Canadian girls put boots to China

Canada's Diana Matheson celebrates her goal against China with teammate Melissa Tancredi and ...

Canada's Diana Matheson celebrates her goal against China with teammate Melissa Tancredi and Christine Sinclair. (REUTERS/Mike Cassese)

Gareth Wheeler, Special to Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 10:29 PM ET

TORONTO - The Canadian women’s national soccer team kicked its preparation for next month’s CONCACAF World Cup qualifying into high gear with a 3-1 win over China at the National Soccer Stadium Wednesday night.

Canadian head coach Carolina Morace’s side looked much more comfortable on the ball than the team she inherited a year and a half ago, boding well for its hopes of qualifying for the 2011 women’s World Cup in Germany.

Ancaster’s Melissa Tancredi scored Canada’s second-half winner. The striker rewarded right-back Rhian Wilkinson’s surging run, beating her defender to the pass, hitting it past goalkeeper Zhang Yangru.

Christine Sinclair, 2009 Canadian women’s player of the year, put the game out of reach in the 68th minute. A classy build-up through Kara Lang and Josée Belanger sent in Sinclair with work to do. Like the true goal-scorer she is, Sinclair picked her spot before driving home her 102nd goal in 140 appearances for Canada.

The 27-year old Sinclair was in a league of her own all night, displaying unmatched power, speed and strength on the ball.

Oakville’s Diana Matheson opened the scoring in the 23rd minute. Sinclair found the diminutive midfielder inside the 18-yard box, with Matheson taking a textbook touch before unleashing a low left-footed strike near post.

Canada’s only blemish was an uncharacteristic mistake from veteran goalkeeper Karina LeBlanc. Zhang Na’s low drive from 35 yards handcuffed LeBlanc, with the ball squirting through her legs, just crossing over the goal line.

Canada’s World Cup qualification tournament begins October 28th in Cancun, Mexico. The top two teams in the eight-team CONCACAF tournament qualify for the World Cup. The third place team in CONCACAF plays the fifth place team from European qualification for an additional World Cup birth.


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