Recap: Pizzilli, Armenia rally to beat Canada 3-1 in Cyprus

Red & White struggle in first match of 2012

Despite going up a goal in just the fifth minute of play, Canada fell 3-1 to a dominant Armenia side in a friendly played in Cyprus on Wednesday.

Canada's starting line-up included Vancouver Whitecaps FC Residency alum Adam Straith. 

The Canadians opened the scoring, with Kevin McKenna latching on to a well-struck Julian de Guzman corner kick and nodding the ball past Armenian goalkeeper Roman Berezovsky.

Armenia responded in the 23rd minute off a low, hard 20-yard shot from Brazilian-born Marcos Pizzeli after the Canadian defence failed to close their opponents down. The goal gave the Armenians life, and the ensuing pressure pinned Canada into their own half for long stretches of the first half.

The Canucks rode out the pressure until the halftime break, and started the second frame on a more positive note. A couple of offensive forays by Simeon Jackson and Tosaint Ricketts went unrewarded, however, and Armenia eventually regained their dominance.

In the 67th minute, Pizzeli doubled his tally after pouncing on a loose ball that had bounced back into play off the Canadian crossbar. The Armenian striker made no mistake in firing home a shot from 10 yards out.

The European side were not satisfied with just two goals, and kept hitting the Canadian backline with speed from Pizzeli and former Real Salt Lake striker Yura Movsisyan, who was the most active attacker on the pitch for his 73 minutes of play.

Former Whitecaps FC striker Marcus Haber came on for Canada on 81 minutes.

Armenia put the nail in the Canadians’ coffin in time added on, when Aras Ozbiliz successfully converted a penalty kick that was the result of a poor challenge by Canada’s Mike Klukowski.

Scoring Summary:
5' - CAN - Kevin McKenna
23' - ARM - Marcos Pizzeli
67' - ARM - Marcos Pizzeli
90+1' - ARM - Aras Ozbiliz

Cautions:
52' - ARM - Arthur Yedigaryan

Canada
Milan Borjan (Kenny Stamatopoulos 46’); Adam Straith (Nana Attakora 62’), Kevin McKenna, David Edgar, Mike Klukowski, Nik Ledgerwood; Julian de Guzman (Marcus Haber 81’), Atiba Hutchinson, Tosaint Ricketts; Josh Simpson (Iain Hume 62’), Simeon Jackson

Armenia
Roman Berezovsky; Sargis Hovsepyan, Valeri Aleksanyan, Hryar Mkoyan, Arthur Yedigaryan; Artak Yedigaryan (Arthur Yuspahsyan 78’), Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Aras Ozbiliz, Levon Hayrapetyan; Yura Movsisyan (Artur Sarkisov 73’), Marcos Pizzeli