Pulisic powerless as Canada make history; Mendy’s Senegal reach AFCON semifinals

Christian Pulisic played better than he did a couple days ago, at times being the one-man offense and only creative outlet, especially in the first-half, but his efforts were all for naught as Canada made history by beating the United States in a World Cup qualifier for the first time in 42 years.

Canada’s credentials as the premier power in the North American region continue to solidify as they remain undefeated at the top of “The Octo” as well as in their entire qualification campaign (16 games; 12 wins). And last night’s 2-0 win even came without Alphonso Davies, who missed out due to COVID-19 so provided some quite enthusiastic running commentary on Twitch instead.

The “Mr. Cyle Larin” a.k.a. “The Mr. Who? Beşiktaş?!” opened the scoring inside of seven minutes, taking advantage of some poor decision-making at the back for the USA and in the process becoming Canada’s all-time leading goalscorer. The hosts then sat back and absorbed pressure comfortably — and the rare times that they did not, Canada’s Gábor Király Tribute Act, Milan Borjan, made the saves — before salting away the game late on with a counter-attack goal by Sam Adekugbe, who also plies his trade in the Turkish Süper Lig, with Hatayspor. It was his first ever international goal, cueing wild celebrations and some hilariously somber post-match coverage from the CBS broadcast crew.

Oh Canada! (And congrats to former Chelsea prospect Ike Ugbo, who made his second appearance for Canada as a late substitute! Chelsea-linked Jonathan David started.)

USMNT head coach Gregg Berhalter, the man with three Gs but zero clues, put on a brave face afterwards, claiming that the US dominated the game, but of course you don’t get any points for possession. That said, the result isn’t as bad for the US in terms of the actual qualifying process, especially with Mexico failing to beat Costa Rica. Panama did pick up three points however, which means that they are just a point behind in fourth, with four games to play. The top three automatically go to the 2022 World Cup.


Meanwhile, over in Cameroon, there was better news for Édouard Mendy and Senegal, who advanced to the Africa Cup of Nations semifinals with a 3-1 victory over Equatorial Guinea.

Senegal may have conceded for the first time all tournament, with Equatorial Guinea leveling things early in the second-half, but goals from substitutes Cheikhou Kouyaté and Ismaïla Sarr quickly restored the tournament-favorites’ advantage to set up a semifinal date against Burkina Faso on Wednesday.

The other semifinal, on Thursday, will feature the hosts Cameroon against Egypt, who beat high-flying Morocco in extra-time yesterday. Mo Salah scored their equalizer and Trézéguet won it with a goal in the 100th minute.

Good work, Édou! Keep it going all the way to the finals!

Photo by CHARLY TRIBALLEAU/AFP via Getty Images

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