Canada locked on to a spot in the London 2012 Olympic Games with a decisive 3:1 triumph over Mexico on Friday in the semi-final of CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying.
Captain Christine Sinclair scored twice to lead the way and Melissa Tancredi chipped in with a goal as Canada thrilled a near-capacity crowd at BC Place in Vancouver.
After a tense opening spell, Sinclair managed to break the deadlock when she tallied a signature goal for Canada in the 15th minute.
Tancredi laid off a clever square ball to Sinclair who set the ball onto her left foot and unleashed a firm strike which left Mexican goalkeeper Cecilia Santiago with little hope of making the save.
It was Tancredi who played a key role again the 23rd minute when she scored to move Canada into a two-nil lead. Kelly Parker and Sinclair combined well before Parker slid a sharp cross in front to Tancredi who powered home the finish.
The second half began largely the same as the first with Canada carrying most of the possession in the early stages, but as desperation set in for Mexico the visitors upped their pace and began to create their own chances.
Karina LeBlanc was sharp while thwarting Mexico on a number of occasions before Veronica Perez blasted home a volley to slash the deficit to 2:1 in the 67th minute.
In the 75th minute, Tancredi played a curling through-ball over the top to Sinclair who was streaking behind the Mexican back-line. Sinclair lofted a chip over Santiago that bounced and found its way into the roof of the net to restore the two-goal advantage for Canada.
A crowd of 22,954 at BC Place – a record for CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying – attended the match. It was the second largest crowd for a women’s international “A” match in Canada (all competitions and friendlies).
Canada now goes up against the USA in the tournament final on Sunday.