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Hapless Haitians hammered by Canadian women


Christine Sinclair scored four goals and set up another to lead Canada to a convincing 6-0 win over Haiti in both teams’ opening match of the CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying tournament.

Canada’s all-time leading scorer raised her goal count to 124 putting, her just two  behind American star striker Abby Wambach, who’ll lead the United States in the eight-nation competition. Earlier in the week, Wambach praised Sinclair in a story calling her the best all-around player in the world.

“It wasn’t very good was it?” Canada coach John Herdman said facetiously when asked about Sinclair’s play. “She’s outstanding, you know, I think certain players just rise to the occasion. You bring Christine home and all the girls have been excited to play in Canada and some of them haven’t played a tournament here before, so for Christine to do it it’s like come with the hour come with the woman and she can do it under any pressure under any circumstances. She took the match ball home tonight and she’ll cherish this one.”

Christina Julien and Kelly Parker added goals for Canada to help seventh-ranked Canada join Costa Rica atop Group A after Thursday’s results. Both teams have three points after the Central Americans beat Cuba in the first game of the Group A doubleheader.

The favourite to win Group A, Canada must advance to the final of the tournament to secure one of two berths for CONCACAF in the Summer Olympics in London.

Looking to start strong before the partisan home crowd of 7,627 at B.C. Place, Canada was aggressive early and was rewarded in the seventh minute.

Parker took a loose ball in the Haitian zone and fed it forward to Sinclair.  Canada’s captain then crossed the ball to an unmarked Julien, who slipped it by goalkeeper Ednie Limage for her 10th career goal.

Canada made it a two-goal lead in the 25th minute capitalizing on a bad giveaway by Haiti in its own end. Sinclair took a pass off a giveaway and sent a low shot that Limage got her leg on, but couldn’t prevent from rolling into the goal.

Sinclair added her second of the game in the 44th minute after a series of nifty passes deep in the Haitian penalty area.  Again, Parker and Julien figured in on the scoring with Parker taking the ball along the end line and crossing the ball into the middle. Julien took it and fed to Sinclair who sent the ball low by Limage.

A beautiful behind-the-back flip from Melissa Tancredi helped Sinclair record her third goal and 10th career hat trick.  Tancredi took a loose ball off a Fiorda Charles clearance, corralled it and kicked it back over her head to an oncoming Sinclair who took it and sent it low by Limage.

Earlier in the week, Wambach praised Sinclair in a story, calling her the best all-around player in the world.

Sinclair, though, wasn’t finished scoring her fourth in the 85th minute on a penalty after Parker was hauled down in the penalty area.

Parker then rounded out the scoring in the 90th minute with a shot that just rolled over the goal line inside the post.

The game wasn’t without negatives for Canada as starting left back Lauren Sesselman, canada’s lone American-born player, left the game in first half-stoppage time with an undisclosed leg injury.  Vancouver Whitecap Chelsea Stewart took her place at the start of the second half.

Limage, Haiti’s lone bright spot with some big saves, left in the game in the 63rd minute after a collision with defender Samantha Brand. Limage’s leg was put in a brace and she was tended to by paramedics on the sidelines. Backup goalkeeper Geralda Saintilus replaced her and allowed two goals.

“They’re quite shocked, quite physically and mentally beaten the score, 6-0 is one that’s quite significant for them,” said Haiti coach Ronald Luxieux through an interpreter. “They’re reeling from that… they’re reeling from their injured player. Samantha as well, its her best friend and so she’s reeling from the shock of that.”

Before the game both teams paused for a moment of silence in memory of Canadian freestyle skier Sarah Burke who passed away earlier Thursday after succumbing to injuries suffered in a recent skiing accident.

Once the game started, Canada’s players sported special magenta-coloured headbands to support the Because I Am a Girl initiative in partnership with Plan Canada.

Canada will next face Cuba on Saturday, while Costa Rica will take on Haiti.


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