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  • Writer's pictureElias Laradi

Soccer: Canada edge Brazil on penalties to reach She Believes Cup Final

Kadeisha Buchanan makes a header for Canada.against Brazil in the SheBelieves Cup
Canada's Kadeiha Buchanan wins an aerial challenge against Brazil on Saturday. (Photo Credit: The Canadian Press)

Canada will have an early chance at redemption against the US after edging Brazil on penalties in the SheBelieves Cup semi-final in Atlanta, beating them 4-2 after the game finished level 1-1.

“We knew were playing a physical Brazil team”, Bev Priestman told the media after the game. “We wanted to try something different tactically - you could argue it didn’t work but it showed what it could do.

When you play tier-one teams, I’m more interested in how this young group responds.”

Bev Priestman attempted a change in formation having a diamond in the midfield and Jesse Fleming as the lone midfielder but it had Fleming running all over the park.

“Last time we played Brazil they matched us in our normal formation. They approached the game differently. We had to make some tweaks at half-time to have an extra midfield in there. They caused us some problems down the side and we had to adapt.” - Canadian Head Coach, Bev Priestman

Saturday's game being hosted at the Mercedez Benz Stadium in Atlanta saw the return of Janine Beckie who had been out the entire year due to tearing her ACL.

“That was the reality around our wingback position. Gabby is being managed for this game. Bianca hasn’t played a full 90 minutes. Janine has some technical ability. Full credit to Janine-she came out for the midfield. Nothing to do with her performance.”

10 minutes into the game Beckie had Canada’s first dangerous scoring opportunity when she found herself on a breakaway but her shot got deflected by a Brazilian defender and rolled into the keeper Tai Borges hands.

Three minutes later, Beckie had another chance as Deanne Rose was able to time a perfect cross into the box but her header sailed wide.  Shortly after, Brazil was awarded a penalty as Jade Rose fouled a Brazilian player in the box and in the 22nd minute, Tarciane beat Kailen Sheridan from the spot to open the scoring.

“She can make saves not other keepers can make”, Priestman said when talking about her keeper. “ There was some body on the line mindset tonight.”

Brazil riding the momentum of scoring first kept attacking and throwing everything at Canada forcing Sheridan to make game-saving stops to keep her team alive.

Cloe Lacasse had a chance at goal in the 35th minute but was denied by Tai Borges who was also putting up a good performance. At the other end seven minutes Sheridan stopped Brazilian midfielder Yaya.

Adriana Leon had a chance near the end of the first half but again couldn’t beat Tai Borges.

In the 60th minute Brazil still looked hungry for more and off a dangerous opportunity Sheridan came up clutch once again.

Canada equalized the game in the 77th minute as off a set piece free kick Jessie Fleming sent a ball in the box and Vanessa Gilles was able to head the ball into the back of the net.

90 minutes solved nothing so the game went into penalty kicks to decide a winner. Brazil made a switch in goal subbing out Tai Borges for Lorena who is normally their number-one goalkeeper.

Check out our interview with Abe Gordon (92.9 The Game) where chatted about the SheBelieves Cup and more!

In round one, Ashley Lawrence and Marta were denied by both goalkeepers in stunning fashion.

“On the penalties, we had learnings from the USA - Kailen put a lot of time into studying the opposition.”

In round two, both Leon and Christiane scored while in round three, Rose scored but Antonia was denied by Sheridan. In round four, Atlanta-born Simi Awujo made it 3-1 for Canada while Tarciane converted for the second time.

“To see two young kids step up and take that bravery - Simi is a hometown hero now. I was happy we took a step forward in the penalty space because I didn’t think they were good in the US game.” - Bev Priestman on the shootout performance by Canada

The fifth and final round saw Julia Grosso who scored the game-winner in the shootout against Sweden in the gold medal game at the Tokyo Olympics do it again to seal the win for Canada.

“She’s been impressive”, Priestman responded when asked about Grosso's performance. “ She’s been physical and playing well. She’s a golden girl, and stepped up and did what she does.”

Canada will now travel to Columbus, Ohio to face the US on Tuesday night at Field and revenge is in play after losing to them in March in the W Gold Cup semifinal.

The previous meeting in San Diego was marred by a torrential downpour that had people questioning if the game should have been played but CONCACAF opted to play it.

Canada lost in the penalty shootout on that night and will look to make things right and do something that hasn’t been done in 20 years - beat the US on American soil.

“It’s great to get a good test again. What’s hard for us is good for us and we need these tactical and physical challenges and the USA will bring them. We want a trophy. I hope we go in with the same belief we had at the Gold Cup."


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