Late equalizer sends Canada out of CONCACAF Gold Cup

Canada was eliminated from the 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup by a heartbreaking 91st minute equalizer by Panama to level the match at 1:1.

Canada was eliminated from the 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup by a heartbreaking 91st minute equalizer by Panama to level the match at 1:1.

For more information about this match, please read the Canada-Panama match report.

The Canadians knew heading into the match that the only way to guarantee themselves a place in the quarterfinals was to defeat Panama Tuesday evening. Unfortunately the team fell agonizingly short of the required result in the 14 June match in Kansas City, KS.

Dwayne De Rosario put the Canadians ahead with another cool penalty conversion in the 62nd minute, but Luis Tejada capped off a frantic scramble in the Canadian box by smashing the ball through the legs of Canada goalkeeper Milan Borjan in added time.

Canada had virtually no time to respond to the late goal and the match ended a draw. The draw clinched Panama’s finish as the number one team in Group C and left the Canadians hoping that Guadeloupe might upset USA to keep their hopes alive.

The Americans did not slip up, however, at the final hurdle of the group stage. USA dispatched Guadeloupe 1:0 to book their place in the quarterfinals.

Canada finished level on four points with El Salvador and Guatemala, the other third-place group finishers in the tournament. The two Central American teams will advance in the tournament by virtue of a superior goal difference to the Canadians.

“Football is a cruel mistress,” said Canada Head Coach Stephen Hart after the match. “Sometimes football is a lie, the best team doesn’t always win the match.”

Canada again carried the greater share of possession in the match but Hart was left to rue the team’s missed scoring opportunities.

“I thought we created three clear-cut opportunities which we did not put away,” he said. “Our composure in front of goal has to be better.”

The focus for the Canadian team will now shift to the 2014 FIFA World Cup™ Qualifiers.

The configuration of the qualifying tournament is expected to be announced in July. Play is expected to begin during the late summer period of this year.

“I will wait until the format is announced and then I will build a program around that,” Hart said.

De Rosario’s penalty conversion at Livestrong Sporting Park in Kansas City was the first official goal scored at the new stadium.

The goal, De Rosario’s 17th for his country, moves Canada’s veteran attacker past Alex Bunbury and into sole possession of third place in all-time scoring. De Rosario is now only two goals behind Dale Mitchell’s record of 19 goals for Canada.

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