Karina LeBlanc made two saves in a penalty kick shootout to secure Canada’s first gold medal in women’s football at the Pan American Games. Canada won 4-3 on kicks following a 1-1 draw with Brazil in the Championship final at the Estadio Omnilife in Guadalajara, Mexico.
This marks Canada’s third medal at the Pan American Games, following silver at Santo Domingo 2003 and bronze at Rio 2007. Canada also finished fourth at the inaugural Pan American Games Women’s Football Tournament at Winnipeg 1999.
Brazil scored early in the fourth minute off the foot of Debora, but Canada replied late with a header goal from captain Christine Sinclair in the 87th minute to send the match to extra time. Following 120 minutes of action, both teams lined up for kicks from the penalty mark.
Canada had already scored on three-straight kicks before LeBlanc stopped Grazielle on Brazil’s third attempt. Both sides traded goals before Candace Chapman hit the post on the fifth kick. LeBlanc then made her second save - this one on Debora - to give Canada the gold.
After winning back-to-back gold medals, Brazil takes home the silver medal at Guadalajara 2011 behind Canada. Host Mexico, meanwhile, won bronze following a 1-0 extra time. victory over Colombia.
Canada finished the XVI Pan American Games with a record of three wins and two draws. All time, Canada has 12 wins, four draws and five losses in four Pan American Games competitions (1999 to 2011).
Canada also maintains its winning record this 2011 season: 13 wins, four draws and six losses. Canada and Brazil have posted draws in each of the last five matches against each other (2008 to 2011). Christine Sinclair, who scored the dramatic equaliser, has scored three of Canada’s four goals in those five matches.
Karina LeBlanc; Lauren Sesselman (Melanie Booth 77), Candace Chapman, Shannon Woeller, Robyn Gayle (Rhian Wilkinson 80); Kelly Parker, Kaylyn Kyle (Sophie Schmidt 65), Diana Matheson, Desiree Scott; Christina Julien, Christine Sinclair
Barbara; Daiane, Tânia, Karen, Maurine; Rosana (Ketlen 82), Francielle, Formiga, Thaís Guedes (Grazielle 107), Andréia Dos Santos; Debora