Canada puts heart-filled performance as road to Colombia ends

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futsal loss

Cuba officially qualified for the FIFA Futsal World Cup Colombia 2016 two hours later after Curaçao lost

A heart-filled performance was not enough as Canada were eliminated on the road to the FIFA Futsal World Cup Colombia 2016. In need of a draw or better, Canada stretched themselves in the second half, but ultimately lost 4:7 to an experienced Cuban side at the 2016 CONCACAF Futsal Championship.

Down 3-1 midway through the second half, Canada were caught two more times pressing forward as Cuba celebrated early with a 5-1 lead. Canada came back, though, with Frederico Moojen hitting both posts on one shot before later scoring a brace just 16 seconds apart.

After Vahid Assadpour cut the lead to one with five minutes remaining, however, Cuba scored twice and put the match out of reach.

Cuba officially qualified for the FIFA Futsal World Cup Colombia 2016 two hours later after Curaçao lost their group finale to Costa Rica. It marked the fifth time that Cuba qualified for the FIFA Futsal World Cup, having previously qualified for four straight editions from 1996 to 2008. Cuba are now tied with USA for the most FIFA Futsal World Cup appearances by a CONCACAF nation.

Costa Rica, Cuba, Panama, and Guatemala are the four CONCACAF nations that have qualified for the FIFA Futsal World Cup Colombia 2016. In Group A, the standings featured Panama with nine points, Guatemala with six points, Mexico with three points, and Honduras with no points. In Group B, the standings featured Costa Rica with nine points, Cuba with four points, Canada with three points, and Curaçao with one point.

In 2016, Canada posted three wins, one draw and two losses in international competition. The national team scored 25 goals and conceded 21 goals against in the six matches. At the end of their run, Canada was just one point short of a place at the FIFA Futsal World Cup Colombia 2016.

Futsal is a unique, fast-paced indoor sport played across Canada and around the world. Canada Soccer is committed to the growth and promotion of the game. At the elite club level, Canada Soccer supports domestic competition through the annual Futsal Canadian Championship. Canada Soccer also supports playing opportunities provided by the National Futsal Team in international competitions including the FIFA Futsal World Cup.

With a ticket to the 2016 FIFA Futsal World Cup on the line on Tuesday
evening, Canada faced a tenacious Cuban side who were looking to rebound from a 6-0 loss to Costa Rica the night before. The Canadians earned their first ever victory at a CONCACAF Futsal Championship 24 hours earlier when they defeated Curacao 7-4.

Given how much was at stake both teams came out strong defensively, each attempting to try and open up gaps to exploit with little fortune.

The Cubans would be the early aggressors offensively, unleashing a set of five shots that were all turned away by Canadian keeper Josh Lemos.

But in the 15th minute, Cuban Ronald Egozcue would lay a straightaway pass along the sideline to Reynier Fiallo who rifled a low shot that beat Lemos from a tight angle to take a 1-0 lead.

The Canadians would respond three minutes later when a slide tackle from a Cuban defender sent the ball rolling to forward Ian Bennett who blasted one through the legs of goalkeeper Nelson Johnston to level things up.

Cuba would get into foul trouble and would concede their sixth foul in the 19th minute setting up a shot from the 10m spot. Yesterday’s man of the match, Nazim Belguendouz, would step up to take it for Canada but was stopped by Breniht Suarez.

Canada came out strong in the first few minutes of the 2nd half with a trio of shots only ten seconds in after Cuba fouled hard just outside the goal area but Suarez made the key saves.

A dangerous tackle from behind in the 25th on Hamilton native Ian Bennett by Denis Marquez that resulted in a yellow saw a clear breakaway for Canada taken away, much to the chagrin of the Canadian bench.

Toronto’s Jacob Orellana prevented what looked to be a sure goal for Cuba in the 27th with a superb defensive effort when he slid across the goal area to prevent a wide open Cuban forward from tapping it in.

The Cubans would keep pressing and would take the lead only seconds later when Fiallo had a give and go exchange on the break with Jhonnet Martinez that saw Fiallo slide into the goal pushing Lemos, and the ball, behind the goal line.

Fiallo would complete the hat trick in the 28th when Martinez delivered a superb pass across the crease that hit Fiallo’s sliding foot into the far post to put them up 3-1.

Cuba would continue their surge with their fourth goal immediately to put the Canadian’s on their heels.

They would make it 5-1in the 29th after Lemos came out of his goal as the fifth attacker and slipped while shooting which was then easily grabbed by Cuban goalkeeper Breniht Suarez who threw to a wide open Martinez for the easy tap into the open net.

While most teams would see a 5-1 deficit as too much of an obstacle to overcome, Canada showed plenty of heart.

In the 34th, Lemos, one of the most prolific attacking goalkeepers in the CONCACAF region, came out again to lead the attack that saw him launch an airborne pass down low to Eduardo Jauragui who lined a pass to a wide open Freddy Moojen to cut the deficit to three.

Canada would strike again 16 seconds later when Lemos sent a pass to Daniel Chamale who sent a sublime pass into the box for Moojen who scored an beautiful no look back heel pass to bring Canada within two.

With the momentum completely swinging back in Canada’s direction Vahid Assadpour would score in the 36th minute when Nazim Belguendouz picked off a Cuban pass and sent it off to Assadpour who made a lovely turn and strike it past Suarez to make a one goal game.

With a stunning comeback on the horizon Cuba would break the hearts of Canadians when Marco Rodriguez went down and with no foul called the Cubans would take a 2 v 0 break for the tap in to give them back the valuable two goal cushion.

Even with the Cubans fouling out and Canada pressing once again with Lemos acting as the fifth attacker, they remained composed for long enough to score their seventh of the match when Suarez drop kicked the ball across the court and into the goal to end Canada’s hopes of making its first FIFA Futsal World Cup in 27 years.

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