By FRANCO PANIZO
Losing four players before kickoff was just the start of what ultimately was a disastrous day for Cuba and a positive one for Canada.
The Canadians compounded on Cuba’s misery on Friday night, grabbing a 3-0 win against the already-eliminated team in front of a crowd of 17,712 at BMO Field. Cuba only had 11 men in uniform for the match that moved Canada into first place in Group C after a handful of players reportedly defected, and the Cubans just could not cope with the loss of firepower or the inspired Canadians.
Playing without the injured Dwayne De Rosario, the hosts jumped out in front in the 14th minute off a goal from Tosaint Ricketts before proceeding to waste a number of chances throughout the remainder of the match. Canada had 35 shots in the game, but still only managed to score one through the first 72 minutes.
Still, the Cubans did not prove to be much of a threat and Will Johnson and David Edgar scored six minutes apart midway through the second half to leave no doubt as to who would be the victors.
Both teams were reduced to 10 men in the second half. Cuban striker Roberto Linares was shown a red card in the 70th minute and three minutes later Canada forward Oliver Occean received the same fate.
Honduras and Panama will play in the other Group C match on Friday night, and a win by the Panamanians would place them back in the top spot of the group as well as secure their advancement to the Hexagonal round of World Cup qualifying with one game left in this semifinal round.
What do you think of Canada’s 3-0 win? Surprised by the amount of reported defections by Cuban players? Do you see Canada advancing to the Hex?
Share your thoughts below.