Whitecaps trio lead Canada past Ghana

Agence France-PresseVancouver Whitecaps striker Christine Sinclair scored twice, as Canada eliminated Ghana from the FIFA Women's World Cup with a 4-0 victory on Saturday.Sinclair scored the winner on 16 minutes before striking again just past the hour mark to become Canada’s leading goalscorer at a Women’s World Cup finals. Two more Whitecaps players in Sophie Schmidt (55) and Martina Franko (77) completed an important four-goal victory for Even Pellerud’s side, as both sides needed to win the Group C game after losing their first matches against Norway and Australia respectively.The win gives Canada, who reached the last four of the 2003 World Cup, their first points and keeps them in contention for the next round. If Norway beat Australia, it would leave Canada and Australia battling for the second qualifying place in their final group game on Wednesday.Pellerud, a Norwegian who is Canada's coach, said it looked like his team had beaten their big weakness - running out of steam in the second half.Concern that the Canadians were not match fit was building after their opening game defeat. Canada were 1-0 up against Norway before tiring and losing 2-1 last Wednesday.But they held on against Ghana, despite having a smaller share of possession."Ghana is a tricky team to play against," Pellerud said. "It was a good fitness test and I think we did well today."Sinclair, 24, the captain, scored the first goal of the game with a superb header in the 16th minute, as both sides battled for the upper hand.Ghana were unlucky not to go in to the break level at 1-1 when a Ghanaian attack ended with the ball crashing off Canada's crossbar after 45 minutes.Captain Adjoa Bayor fired in a cross from the right and it was unclear whether Ghana's teenage striker Anitya Amankwa got a foot to it or whether it was a defender who sent the ball onto the woodwork.After the break, Canada tightened control of the game and midfielder Schmidt doubled their lead when she headed past keeper Memunata Sulemana from a failed corner clearance.Sinclair blasted home her second in the 62nd minute to become Canada's top World Cup scorer with five goals after Kara Lang rounded the Ghana defence and left her strike partner with an easy volley towards goal.Poor goalkeeping by Sulemana gifted Franko with the fourth goal for Canada when she failed to collect a corner and the defender headed in the loose ball from close range.Coach Pellerud, who was Norway's coach when they won the 1995 World Cup, said he expected no favours from Australia on Wednesday in Chengdu. The teams are well known to each other and play similar styles."We have played several games against Australia before. They are always very even," he said. "It is going to be the same again, very even."Ghana, playing in their third World Cup in a row, meet Norway on the same day in their last game before returning home.