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Recap: Alphonso Davies stars as Canada thumps Curaçao in Nations League opener

Canada’s talisman bagged a brace as Les Rouges presided over a comprehensive 4-0 victory at BC Place.

Curacao v Canada - CONCACAF Nations League Group C Photo by Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images

Following quite the chaotic last few days for the Canadian men’s national team, John Herdman’s men ensured they ended the week on a high note in front of the home crowd in Vancouver.

Two strikes on either side of halftime saw Canada record a thumping 4-0 win over Curaçao to get their CONCACAF Nations League campaign off to the perfect start.

Despite much of the build up to this one being overshadowed by the off-field drama, Alphonso Davies and co. made sure it was going to be all about the football on the night.

Playing his first game at BC Place since October 28th, 2018, Davies starred and showed fans exactly why he is this program’s crown jewel.

In the 27th minute, Canada’s all-time assists leader won and converted a penalty to get the party started in Vancouver. His zeal was on full display in the build up to the penalty, as he took the ball off Juren Gaari before driving into the box and forcing Curaçao’s right-back to mistime his tackle.

Les Rouges would go on to double their lead just before the break through an unlikely source. A loose ball fell to Jonathan David following a spilled Davies corner, which the Lille striker niftily lofted to Steven Vitória, who headed home from close range to bag his first national team goal since November 16th, 2019.

With just 20 minutes left in the game, Davies would cap off his return to Vancouver by scoring his second of the night courtesy of some unselfish play from Richie Laryea. The Bayern Munich man would play Laryea into space, leaving the former Toronto FC star with a chance to grab a goal of his own. Yet, Laryea opted to square it to Davies instead, and the celebrations amongst the players were immaculate once again.

The fourth of the night would come from a man who knows a little thing or two about scoring at BC Place, Lucas Cavallini. Junior Hoilett sent a perfect through ball to Sam Adekugbe, who fed Cavallini for an easy finish from point-blank range.

Curaçao was coming off the back of consecutive matches against Honduras, while the game at BC Place was Canada’s first taste of action during the June window. Fatigue may have hindered Curaçao from giving Canada more of a challenge, but nonetheless, Herdman’s men dominated and made sure they gave their fans across the country a reason to smile heading into the weekend.

As seen by his team selection, Herdman is not taking this competition lightly, and against Honduras, it would not be surprising if Canada lined up similarly. Most notably, fans were left mesmerized by the link-up play of Davies and Adekugbe on the left, as well as Tajon Buchanan and Alistair Johnston on the right.

“We tried to bring a new level of intensity to our pressing, our sets, so our players can get ready for what’s coming in Qatar,” said Herdman on the intensity of his team during the game.

Davies’ sensational return to national team action was one of the biggest talking points post-game, and defender Alistair Johnston had nothing but praise for his compatriot:

“You could just see it out there, the joy he plays the game with, the constant threat he has - I see it in training. I’m exhausted coming off the training pitch, having had to go up against him.

“He deserved that moment.”

The man of the moment, Davies, was jubilant after a successful return to the ground where he began making a name for himself as a youngster:

“It felt good to come back to the stadium, all the memories came back to me... scoring, it brought back all my memories from my last game with the Whitecaps,” said a proud Davies.

Les Rouges are back in action on Monday, June 13th when they take on Honduras at the Estadio Olímpico Metropolitano in San Pedro Sula. Fans in Eastern Canada will be in store for another late one, with kickoff set for 10:00 pm EST.