Lions held in Pachuca
Thursday, 23 June, 2011
Freakish late goal from 'keeper seals unlikely point for Canada.
By James Marshall in Pachuca
Click here to watch highlights of the game via FIFA.com.
It was 25 years to the day that Diego Maradona produced the ‘hand of god’ goal to knock England out of the 1986 World Cup in Mexico.
The result and opposition was different this time, but it did feature another extraordinary goal. It wasn’t a hand-ball as it was back in 1986, but a freak clearance-cum-shot from goalkeeper Quillan Roberts that levelled things up with only minutes remaining, sealing a first ever U17 point for Canada. After smashing a hopeful ball up-field and seeing it bounce over everyone it carried on past a despairing Jordan Pickford into the England net.
England had looked on course for three points which would have secured their passage to the last 16 after goals from Adam Morgan and Blair Turgott gave the Young Lions a deserved lead. But the Canadians proved a courageous team and stayed in contention until the very end when they found their fortuitous equaliser.
Head Coach John Peacock made three changes to the side that beat Rwanda 2-0 last Sunday, with Matthew Regan, Nathan Redmond and Adam Morgan coming into the team in place of Brad Smith, Blair Turgott and Hallam Hope respectively.
As they did in their first game, England dominated most of the possession in the opening stages and created a number of half-chances. Raheem Sterling was first to test Roberts with a stinging shot from outside the box, which forced a great save from the 'keeper who was only playing because of an injury to the Canucks' regular first-choice.
Nick Powell, John Lundstram, Matt Regan, Sam Magri and Morgan all then had attempts at goal but either missed the target or couldn’t find their way past a well organised Canadian defence, to end a frustrating first 45 minutes for England.
England started the second-half eager to find the breakthrough that was needed to secure a win and potential passage to the last 16 of the competition and they didn’t have to wait long to find it!
Straight from kick-off, Canada gave the ball away and the pacy Sterling drove at the Canucks defence before being upended just outside the left-hand side of the area. A swinging cross followed from Powell and Morgan was well placed in the box to glance a header past Roberts.
However it wasn’t all plain sailing for England from there, as completely against the run of play Canada sprung back into action and levelled the scores within five minutes. A fierce strike from Keven Aleman was well saved by Pickford, but the rebound fell to Sadi Jalali who was well placed to slot home from close range. This wasn’t in the script!
Canada gained confidence from this and continued to defend well to keep out the England attack, resulting in Peacock making two changes to try and force a winner with Max Clayton and Turgott both introduced.
It was totally justified by Peacock too, as Turgott was only on the field for four minutes when he received the ball 25 yards out and skipped past two defenders before unleashing a thunderous strike into the top right hand corner of the net, leaving Roberts grasping at thin air.
Roberts was to have the last laugh though to complete a memorable night for Canada, who now go into their final group game knowing that a win against Rwanda will give them a chance of progressing, depending on how England go on against Uruguay.
In the group's other game, Uruguay squeezed out Rwanda with a last minute header from Leonardo Pais to secure their place in the Second Phase.