Canada one point away from quarters


Michael Belanger

July 8, 2013, KAZAN, Russia (Team Canada) (ISN) – The Canadian men’s soccer team benefited from two first-half ejections to blank Peru 2-0 on Monday and improve to 1-0-1 at the Summer Universiade tournament with one game remaining in pool play.

In their final Group D contest, the Canadians are set to face Brazil (1-0-1) Wednesday at 8 p.m. local time (noon ET). They need a draw to advance to the quarter-finals for only the second time in program history, six years after a fourth-place finish in Bangkok, Thailand. 

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In the 29th minute, team captain Robbie Murphy of Ottawa (University of Guelph) made a run for the left side of the box but was tripped by Tomas Medrano Aguilar, who received his second yellow card in four minutes, which earned him a red card and an ejection.

Play resumed moments later with Marco Visentin of Vancouver (UBC) taking the free kick, which was deflected with the head by Paul Clerc of Coquitlam, B.C. (UBC), who gave Canada a 1-0 lead at the 31-minute mark.

Less than a minute later, it was Alain Leonard Collantes Gomez’s turn to be ejected by the referee after he tackled Murphy out of bound.

“I’m happy our guys showed discipline. They remained focused and were not influenced by our opponents,” said head coach Pat Raimondo. “It was a nice with tonight, even though I would have liked to see us control possession a little more. We’ll now prepare for our game against Brazil.”

The Canadians had numerous chances to add to their advantage in the second half. Mario Kovacevic of Woodbridge, Ont. (Toronto), doubled his team’s lead in the 64th minute. Kovacevic potted in the rebound after Colin Parenteau-Michon of Montreal (Montreal) sent a header on the cross-bar.

The talented striker had a number of other opportunities before the end of the contest but keeper Ian Pierre Cuenca Marquina kept his side in the match.

“It was nice to add a second goal because they were putting pressure on us. When you lead only by one, anything can happen,” said Kovacevic. “Their goalie was great today. Any other day, I could have three.”

Playing with two men down, Peru had very limited chances in the second half.

Before the ejections, Canadian goalie Sotiri Varlokostas of Toronto (York) made a spectacular save in the 24th minute when he leaped to block a shot that was heading for the top corner.

BOXSCORE: Canada vs Peru