Canada could be a win away from qualifying for the quarter-final phase of the 2012 FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup in Azerbaijan following a 1-0 victory over Colombia on Tuesday. Whitecaps FC Girls Elite striker Summer Clarke scored the lone goal at Shafa Stadium in Baku, Azerbaijan.
Clarke now has seven goals in seven official FIFA/CONCACAF matches at the U-17 level, making her Canada's all-time scoring leader in U-17 competitive matches. For her efforts, Clarke was selected Canada's Player of the Match.
Canada have four points with one match remaining against the host Azerbaijan. Canada sits in second place behind Nigeria who also have four points, but with a greater goal difference after two matches.
Clarke scored the winning goal in the 51st minute after a centering pass from Nichelle Prince. Fullback Lindsay Agnew had played a straight ball down the right line that Prince chased and won, with the Colombians perhaps hoping that the ball would have rolled out. Prince continued her run deep towards the Colombian line before centering a pass for Clarke in the middle. Clarke had done well on her own run into the box, using her speed to get in front of Colombian defender Anyella Martinez who could only drag down Clarke, but not prevent the goal.
Canada dominated possession in the early part of the match, especially the opening quarter of an hour. Despite breaking through the Colombia defence on several occasions, Canada could not break through for an opening goal. In the 30th minute, Canada had its best chance of the first half after Clarke beat a pair of defenders and then fed Valérie Sanderson off to the right inside the box. Sanderson didn't quite have the angle, though, to hit more than the outside netting of the goal.
Less than a minute after scoring in the second half, Clarke thought she may have had a second goal when she broke into the box and put the ball past the goalkeeper. Clarke, however, was adjudged to have been in an offside position when Rebecca Quinn delivered the pass.
Canada had another great chance in the 61st minute, but this time Nicole Loncar hit the crossbar. Loncar had fired her shot from just outside the Colombian box.
Canada's starting XI featured Kailen Sheridan in goal, Lindsay Agnew at right back, Kadeisha Buchanan and Rebecca Pongetti at centre back, Larisa Staub at left back, and Summer Clarke, Rebecca Quinn, Ashley Lawrence, Valérie Sanderson, Nichelle Prince and Nicole Loncar from the midfield up through to the attack. In the second half, coach Bryan Rosenfeld switched Sanderson with Jasmin Dhanda (59') and Clarke with Amanda Pierre-Louis (71')
Colombia's starting XI featured Lissa Cardozo in goal, Anyella Martinez at right back, Maria Jaramillo and Diana Duarte at centre back, Estefania Botero at left back, and Carolina Arbelaez, Leicy Santos, Marcela Restrepo, Dayana Castillo, Juliana Ocampo and Gabriela Maldonado. In the second half, coach Fabian Taborda replaced Maldonado with Nicole Regnier (46'), Ocampo with Pamela Peñaloza (59'), and Restrepo with Karen Gutierrez (70')
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