22.11.2011 CANWNT 2 : 1 Sweden
Location: Phoenix, AZ, USA
|Canada pulled off a come-from-behind victory over world bronze medalist Sweden in a Women's International Friendly match. Captain Christine Sinclair provided the magic with an added time goal shortly before the final whistle. The victory was Canada's second this year against Sweden, with Sinclair scoring the winning goal in both victories. |
“It’s not the greatest goal you’ll ever see, but we’ll take it,” said Sinclair of her 22 November 2011 goal. “To score so late in the game was huge.”
Early in the match, Canada looked sharp and had control of the ball. The Canadian team just break through. Perhaps the best chance came shortly after the half-hour mark after Sinclair was sent through on Swedish goalkeeper Hedvig Lindahl. Sinclair shot from 12 metres out, but Lindahl made the save.
Late in the first half, Sweden hit the target with the Landström goal in the 44th minute. Landström connected for a thumping volley off a Swedish corner kick. Lisa Dahlkvist provided the assist.
In the second half, Canada made several changes and again pushed forward. On one chance, Sinclair sent Kelly Parker in for the chance, but Parker hit it wide left from 15 yards out.
Finally in the 75th minute, just a couple of minutes after her entry, Buckland evened the score 1-1. On the play, Kaylyn Kyle ran through on goal only to smash a right-footed drive off the post. Thankfully for Canada, Buckland was on the spot to finish off the rebound from just outside the six-yard box.
“I was so excited at just being able to come into the camp,” said Buckland after scoring her first international goal. “Coming on to score the equalizer was just ten times better.”
With the match level at 1-1, Sweden’s Sofia Jakobsson had two glorious chances to put her side ahead in the 86th and 88th minutes, but she failed to hit the target with either of her attempts from close range.
Canada capitalized soon thereafter.
Kaylyn Kyle swung an excellent corner to the back post where Emily Zurrer met the ball with a sharp header back across goal. Sinclair instinctively shaped her body up to the ball and ran off to the corner-flag in celebration after deflecting the header in with her stomach.
"It wasn't the prettiest goal, but we'll take it," said Sinclair, who now has 120 international goals in her career.
After going ahead so late, the match looked to be sealed for Canada. Sweden, however, was able to muster one final chance in the last minute of added time.
Lotta Schelin found herself alone in the Canadian box and dispatched a sharp shot to the far post, but goalkeeper Erin McLeod was on hand to make an impressive save with her left leg.
Only second later the referee signalled for full time.
For this match, Canada's starting XI featured Karina LeBlanc in goal, Rhian Wilkinson at right back, Candace Chapman and Carmelina Moscato at centre back, Lauren Sesselmann at left back, and Kaylyn Kyle, Desiree Scott, Christine Sinclair, Sophie Schmidt, Melissa Tancredi and Kelly Parker from the midfield up through to the attack.
At the start of the second half, coach John Herdman replaced LeBlanc with Erin McLeod (goal), Moscato with Emily Zurrer and Sesselmann with Melanie Booth. He then replaced Tancredi with Christina Julien (63rd minute), Scott with Alyscha Mottershead (73'), and Schmidt with Chelsea Buckland (73').
With this being Sweden's second match in its USA visit, coach Thomas Dennerby rotated roughly half of his starting lineup from the 1:1 draw against USA on 19 November. So against Canada, the Sweden XI featured Hedvig Lindahl in goal, Marina Pettersson Engström at right back, Emma Berglund and Linda Sembrant at centre back, Jessica Samuelsson at left back, Susanne Moberg, Nilla Fischer, Lisa Dahlkvist and Sofia Jakobsson at midfield, and Jessica Landström and Lotta Schelin up front.
In the second half, Dennerby replaced Samuelsson with Sara Thunebro (54'), Dahlkvist with Emmelie Konradsson (63'), and Moberg with Johanna Almgren (63').
Of note in the match, substitute Zurrer became the 25th player to make her 50th appearance for Canada. She of course capped the milestone match with an assist on the Sinclair goal. Also of note, substitute Mottershead made her international debut.
As for the result, it marked Canada's 14th victory of the season, a new national record. With an unbeaten string of six matches, Canada has 14 wins, four draws and six losses in 24 matches this 2011 season.
Canada tied its record of 24 international matches in a single season (equal with the record established in 2008). Starter Schmidt, the lone player to appear in every match, set the Canadian record for matches in a season (one better than Candace Chapman in 2008 and Kaylyn Kyle in 2011).
Also of note, this marks the first time Canada has won two matches against three-time FIFA Women's World Cup medalist Sweden in the same year. In the last six international match ups since 2005, Canada and Sweden have split the series three wins apiece.