Van Boxmeer and Canada Falls
Bangkok, Thailand - Canada's U19 Women lost their quarterfinal match On Sunday, Nov. 21, against China in Bangkok's National Stadium by a score of 3-1. Seconds after the match kicked off, Italian referee Anna De Toni threw the game on its head with two incredibly harsh decisions.
The Canadians were dealt a cruel blow in minute one when Xiaxou Lou found herself in alone on Stacey Van Boxmeer. The Canuck `keeper challenged the Chinese striker at the right corner of the six yard box but as the striker made her move to round Van Boxmeer she collapsed to the ground.
Without hesitation, De Toni immediately pointed to the penalty spot. But if the penalty wasn't enough, the Italian walked toward Van Boxmeer brandishing a red card.
The card forced Bridge to deputize Stephanie Labbe at the expense of Jodi-Ann Robinson. Labbe's first touch of the ball however was not a pleasant one as she was forced to pick the ball out of the back of her net.
Ying Zhang stepped up and coolly stroked her shot toward the left corner. Labbe, who guessed correctly, had to watch as the shot slid under her outstretched arm.
Suddenly the game started to unfold much like the Germany match 5 days ago; minus the two goal outburst by Canada.
China won a corner after a ricochet off Emily Zurrer rolled just past Labbe's left post. The corner was swung dangerously toward the Canadian goal and took a carom off the near post but Canada failed to clear and then compounded the issue by giving up a freekick at the top of box.
Zhang again took charge of the set-piece and hammered her shot past the wall and into the side netting.
Labbe had to be alert in the dying moments of the half when the Canadians failed to clear another corner. A Chinese player, left unmarked eight yards from the Canadian goal, dwelt on the ball far too long and Labbe closed the space quickly, blocking the ensuing shot superbly.
Despite some long range efforts that had the Chinese goalkeeper back-pedaling, the Canadians really didn't have a clear cut chance at beating Yanru Zhang in the opening half.
But again it was a freekick from Kara Lang that got the Canadians on the board; this time an hour into the encounter.
Lang's thunderous freekick from the Chinese side of the centre circle dipped as it reached the Chinese keeper. Zhang made a feeble attempt to catch the rasping shot but in the end, palmed it into the path of the wrong woman.
Brittany Timko, who seems to have a knack for being in the right spot, side-footed her seventh of the tournament past a helpless Zhang.
But unlike the thrilling comeback against Germany, Canada surrendered another immediately after clawing back into the match.
A long ball played over the top of the Canadian back three saw two Chinese advance toward Labbe. The Canadian keeper misplayed her clearance and China's Sa Liu, who had just entered the game seconds before, had the easiest of tap-ins to regain the two goal advantage.
Canada desperately pressed forward in search of another but China's defense stood firm. In the end, Canada couldn't overcome the early hole they found themselves in and limped off the National Stadium field for the last time.
Canadian Head Coach, Ian Bridge, praised his troops for their fight and determined approach to the game after the early decision.
"The team's performance, under the circumstances, was wonderful. Once we went down to 10 men it was always going to be difficult, especially against a team like China."
"When we made it 2-1, I thought there was a chance but giving up the third goal made it far too difficult to come back."
Canada will now return home on 22 November without the prize they had coveted.
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