The fans got to see a Christine Sinclair cameo and a heap of heroics from goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan on Saturday as Canada fell 1-0 to Brazil in a match that marked the beginning of the end of Sinclair’s international career.
The contest, before a lively sellout crowd of 19,619 at Saputo Stadium, seemed destined to end in a scoreless draw until a Debinha shot from distance deflected in past Sheridan in stoppage time in what was virtually the last kick of the game.
Sinclair, who entered the match in the 68th minute to an ovation, had won the ball back from a Brazilian before passing it to Deanne Rose, who was dispossessed to set up the final Brazilian attack. Debinha’s shot hit Kadeisha Buchanan’s thigh and then deflected off Vanessa Gilles’ arm.
Sheridan, who had been going the other way, somehow managed to get a hand to the ball.
“[I’m] a little bit gutted to have a double deflection,” said Canada coach Bev Priestman. “Kailen’s good but maybe not that good.
“To be honest, we should have put the chances away that we did get,” she added. “I said to the players that that goal at the end doesn’t matter then if you put your chances away.”
Sheridan had put on a shot-stopping clinic prior to the goal. And Gilles had a glorious opportunity earlier in stoppage time in a goalmouth scramble off a free kick, only to see goalkeeper Leticia came up big for Brazil
“I feel like I probably had it [before the deflection]. I thought I might have had it with the deflection at the end,” said Sheridan, a finalist for NWSL goalkeeper of the year. “I just couldn’t get my foot stuck in the ground again after I took off.”
The ninth-ranked Brazilians turned it on as the clock wound down but were unable to beat an acrobatic Sheridan until the end.
And there was more late drama off the field with one of the assistant referees limping off the field with an injury.
Brazil, in its first game since the World Cup and under the guidance of new coach Arthur Elias, outshot Canada 15-9 (9-3 in shots on target),
The two teams meet again Tuesday at a sold-out Wanderers Ground in Halifax.