Canada is into the Rio Olympic quarterfinals on Friday, August 12 after a convincing 3-1 win over 93rd ranked Zimbabwe in Sao Paulo at Corinthians Arena. Janine Beckie scored a first half brace and Christine Sinclair scored her 164th international goal and picked up an assist. Mavis Chirandu scored a late second half goal to break Sabrina D’Angelo’s clean-sheet attempt before a crowd of 30,295.
Canada now improves to 2-0-0 in Group F with a plus four goal differential. Janine Beckie became the first player to hit three goals at the tournament. A few hours after the final whistle, Germany and Australia played to a 2-2 draw that officially put Canada into the knockout round.
The Canadian goal-fest started early in the 7th minute with Beckie converting her rebound past Zimbabwe goalkeeper Chido Dzingirai. Canada quickly kept momentum going and had Zimbabwe under all sorts of pressure. Diana Matheson helped Canada earn a penalty in the 18th minute after being taking down by Dzingirai. A yellow card was also issued to the Dzingirai.
There would be no doubt as to who would be taking the penalty for Canada. Sinclair stepped up and calmly scored her 10th Olympic goal moving her past former Germany international Brigit Prinz and into 2nd spot overall. Brazil’s Cristiane leads the way with 13 Olympic goals entering Saturday.
Canada wasn’t finished piling up the goals as Beckie would add her second in the 35th minute. Josee Belanger came down the right flank and sent in a cross into the Zimbabwe box. The Houston Dash striker delivered a one-time volley across goal behind Dzingirai.
Canada was in full control vs Zimbabwe. D’Angelo earned her third cap for her country and had little of anything to contend with. The 23 year-old’s healed left wrist hardly had to handle the ball. Canada’s back-line held firm and did well to move the ball forward in getting Canada’s midfielders well-connected up top with Sinclair and Melissa Tancredi.
Canada held a commanding 63 percent to 37 percent first-half possession advantage and 11 shots on target to Zimbabwe’s zero.
The disciplinary focus on Canada’s young squad will be in the spotlight heading into a showdown with Germany on Tuesday in Brasilia. For the second consecutive match, Canada will be minus one of their top centre-backs due to a suspension. Kadiesha Buchanan picked up a yellow card and will now miss what could be a Group F deciding match due to yellow card accumulation.
Canada’s top centre-back duo of Zadorsky and Buchanan will have played all of nineteen minutes together through three group stages matches. Rebecca Quinn will likely earn a spot alongside Zadorsky as Buchanan will look turn her attention to the quarters.
John Herdman’s Canadians had a strong opening 45but lacked the finish in the final third during the second half. D0zingirai was not under as much pressure as she was earlier on. Zimbabwe had a better showing and did well to keep Canada off the score-sheet. Sinclair had a goal called back for a handball in the box, but for the most part Canada did not attack in waves.
Zimbabwe ended D’Angelo’s bid for her second international clean sheet with a shock goal in the 86th minute. The Western New York Flash keeper went out to clear the ball away from danger and missed. Canada did not do D’Angelo any favors by stopping Zimbabwe’s counter-attack. Chirandu had an open net with D’Angelo out of goal and she scored to make it 3-1.
Canada first half was a fantastic display of football. They were the better team, dominated possession and buried chances in front of goal. In the second half they took the foot off the gas and played comfortably and that cost them a clean-sheet. Overall, Canada will be happy to win. In the grand scheme, moving on to the quarterfinals is the goal.
Canada Starting XI: Sabrina D’Angelo; Ashley Lawrence, Rebecca Quinn, Kadeisha Buchanan, Josee Bélanger; Janine Beckie, Jessie Fleming, 71 (Nichelle Prince), Sophie Schmidt, Diana Matheson, 63 (Allysha Chapman) Melissa Tancredi, 61 (Deanne Rose), Christine Sinclair(C). 4-4-2
Zimbabwe Starting XI: Chido Dzingirai; Shelia Makoto, Nobuhle Majika, Emmaculate Msipa, Talent Mandaza; Rejoice Kapfumvuti, Marjory Nyaumwe, Eunice Chibanda, Rutendo Makore, 79 (Daisy Kaitano); Kudakwashe Basopo 88, (Erina Jeke), Felistas Muzongondi(C), 68 (Mavis Chirandu). 4-4-2
Notes: Janine Beckie now moves into a 10th overall tie in all-time goals scored for Canada with 12 goals from 22 matches.
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