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Canada left frustrated by tough Haitian defence in Olympic men’s soccer qualifying

A frustrated Canada had to settle for a scoreless tie with Haiti on Monday at the CONCACAF Men’s Olympic Qualifying Championship.

Canada (1-0-1) faces Honduras on Thursday in its final Group B match. The Canadians are still in the hunt to advance to the semifinals, which will determine the two teams going to the Olympics, but may face a more difficult route.

The Canadians pressed as the clock wound down and had several set pieces but failed to take advantage. Haiti goalkeeper Alan Jerome made a game-saving save with his foot on substitute Ballou Tabla on a Canadian counter-attack in stoppage time.

The Hondurans (1-0-0) played El Salvador (0-1-0) in the late match Monday.

It was 30 degree Celsius for the 4 p.m. local time kickoff at an empty Estado Akron, which hosted the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2011 Pan American Games.

Haiti (0-1-1) showed its hand early, often stacking 11 men behind the ball in its own half in a defensive block. Canada, while dominating possession, struggled to unlock the Haitian defense in the first 45 minutes.

Haiti had a much stronger second half, testing Canadian goalkeeper James Pantemis on several good scoring possibilities.

The eight-country tournament, originally arranged for last March but postponed due to the pandemic, will determine which two teams will represent North and Central America and the Caribbean at this summer’s Tokyo Olympics.

Honduras and Mexico, which won gold in 2012, represented the region at the last two Olympics. The Canadian men have not taken part since the 1984 Olympics.

The U.S. and Mexico both improved to 2-0-0 with victories Sunday in Group A play, ensuring they qualify for the semifinals. The two meet Monday to decide who tops the group.

The top teams from each group cross-over in the semis.

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