Canada has capped an 11-day camp in Austria with a 2:1 victory over Uzbekistan. The June 2016 camp, which also included a 1:1 draw against Azerbaijan, provided Canada with preparation for the upcoming 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Qualifiers in September.
Canada will face Honduras away on 2 September and El Salvador at home on 6 September. Of those three teams, only one will finish second behind Mexico and advance to the CONCACAF “Hex,” the six-nation 2016-17 final round from which three nations will qualify for Russia 2018 and a fourth-place nation will advance to an intercontinental playoff against the fifth-best team in Asia.
“The camp has been very positive,” said Benito Floro, Canada Soccer’s Men’s National Team Head Coach.
David Edgar scored the opening goal on a header from a Scott Arfield free kick. Canada’s second goal came off an own goal from Akramjon Komilov after a cross from the left by Junior Hoilett.
“We came into camp working on some things that (head coach) Benito thought we needed to improve,” said Tosaint Ricketts. “He was happy with that which we showed today; it was a good win.”
Of note, Tosaint Ricketts made his 50th appearance for Canada.
“It has been wonderful,” said Ricketts. “I love the national team, the camps, the guys. I have a great passion for this country. It is a great honour to reach 50 caps.”
Players will now return to their professional clubs, with some in the midst of their 2016 season and others heading into pre season for the 2016-17 season. Canada Soccer’s Men’s National Team will regroup again at the end of August.
The first goal came in the midst of some good play from Canada, as David Edgar scored in the 20th minute.
Junior Hoilett had won a free kick on the left flank, right next to the touchline. Scott Arfield breathed life in to the dead ball and floated it over to the edge of the six yard box where it was met by the Canadian captain. Edgar had shrugged off his marker and put a solid header into the bottom left corner of the goal, past the dive of Aleksandr Lobanov in the Uzbekistan net.
The Uzbekistan equalizer arrived in the 62nd minute via the boot of Eldor Shomuronov.
The ball had gotten caught up on the right flank amongst a gaggle of defenders and attackers. There didn’t appear to be a threat, but it was sent across the box where Doneil Henry got to it first. His attempted clearance only looped up in the area, however, and Igor Sergeev was unmarked and unchallenged on the edge of the six yard box. He nodded the ball down to the back post and Shomuronov slotted home in the bottom right corner.
Canada’s winning goal came in the 81st minute and was similarly scruffy, being scored by Uzbekistan left back Akramjon Kolimov into his own net.
Junior Hoilett turned his man on the left flank and took off, defender in tow. He sent in a cross, looking for forehead of Marcus Haber, but had slipped just as he was delivering the ball. The pass just looped over Haber and likely took Komilov by surprise as his diving header put the ball right into the left corner of the goal.