Canada takes commands of its group in women’s soccer


GWANGJU, South Korea (Team Canada) – By recording a second straight win, the Canadian women’s soccer team took over first place in Pool D at the 2015 Universiade tournament. Canada defeated South Africa 2-0 Saturday at the Naju Public Stadium.

After two games played, the team in red and white has six points, three more than France and the USA. South Africa is still looking for their first point.

“I am pleased with the victory, although this wasn’t our best game,” said Team Canada’s head coach Peyvand Mossavat. “We had number of opportunities that we should have capitalized on, but we didn’t. It made it a little bit difficult for us, but I am still proud of the girls because they fought through it. We just have to learn from the mistakes we made today and play better soccer.”

The Canadians had a much better start than their last game, and it paid off. Jessie Candlish of Edmonton, Alta., scored the game opener at the 15th minute. Her perfect shot rebounded on the far post before heading into the net, giving her team a 1-0 advantage.

Canada dominated for most of the first half, but was not able to add to the lead. After 45 minutes, they were up 1-0.

Mossavat’s squad had two golden chances to start the second half, but couldn’t capitalize. A few moments later, it was the South Africans’ turn to take their chances, but two big saves from keeper Marie-Joëlle Vandal (Longueuil, Que.) kept Canada in command.

South Africa, fighting for their life in this tournament, started to put more pressure on offensively, leaving only a few players in the back and allowing more counter-attacking opportunities. The Canadians took advantage of it at the 59th-minute mark when Audrey Lagarde from Laval, Que. completed the tic-tac-toe play at the entrance of the 18-yard box to double Canada’s lead. The team in red and white would win it by a score of 2-0.

Goal scorer Jessie Candlish, although she was pleased with the win, shared her coach’s thoughts. “We are happy for the win, but at every match you learn about your weaknesses or your strengths. We will see what we can do better next match,” said the member of the University of Alberta Pandas.

The women’s soccer team will continue its tournament on Monday, July 6 at 4:30 p.m. (3:30 a.m. Eastern) when it faces the USA (1-1). A win or a tie would confirm Canada’s first place in Pool D. The Americans were defeated 5-0 by France on Saturday.