Canada vs Belize | 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Qualifying | Toronto Sports Photography

September 4, 2015 (TORONTO, ON) - Canada hosted Belize in the first of a home and away series in CONCACAF's third round of qualifiers for 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia.

The match was preceded by a special award presentation to Dwayne De Rosario, Team Canada's all time highest goal scorer.

From the starting whistle, Canada dictated the play and Belize struggled to make cohesive passes. Although Canada dominated possession early in the match, there were very few attacking opportunities.

Canada's rhythm was briefly interrupted in the 14th minute when captain Julian De Guzman called for medical attention and was substituted out for Samuel Piette.

Canada continued where they left off until one of their collaborative efforts from the wing paid off in the 25th minute. Issey Nakajima-Farran made a backheel pass to Marcel De Jong who crossed the ball into the six yard box. Belize keeper Woodrow West made two close range saves until Tosaint Ricketts managed to kick in the loose ball near the goal line.

The second half saw Canada continue to dictate the game until another play from the wing earned a second goal. Nik Ledgerwood crossed the ball and although a diving Wil Johnson did not connect, Tosiant Ricketts expertly tapped in his second goal of the night.

As the game was winding down in extra time, another effort saw Canada add a third goal to the tally. Following a corner kick, Russel Teibert made an excellent pass that evaded two defenders and the goalkeeper for Atiba Hutchinson to find the back of the net.

Following the match, Benito Floro focused on the positives, pointing out that Belize had no shots on net and a respectable three goals were scored by his team.

Team Canada is feeling confident for the return leg in Belize on Tuesday, September 8 where Belize will need to win by at least four goals to advance.


Jaime Espinoza

Captive Camera, Toronto, ON, Canada