The gulf in class heading into Friday’s World Cup qualifier between Canada and Mexico was known, but to see it in action let you see first hand exactly how wide that gulf is and how far Canada needs to increase it’s footballing intellect to become any sort of player on the world stage.
A record-breaking 54,798 fans crammed in to BC Place to see Mexico run out easy 3-0 winners. First half goals from Chicharito and Hirving Lozano set the Mexicans on their way, before Jesús Manuel Corona added a third.
Canada had their chances, some really excellent ones. Had they taken them, would it have made much of a difference to the final outcome? Hard to think so, but it would have done so much for the team’s confidence for the remaining three qualifiers.
AFTN photographer Tom Ewasiuk was there to capture all the action before, during and after the game and here’s his “Story In Pictures”, with a full Flickr slideshow at the end.[Also check out Tom’s website www.residualimagephotography.com for more of his photos and work].
And through the smoke, they came for glory
The entrance to the arena awaits
The Voyageurs do their bit to get the guys ready for battle
The Voyageurs “Canadian Flag, baby” tifo
Canada’s starting eleven
Milan Borjan stood on his head in the first half with a number of quality saves, this one from Hector Herrera in the 12th minute
After withstanding some early pressure, Junior Hoilett had a great opportunity to give Canada a shock 21st minute lead, but blasted wildy over
You’ve got to do better with chances like that at this level and Hoilett knows it
Four minutes later and Cyle Larin has another Canadian chance but takes a touch too many, runs out of a decent angle and hits a horrible shot into the stratosphere
At the other, Borjan was still staying strong, with a sprawling stop to deny Andres Guardado in the ‘Battle of the 18s’
But Canada’s resolve was finally crack and their missed opportunities punished when Chicharito rose to get his head on the end of a Miguel Layun cross in the 31st minute
Powerfully heading home to give Mexico a 1-0 lead
As Chicharito celebrates, it was now an uphill battle for Canada
Mexico applied the pressure, looking for the killer blow, and were denied by both posts four minutes later
But Canada tried to fight back, only for Hoilett to fire high again after doing well to create the chance
And once again Canada were punished for not taking their limited opportunities when Hirving Lozano left Adam Straith for dead, bore down on goal and fire a fierce shot past a helpless Borjan for 2-0 Mexico
It was all over now bar the shouting. Or was it? Yes. Yes it was.
Atiba Hutchinson went crashing in the box just before half time, but staying on his feet and getting a shot off was the much preferred option. Either way, no penalty
Great Scott! Half time sub Scott Arfield makes his Canadian debut and forces the first save of the match from Mexico keeper Alfredo Talavera in the 53rd minute. He’s not Scottish any more.
Chicharito thought he’d grabbed his second and Mexico’s thirs just before the hour mark, but his strike was ruled out for offside
Mexico would soon make it 3-0 though in the 72nd minute when a poor headed clearance by a poor Doneil Henry comes back in to Jesus Manuel Corona, who buries it past Borjan, who got a hand on it. Good Friday for Jesus.
Borjan’s look sums up Canada’s night
Mexico were toying with Canada now and Marco Fabian nearly added a fourth when his volley crashed off the bar
Scott Arfield is played through in stoppage time, but Talavera’s leg denies him, and injures him in the process
A stunning record-breaking crowd at BC Place
And that was all she wrote. A great occasion, a lot to still learn, but most importantly Canada’s qualification hopes remain in their own hands after El Salvador’s 2-2 draw with Honduras
You can see all of Tom’s photos from the game HERE or in our Flick slideshow below: