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Recap: World Cup qualifiers end in defeat for Canada

Les Rouges suffered a 1-0 loss against Panama on Wednesday evening.

Canada’s Jonathan David battles for the ball with Panama’s José Córdoba on Wednesday night.
(Guillermo Legaria/Getty Images)

Head coach John Herdman rung in the changes to Canada’s starting XI following their momentous 4-0 win over Jamaica at BMO Field on Saturday.

Maxime Crépeau replaced Milan Borjan in net, while the outfielders that came into the starting lineup were Atiba Hutchinson, Alistair Johnston, Kamal Miller, Ismaël Koné, Lucas Cavallini and Mark-Anthony Kaye, with the latter returning from a one-game suspension.

Sam Adekugbe continued to impress on the left side as he whipped in a cross in the second minute, but nothing came of it.

The first notable chance of the game was in favour of Panama in the ninth minute off a corner delivered to the front post. The dangerous ball was headed away well by Cavallini.

Some good passing by Canada in the 21st minute did not lead up to a convincing opportunity as Les Rouges continued to press in the final third. Tajon Buchanan kept drawing attention from Panamanian defenders, continung to draw fouls throughout the first half.

A possible penalty shout for Canada came in the 26th minute when Jonathan David went down after a challenge from José Córdoba, but referee Jair Marrufo was having none of it.

On the other end of the pitch, Johnston prevented a Panama chance with a strong challenge in the 44th minute.

Panama then opened the scoring in the 49th minute with a goal from Gabriel Torres on his 100th national team appearance. José Luis Rodríguez put in a cross towards the centre of the box, which found Torres smashed into the top corner.

Los Canaleros could have doubled their lead in the 54th minute with a big opportunity from Cecilio Waterman - his first-time curling shot went just over the bar.

Johnston then found himself intervening in yet another key play for Panama, putting in a crunching yet clean tackle in the 58th minute.

Herdman made two attacking substitutions on the hour-mark in the hopes of finding an equalizer for Canada. Junior Hoilett and Cyle Larin came on for Kaye and Cavallini.

Crépeau made an important save in the 78th minute on a Panama free kick, ensuring the hosts didn’t double their lead.

Les Rouges thought they had tied it up in the 82nd minute with a goal from Larin. The two substitutes combined as a Hoilett cross was headed home by Larin, but the goal was subsequently called for offside following a VAR review.

Substitute Richie Laryea put in a low cross in the 89th minute as the ball went by three Canadian attackers before they could get a foot on it.

Defeat on the night for Canada, but overall a successful and memorable World Cup qualifying campaign that the team can be proud of. Their journey continues in Qatar, this November.

The 2022 FIFA World Cup group draw takes place on Friday at 12 p.m. EST.