Canada v Cuba: World Cup qualifier

Let’s go with some live blogging for this one. Field really does not look that bad. It’s not great and Gerry Dobson is saying it’s hard and bumpy but the bigger problem is it’s 32 degrees and very humid.

For me, Canada needs to control the pace of this game and pick their moments to attack.

Game on.

For all the talk of the pitch, so far, I see both teams, but particularly Cuba, having few problems passing and receiving.

Cool seeing sizeable contingent of Canadians in the crowd but it’s a poorly played game so far. Hard to say yet if it’s down to the quality of the players or the quality of the conditions.

This game is rapidly devolving into pedestrian midfield drudgery and the pursuit of attacking third free kicks (which the ref is willing to give for anything approaching contact accompanied by a flop).

De Rosario hits the bar on what is clearly Canada’s best chance of the half. It that goes in right before the half time whistle I think we have the ability to suck it up, shut it down and get out of Havana with three points. Now it’s still a frustrating battle in the second half.

Meanwhile I’m watching Russia v Czech Republic during the half time break and wondering if it’s the same sport I’m watching.

Got to catch a stunner by the Russians to go up 1-0 before the start of the second half in Cuba.

Fatigued defending is going to cost Canada. Hart may have to consider some changes soon as Cuba have two quality chances in quick succession. This is a rough phase for Canada right now.

Goal for Canada! Excellent cross from Edgar to Occean who slipped between two defenders and smacked a header in nicely. 35 minutes to three points. This won’t be easy.

At some point another holding mid has to come on for Canada and that may mean we’re looking to 17 year old Samuel Piette to do a job for us. Supposedly he’s incredibly fit but having to rely on a player that young with just one cap (last 5 mins against the States last week) is not exactly comforting.

Canada really showing some determination and guile in the last ten minutes to hold onto this win. Simeon Jackson keeping possession against two defenders and driving a shot near post to force the keeper to give away a corner. Very smart. De Rosario killing some time off a free kick. Good control of the pace of the game when needed most.

Just need to clear this corner in the last minute…

Well done! Injury time now.

Can’t remember the last time I was so content to watch a really ugly game. Three points that had to be had. Hoping Honduras beat Panama tonight and we get at least a draw against them on Monday in Toronto. Great start. Professional performance in ugly conditions.

Still have no idea what Hirshfeld was doing on the hand ball outside the box. McKenna had held off the Cuban attacker and while it was difficult, it was 7 out of 10 difficult, not impossible, for Hirshfeld to take that ball cleanly inside his box or simply head it away. Stuff like that ends up being the difference between three points and one point and in the end I’ll be surprised if Canada’s fate in this group is decided by any more than two points.

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3 Responses to Canada v Cuba: World Cup qualifier

  1. cutleron says:

    Grass is definitely long and grabby, but we can’t complain. I’ve seen WCQ at Swangard, at Varsity Stadium, and in Winnipeg where we’ve left the grass long so the likes of Costa Rica and Mexico can’t play! Taste of our own medicine.

  2. cutleron says:

    Is that a $50 2011 Champions’ League ball??????
    That was too close.

    • Gregor says:

      Looks like it. All 10 000 Cubans in the crowd are devising a way to nick it. If they do it before the game’s over we’re stuck with a 1976 Surridge Cobbler donated by a youth club in 1977.

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