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French Guiana 2-4 Canada: Alphonso Davies shines to avert meltdown

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It was good, and then it was bad, and then it was good again.

Soccer: 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup-French Guiana at Canada Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Canada’s teenage phenom Alphonso Davies scored twice to ensure Les Rouges got off to a winning start at the Gold Cup despite being given a late scare by French Guiana.

Octavio Zambrano’s men raced into a 3-0 lead at Red Bull Arena, with Scott Arfield influential in midfield, but they needed Davies’ second goal to make the win comfortable after the South American minnows answered with two goals in the space of as many minutes midway through the second half.

Dejan Jakovic opened the scoring for Canada, though he did not appear to know much about the way Arfield’s free-kick from the right bounced off him and into the goal after being tipped into his path by the goalkeeper.

Canada grew in confidence in an attacking sense after going 1-0 up and Arfield doubled their advantage on the stroke of half-time, firing home from 20 yards on his left foot at the end of a swift break upfield.

By the hour mark, Zambrano’s charges were 3-0 up and flying. Another quick counter-attack saw Lucas Cavallini lay the ball off to Davies, who would simply burn the defenders in front of him.

Then came the panic. Roy Contout pulled one back for French Guiana by rising at the near post to head a corner past Maxime Crepeau, who had replaced Milan Borjan after the veteran No. 1 suffered an eye injury.

It took them just a minute to grab another amid a sudden - and quite apt - downpour in New Jersey. Crepeau saved Arnold Abelenti’s near-post header only to dash after the rebound and be beaten to it by Abelenti, who cut it back for Sloan Privat to convert into the empty net.

But it was to be Davies’ night. Anthony Jackson-Hamel replaced Cavallini and once again made an impact off the bench, producing a cutting run inside before laying the ball off for the Vancouver Whitecaps winger to calmly convert his second of the game.