Field Hockey Canada > Tri-Nations Tournament Blog - Game 2

Tri-Nations Tournament Blog – Game 2

June 8, 2014 | Field Hockey Canada |

Written by Matthew Sarmento

On Match Day 2 of the Mexico Tri-Nations tournament, Canada played host to Cuba. After a 3-1 loss to Mexico in their opener, Canada was determined to get a positive result against the Cubans.

After surrendering a corner in the first few moments of the game, Canada responded admirably by establishing a successful press and controlling a majority of possession through the first quarter of the match.

This control of play led to the opening goal in the 16th minute by forward Matthew Sarmento. Keegan Pereira headed a counter attack for Canada and found midfielder John Smythe in the circle.

His initial attempt was saved by the Cuban net-minder but Sarmento was able to pounce on the loose rebound giving Canada the 1-0 lead. In the 19th minute, forward Rohan Chopra was struck in the hand by a Cuban defender, breaking his left index finger and ruling him out for the remainder of the tournament.

Despite the loss of a player, the Canadians showed great character through the remainder of the first half and were able to keep the score at 1-0.

Possession swayed back and forth between the two nations for first ten minutes of the second half, but momentum slowly started to favour Cuba as Canada received a yellow card, thus bringing them down to ten men, in the 46th minute.

Two minutes later, Cuba converted a penalty corner and leveled the score at 1-1. Canada was issued a second yellow card in the 50th minute and was forced to play with nine men. However, after Canada’s first yellow card had expired, Jannu Mahal stepped onto the pitch and intercepted a Cuban defender’s pass and led a two versus one with Harp Virdi.

The two midfielders linked up excellently and Mahal was able to beat the outstretched keeper. Score: Canada 2, Cuba 1 with 19 minutes left to play. The two nations traded scoring opportunities in the final minutes of the game but neither team was able to convert.

The final whistle blew and Canada had earned their first points of the tournament.

With Canada’s third game being a friendly, their points were set after the round robin. Canada finished with 3 points and a -1 goal differential.

Match Day 3 sees Canada vs. Mexico B and Cuba vs. Mexico A. Canada will await the result of the Cuba/Mexico game to see if they will play on Sunday, June 9th in the final.