Canada claim fourth place in Lebanon


CSA & Whitecaps FC

Canada's U-20 national team claimed a fourth-place finish in the men's soccer competition of the 2009 Francophone Games following a 3-1 defeat to Morocco in Monday's bronze medal match in Beirut, Lebanon.

Tony Fonseca's side, which included Vancouver Whitecaps FC midfielders Philippe Davies and Alex Semenets, faced their North African opponents for bronze after losing to Congo in a penalty shootout on Saturday.

It was Canada that opened the scoring following a miscue by Morocco goalkeeper Mohammed Sokhra on four minutes. Montreal Impact defender Alex Surprenant provided a great free kick into the box, where Sokhra misjudged the set-piece and knocked the ball into his own net. Two minutes later, however, Morocco levelled the match after breaching the Canadian backline.

Then after Surprenant saw his indirect free kick chance saved by Sokhra on 21 minutes, Morocco took the lead on 34 minutes off another Canadian defensive error.

Down a goal at halftime, Canada looked to restore parity five minutes after the break, Mozesh Gyorio’s shot flew just over the Morocco crossbar. At the other end, Canadian goalkeeper Michal Misiewicz kept the scoreline to 2-1 after saving a Morocco penalty by diving to his right.

The North Africans, however, were awarded another spot kick after Surprenant was adjudged to have handled the ball in his box on 79 minutes. On the spot kick, Misiewicz made the initial save, was play was blown dead after two Morocco players had illegally encroached into the box. It meant the penalty was retaken and duly converted by Morocco for 3-1.

Canada tried to battle back in the dying stages, with substitute Jarek Whiteman having a great chance to score on a breakaway. His chipped shot, however, went just over the Morocco crossbar.

In the gold medal match on Tuesday, Congo claimed the Francophone Games title after defeating African rivals Ivory Coast 5-3 on penalties following a goalless extra-time draw.