Canada falls to Haiti in Olympic qualifier

March 15, 2008 at 10:17 am (sport)

A pair of late goals dented Canada’s chances of advancing in the CONCACAF Olympic qualifying.

Alain Gustave and Leonel Saint-Preux scored 13 minutes apart to rally Haiti to a 2-1 victory over Canada on Friday night.

The loss dropped Canada (0-1-1) to the bottom of the Group B standings along with Mexico (0-1-1).

“We had a good start to the game itself,” Canada coach Nick Dasovic said. “I thought we were on our way to a minimum one point. Our legs went away in the second half again, though. We ran out of gas. It wasn’t a matter of the tactical, it was a matter of the physical.”

Guatemala edged Mexico, 2-1, in Friday’s late game to assure itself of a berth in the semifinals in Nashville, Tennessee.

On Saturday, Canada must beat group leader Guatemala (2-0-0) and hope Haiti (1-0-1) does not defeat Mexico in order to not be eliminated. Mexico and Canada played to a 1-1 tie Wednesday.

As they did in the first round, the Canadians grabbed the early advantage when Tyler Rosenlund scored in the 17th minute for a 1-0 lead.

Rosenlund started in place of Will Johnson, who had the goal against Mexico but was serving a one-match suspension.

Andrzej Ornoch almost doubled the lead in the second half but was denied when Haitian goalkeeper Johnny Placide deflected his shot off the crossbar.

Haiti pulled even when Gustave scored in the 71st minute and forged ahead in the 84th minute, when Saint-Preux drilled a shot from 35 yards past goalkeeper Joshua Wagenaar.

In Group A play Saturday night at Tampa, Florida, the United States (1-0-1) faces Honduras (2-0-0), while Panama (0-2-0) squares off with Cuba (0-1-1).

Honduras already has clinched a berth in the semis, and the Americans can do the same with a victory or tie against Honduras or a loss or tie by Cuba.

The top two teams from Groups A and B will move on to the semifinals, where the winners will earn berths to the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.

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