Canadian women put on better show but fail to score in 0-0 soccer draw with Brazil

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CARTAGENA, Spain — Canada posted its fourth straight clean sheet, playing Brazil to a scoreless draw in an international women's soccer friendly Monday.

It was a better showing from the Canadians than in their 0-0 draw Friday against the 27th-ranked Czech Republic at the same venue, an empty Estadio Cartagonova. Canada moved the ball quickly and created chances, albeit without converting, in its final outing before coach Bev Priestman names her Olympic roster.

Canada, which has not scored in its last 184 minutes, came close in the 85th minute only to see Shelina Zadorsky's header off a corner hit the goalpost. A Brazilian shot went just wide soon after.

Priestman had 28 players in camp, not counting forward Janine Beckie who returned home after suffering an undisclosed injury. She plans to cut that down to the mandated Olympic roster of 18, plus four alternates, sooner than later.

The eighth-ranked Canadian women open the Tokyo Olympics on July 21 against host Japan before facing Chile and Britain. No. 7 Brazil is in a group with China, the Netherlands and Zambia.

Canada blanked No. 6 England (2-0) and No. 23 Wales (3-0) in April.

The Canadians came into the game with an 8-9-7 record all-time against the Brazilians, a record that includes a 2-1 Canada victory in the bronze medal match at the 2016 Rio Olympics. Canada lost 2-0 to Brazil last time they met at the SheBelieves Cup in Florida in February.

Priestman made seven changes to the team that tied the Czechs, with only captain Christine Sinclair, Kadeisha Buchanan, Nichelle Prince and Jessie Fleming retaining their place in the starting 11.

Kailen Sheridan started in goal behind an experienced backline of Ashley Lawrence, Buchanan, Zadorsky and Allysha Chapman. Desiree Scott, Jessie Fleming and Quinn, who goes by one name, were in the midfield with Sinclair, Prince and Deanne Rose up front.

With the exception of veteran keeper Stephanie Labbe and the injured Beckie, it probably represented Priestman's elite starting unit with a total of1,077 caps going into the match. Sinclair earned cap No. 299.

Sheridan, making her 11th senior appearance, was the only member of the starting 11 to have fewer than 50 caps.

It was an entertaining back-and-forth first half.

The teams each had a shot on target in the first 10 minutes, easily handled by the 'keepers.

Sinclair and others appealed unsuccessfully for handball in the 22nd minute when a Quinn header off a Canadian corner appeared to go off a Brazilian arm. Marta dispossessed Lawrence soon, after bodying the fullback to the ground, and drove towards the Canadian penalty box, only to see her shot blocked by Buchanan.

The Brazilians began to find space down the flanks with Beatriz and Debinha coming close. At the other end, Brazilian 'keeper Barbara came well out of her penalty box in the 37th minute to get to the ball with Deanne Rose charging her way.

A Canadian free kick proved nervy late in the half when Barbara's clearing punch only sent the ball to a Canadian. But the ensuing shot was blocked in a congested Brazilian penalty box.

Barbara was much better in the 44th minute, reaching high to parry away a looping Fleming shot from distance.

Jordyn Huitema came on for Prince to start the second half. Julia Grosso, Adriana Leon, Sophie Schmidt and Evelyne Viens followed in the second half.

Barbara made a fine one-handed, close-range save off Quinn in the 54th minute when a Brazilian clearance went right to the Canadian midfielder at the far post. Quinn had a more difficult chance off the ensuing corner, sending their shot high.

The Brazilians had a scary moment soon after when a defender's pass back to Barbara was a little of target and rolled slowly towards the open goal before the Brazilian 'keeper chased it down.

Sheridan, making her first start for Canada since suffering a thigh injury in February at the SheBelieves Cup, had a solid outing.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 14, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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