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Tesho Akindele Goal Gives Canada Draw with Azerbaijan in International Friendly

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Canada continues winless streak after a disappointing effort against 138th ranked Azerbaijan.

Canada Soccer - Flickr
Canada is now winless in its last five international games after a 1-1 draw with Azerbaijan in Austria during an international friendly. The national team has not won since a 1-0 victory over Honduras in November World Cup qualifying.

Tesho Akindele scored the lone goal of the game for Canada. Dimitrij Nazarov replied for Azerbaijan, who are ranked 138th in the world, from the penalty spot.

Canada is currently in camp preparing for September World Cup qualifiers against Honduras and El Salvador. This was the first of two friendlies they will play as part of this camp in Austria.

Both sides struggled to find cohesive play early in the match, Canada in particular. Missing several key midfielders, including Will Johnson and Atiba Hutchinson, Canada struggled to move the ball through the midfield in the early part of the match.

Azerbaijan had the better share of the match's early chances, although the majority of their shots came from distance. Simon Thomas was rarely threatened in the Canadian goal and comfortably saved anything that Azerbaijan was able to direct on target.

Canada's first big chance came in the 22nd minute when Akindele of FC Dallas sent a cross box shot off the crossbar. Scott Arfield was the architect of the majority of what Canada did offensively, as the Burnley midfielder had a strong half in the centre of the midfield.

It was he who created the breakthrough for Canada as he poked the ball from the top of the box through for Akindele, who put Canada up 1-0 just before halftime. It was Akindele's second goal for Canada since joining the national team last year.

Azerbaijan got on the board early in the second half when Karl Ouimette was called for a foul in the Canadian box. Nazarov stepped up to the penalty and scored the goal to tie the game 1-1.

Looking to get back in the lead, Canada made several attack-minded subs as Junior Hoilett, Marcus Haber and Simeon Jackson all came on. Curiously, first-choice striker Cyle Larin remained on the bench for the duration of the match.

Canada would manage just one more real chance, however: a Ouimette header off a corner from Arfield which forced a save from the Azerbaijani keeper. Otherwise, they struggled to put together play in the final third, and get on the end of numerous crosses from Hoilett down the left.

The Canadians will conclude their camp on Tuesday when they take on Uzbekistan, also in Austria. The Uzbeks will be a big test for Canada as the Asian country is currently ranked 66th in the world.