.

Canada got goals from Junior Hoilet, Jonathan Osorio, Liam Millar , and Jaydon Nelson in a game that they pretty much dominated from start to finish despite a couple of difficult moments.

“You have to be humble and in Concacaf anything can happen,” Herdman answered in the first question when asked if there was fear from the team tonight on losing.

“I thought Cuba have improved since we last saw them back in 2019. It was a different team, and they have more games under their belt. They hardened so we expected it to be tough.”

Jonathan Osorio thought he scored in the seventh minute when his shot went off the crossbar and looked like it landed in the net but, upon a long review, the play was called offside.

“It’s a different type of football and mentality to play any team in those conditions. It’s not easy, so I am proud of the players – you have to play with the humility and the fear you could be knocked out.”

Canada opened the scoring in the 21st minute when they were awarded a penalty for a handball in the box and Junior Hoilet stepped up to the spot and had no issues beating Sandy Sanchez the Cuban keeper.

“You have to be absolutely clear that on our day we can beat teams and we can beat them comfortably. I thought today the players controlled it, though we had a few lapses in concentration.”

One of those lapses came in extra time in the first half when Dayne St Clair – who got the start in goal for the injured Milan Borjan – took down a Cuban player and Cuba was awarded and scored on the penalty.

“I thought the first penalty was tough, you could see players were fatigued and he got caught on the ball,” said Herdman.

Canada responded early in the second half as Lucas Cavallini managed to get a ball on target but Sanchez wasn’t able to hold it and Jaydon Nelson took full advantage to make it 3-1.

At that moment Cuba subbed out Sanchez, who seemed to have injured his hand and was replaced by Nelson Johnston.

On the ensuing play, Canada was awarded a corner and Liam Millar was able to head the ball into the back of the net.

“I am just so proud of Liam, I remember his first game with us. He made such a big impact,and he had moments where he could have scored, so to see him score… I was like a proud dad and it was a big moment.”

In the 89th minute, Cuba was awarded another penalty as on the previous play a ball went off the arm of Dominick Zator, who was called out for a handball.

Maykel Reyes this time stepped up to the spot and St Clair almost saved it, but the ball went off his fingers and into the net to make it 4-2 – but that’s as close as Cuba got.

“Dayne has been patiently waiting and I feel for him because he got really close, but he didn’t have much to do tonight and that save near the end of halftime was a big save for us.”

Canada finished second meaning they will face the USA in a rematch of the Concacaf Nations League Final this Sunday in Cincinnati and it is a rematch that Herdman and the team wanted.

“The football gods have given us our derby match. I think it will be different and the guys are excited, we really wanted this game and they are hungry.”

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