Canada earned its second victory of the 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup with a 4-1 win over Haiti Thursday. The Canadians were all but assured of advancing to the quarterfinals, but still needed to wait for the result of the Martinique and USA to be certain.
Canada head coach John Herdman saw his side pushed to the limit by the Haitians and was aware the final result was still in the balance until late in the game, despite the eventual comfortable scoreline.
“With Haiti, they’re never going away,” said Herdman after the game. “They always find a way, through their athleticism, their spirit to keep fighting. They’re a hard team. I’m just pleased we don’t have to play them again for another few years.”
Cyle Larin scores twice
Canada took an early lead when Stephen Eustáquio scored his second of the Gold Cup direct from a free kick in the fifth minute. But Canada were unable to add anymore goals in the first half as Haiti grew into the game and often put the Canadian under pressure.
Cyle Larin doubled Canada’s lead in the 51st minute before Stéphane Lambèse finally rewarded Haiti for their first half effort. But Canada secured the three points with two penalties, first from Cyle Larin and then from Junior Hoilett.
Canada lacks sharpness but in good shape
Herdman acknowledged his players’ lack of sharpness but understood why.
“I think our boys showed again that resilience, to just keep pushing through,” said Herdman. “I thought we were, generally, a bit loose today in the midfield. Loose all over the pitch.
“The guys started to look like they were fatiguing a bit. I think the training and the previous game just catching up on those starters. It wasn’t as crisp. It wasn’t as sharp as I’d expect.”
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But Herdman is still happy with how the group stage has developed overall, with Thursday’s win over Haiti and Saturday’s 4-1 win over Martinique.
“Second game of a tournament, that’s eight goals (and) two against. So, we’re in a good space.”
Next Canada face USA Sunday, likely to determine who finishes the group in first place, depending on the USA vs Martinique game.