Canadian players celebrate one of their goals against Martinique. (Photo courtesy of Canada Soccer)
KANSAS CITY, Kansas – Canada overcame an early one-goal deficit and recorded a 4-1 in over Martinique in the Group B opener for both teams at the Concacaf Gold Cup at Children’sMercy Park Sunday night.
Cyle Larin, Jonathan Osorio, Stephen Eustáquio and Theo Corbeanu scored for Canada. It was the Maple Leafs’ seventh win in a row.
“It’s going to be tight in this group. Everyone wants to win the group to control their destiny for the next round. To get a +3 (goal differential) tonight, I’m happy about that,” head coach John Herdman said. “I’m really pleased we got that test early with the response straight back on task. At this stage of the tournament, we needed something like that.”
Canada was aggressive early with Tajon Buchanan pushing forward before he was taken down in an advanced position leading to an early free kick in the third minute. Hoilett put in a dangerous ball in that was cleared by Martinique.
Mark-Anthony Kaye’s back pass attempt was intercepted by Sebastien Cretinoir in the 10th minute. Cretinoir played in to Emanuelle Riviere whose touch eventually found the side netting despite a sliding attempt to clear by Kaye.
Canada equalized at 1-1 in the 16th minute on a corner kick. Junior Hoilett put a well weighted ball onto Larin’s right boot as he buried it on the volley.
Buchanan got to the goal line in the 20th minute. His ball back into the box to Jonathan Osorio was re-directed by Osario just wide of keeper Gilles to give Canada the 2-1 lead.
Buchanan was at it again with another drive down the left side in the 27th minute. He played it to Hoilett, who turned his back on goal and played it back to goalscorer Eustáquio. Canadian midfielder Eustáquio fired his low shot to earn his first international goal and give Canada a 3:1 lead.
Steven Vitória had another excellent goal scoring opportunity when he fired a shot from outside the box that was tipped over the bar by the Martinique goalkeeper in the 34th minute.
Richie Laryea showed his defensive qualities in transition in the 72’ sprinting back to take the ball away after Martinique found themselves in possession on the transition.
Second-half substitute Theo Corbeanu had a free kick go just wide of the post on a free kick from just outside the 18 in the 87th minute. Two minutes later, Corbeanu finished at the back post on a brilliant ball through from second half substitute Lucas Cavallini after picking up the back pass by Martinique for the fourth goal.
“We started off a bit slow, conceded an early goal but reacted well as a team,” Hoilett said. “We have to keep the same intensity going into the next game, keep pushing for goals and get a clean sheet.”