Canada defeats China PR 1-0 in Olympic preparation friendly

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Look toward Saturday’s match against France

Jessie Fleming walked through China PR’s defense and found the back of the net in the sixth minute of Wednesday’s International Friendly match, scoring her third international goal for Canada’s Women’s National team. After picking up the ball at the top of the 18-yard box, the 18-year-old from London, ON slipped past two defenders and went over the keeper to find the top corner.

“I saw a little bit of space and cut it back and had a quick second to put it away, so I took my chance,” Fleming said after the match.

Canada held on to the 1-0 lead for the remainder of the match at Stade Sebastien Charléty in Paris, with little threat until the last quarter.

“The first half had some great passes and some really great interchange,” said Head Coach John Herdman. “Jessie Fleming’s goal was fantastic and Sophie Schmidt had a great opportunity that was very similar. The combination play around the top of the box, that we’ve been missing from this team, was evident tonight.”

That was a tough Chinese team,” Herdman added. “They’ve only lost once in 13 games and that was to France, so I’m really happy to take a good result from them tonight.”

China PR did not give up after Canada dominated the first half, fighting back in the second and getting a few good opportunities in and around keeper Steph Labbe’s net. Attentive goalkeeping and a solid defensive line, anchored by centrebacks Kadeisha Buchanan and Shelina Zadorsky, ensured China PR were unable to convert any of their opportunities into goals.

“We had some good opportunities in the first 15 to 20 minutes of the second half, and then China came on pressing, looking for an equalizer,” said Herdman. “We didn’t really find our rhythm once they put their high press on, so that is something we are going to work on.”

Wednesday’s match marked two major milestones’, Sophie Schmidt’s 150th Women’s National Team appearance, and Head Coach John Herdman’s 50th career international win. It also came on the heels of Herdman’s 41st birthday, that was celebrated by the team with a prank at training the day before.

The match against France on Saturday, in addition Wednesday’s match against China PR, will serve as a critical test run for the Olympics games, mimicking the 2-day turn around the teams will face once in Rio

Scott Harrigan
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