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Canada concedes twice in shocking Gold Cup tie with unranked Guadeloupe in Toronto

The disappointment was telling after a rough finish.

Holding a 2-1 lead in the middle of stoppage time, Canada surrendered an own goal to permit Guadeloupe the equalizer and finish its CONCACAF Gold Cup opener in a 2-2 draw on Tuesday at BMO Field.

“We’re disappointed with the result at home,” Canada head coach John Herdman said. “You definitely wanna get three points out [of] your first game and certainly do it at home for these fans that turned up tonight.”

However, the bright spot for the Canadian squad was seeing its young up-and-comers perform in such a tournament for the first time.

“I think the fans got to see some of our future. I think this tournament has opened the window for that opportunity,” Herdman added. “And to see those new caps experience some adversity as well to watch their response and not sort of crumble and capitulate under, I think, tough conditions.

“I thought that was a real bright spot in our game. I think in the dressing room, we were proud of the way that they handled this match.”

Canada is missing some of its biggest names in Alphonso Davies, Jonathan David, Cyle Larin, Tajon Buchanan, Alistair Johnston, Atiba Hutchinson and Ismael Kone for the tournament.

The team also revealed Monday that Stephen Eustaquio and Samuel Adekugbe were replaced by Jayden Nelson and Liam Fraser in the lineup.

With that, the likes of Ali Ahmed, Moise Bombito, Zac McGraw, Jacen Russell-Rowe and Dominick Zator made their debuts for the senior team.

Ahmed, a 22-year-old Toronto native who plays for Major League Soccer’s Vancouver Whitecaps, was everywhere in the game. Asked what the moment was like, result aside, Ahmed couldn’t hide his feelings toward the result.

“Honestly, the result’s in my head right now, it’s getting me for sure,” he said. “BMO [Field], home field, first game, it’s gotta be a win.

“Maybe once the results leave my head, I’ll have the time to think about it. Obviously it’s a special day to play at home for Canada.

“If you asked me two years ago if I was gonna be here, I would not think so. Just enjoying the journey, man.”

Lucas Cavallini scored for Canada, with the second marker being an own goal from Guadeloupe.

Thierry Ambrose had the other goal for Guadeloupe.

Canada is 2-1-1 all-time versus Guadeloupe, which does not have a world ranking because it is not a member of FIFA. The 47th-ranked Canadians next head to Houston to complete Group D stage play versus No. 116-ranked Guatemala on July 1 and No. 165-ranked Cuba on July 4.

The 16-country tournament runs through July 16 across 15 stadiums in 14 cities. BMO Field is the only Canadian stop and just for Tuesday’s match.

Steve Carr

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