TORONTO, Canada—On a night that didn’t start out the way the home fans wanted, Alphonso Davies took it upon himself to make the difference at BMO Field as he scored one of the greatest goals you will ever see to give Canada a lead they wouldn’t give up in a 4-1 win over Panama.
Despite falling behind early via a Rolando Blackburn goal, Canada was always the better team in this contest.
GOAL— OneSoccer (@onesoccer) October 13, 2021
Panama strikes first vs. #CanMNT as Rolando Blackburn buries a tap-in after some positive pressure early in this #WCQ match-up
WATCH: TELUS ch. 980 | https://t.co/hishXepRT3 pic.twitter.com/X8kxbkjzJU
Multiple penalty shouts went for nought early on before Les Rouges levelled the scoring via an own goal that came on the third of three successive corner kicks whipped in by Alphonso Davies.
A bench-clearing shove-fest capped off a scrappy first half that finished level at 1-1, with Canada certainly looking the stronger of the two teams.
Twenty minutes went by in the second half with nothing separating the two teams, and it looked like Canada needed a boost. Goalkeeper Maxime Crepeau went down with a really well-timed cramp, and John Herdman used the time to reorganize and rally the team.
And then this happened:
Madness. One of the best goals you’ll ever see, as Davies sprints down the sideline to keep a ball in touch that had no business staying in, takes on a defender and then wrong-foots the keeper to give Canada the lead and send the home fans into delirium.
Colour commentator Terry Dunfield said it would be a crucial five minutes for Canada, and it was, with Tajon Buchanan rising high to head a looping ball into the net to make it 3-1, and the party was on.
GOAL— OneSoccer (@onesoccer) October 14, 2021
Tajon Buchanan makes it THREE for Canada, 3-1 over Panama at the 70th minute, and it's a party at BMO Field now ❤
TUNE IN: #CanMNT | TELUS ch. 980 | https://t.co/hishXepRT3 pic.twitter.com/RVcZ4gfUYY
Another five minutes later, Jonathan David notched one of his own to cap off the scoring on a night most Canadian soccer fans won’t soon be forgetting.
“What a lovely night for the fans,” said Canada coach John Herdman post-game.
Canada will have a month to come down off this cloud before hosting another set of crucial games on home soil, this time on the cold desolate tundra of Edmonton (I lived there, so I can say that). Canada hosts Costa Rica on November 12 to conclude the first half of fixtures before Mexico comes to town on the 16th.
With Mexico defeating El Salvador, Canada sits in third in the CONCACAF third round of FIFA World Cup qualifying on 10 points with a goal difference of +6, behind Mexico and the Americans with 13 and 11 respectively. Panama falls to fourth.
Allez les rouges!