Nassau, New Providence | Malcolm Park Beach Soccer and Futsal Facility
Canada opened their campaign at the 2017 CONCACAF Beach Soccer Championship with a 6-4 win over Barbados. The scoring was opened at the Malcolm Park Beach Soccer Facility in Nassua, Bahamas, by Marc Jankovic in the second minute, converting Vincent Cournoyer's throw out with a spectacular bicycle kick. Jankovic would go on to score four goals on the day, putting a Bajan defence to the sword and sealing the win in the opening game of the tournament. Canada will next be in action tomorrow evening when they face Mexico.
Canada took an important early lead in just the second minute of play through Marc Jankovic. Vincent Cournoyer, playing in the Canadian net, collected the ball and threw a flat arc towards the tall Canadian forward, unmarked in front of goal. He didn't give the defence time to react, hitting the ball first-time with a bicycle kick, beating the onrushing Mario Albert and leaving the Barbadian team flatfooted.
Barbados claimed the lead with two quick goals in the 5th and 6th minutes through Jamar Grazette and Jamal Chandler both converting rebounds and deflections on the Canadian doorstep. Canada roared back with three unanswered markers of their own, Jankovic starting the comeback with a penalty in the 9th minute, calmly slotting the ball into the bottom left corner.
This comeback was continued in the second period when Danilo Pessoa, who started on the substitute bench, collected a long throw from Cournoyer in the 15th minute. With his back to goal, he did well to turn around Tito Grazette and let fly a low shot, seeming to catch Albert unawares. The Bajan keeper got his hands to it, but couldn't prevent the ball from creeping over the line and giving Canada a 3-2 lead.
Marc Jankovic completed his hat-trick in the 17th minute of play. Ian Bennett benefitted from the good battling of Nazim Belgeuendouz in the middles of the field and found himself with space on the left. His centred pass was speculative, but very poorly dealt with by the defence, and Jankovic was able to crash the back post and slot the ball home.
Barbados refused to capitulate in the face of the Canadian offence, scoring twice either side of the second period break to tie the game at 4-4. First, Andre Pinder got on the score sheet in the 21st minute, neatly finishing after a long pass from the defence, and then Tito Grazette was able to snag the equalizer when he finished off Jamar Grazette's flick on from Albert's long throw.
Canada's fifth goal was the result of some very slick team play in the 27th minute. Jankovic was held up on the left wing with his back to goal and flicked the ball to the advancing Belguendouz in the middle. He took the ball on his chest and volleyed it on to Maxime Lecomte, who was able to lunge after the rolling pass and stab it into the bottom left corner of the net, making the score 5-4 to Canada.
As good as Jankovic's opening goal was, his fourth was possibly even better. A speculative lobbed pass from the Bajan defence was cleared by Belguendouz and found it's way to Jankovic in the middle of the field. He took one touch to steady the ball and himself, and his second was a ferocious shot hit on the volley that arced towards the top left corner, leaving Albert completely stranded and finishing the scoring for the game, with Canada running out 6-4 winners.
LINEUPS & NOTES:
Canada's starting lineup featured Vincent Cournoyer in goal, with Adrian Cann, Ian Bennett (c), Nazim Belguendouz, and Mark Jankovic playing in the field.
Head Coach Kyt Selaidopolous was joined on the bench by substitutes Anthony Alves, Maxime Lecomte, Danilo Pessoa and Daniel Chamale.
Barbados' starting lineup featured Mario Albert in goal, with Tito Grazette, Romelle Burgess, Jamal Chandler, and Duan Best starting in the field.
Head Coach Ryan Brewster was on the bench alongside substitutes Tyrell Clarke, Jamar Grazette, Andre Pinder and Tito Beckles.