Adriana Leon helps Canada earn 2-1 win over Brazil in soccer friendly

Adriana Leon’s highlight-reel goal gave Canada a 2-1 victory over Brazil in a women’s soccer friendly Friday, extending the Canadian women’s win streak to five games.

The seventh-ranked Canadians have now won nine of their last 10 and are 11-2-3 in 2022 with the losses coming to the top-ranked Americans (1-0 in July in the final of the CONCACAF W Championship) and No. 6 Spain (1-0 in February at the Arnold Clark Cup).

READ MORE: Canada beats Costa Rica 2-0 at W Championship

Ninth-ranked Brazil had won 10 in a row, outscoring its opposition 34-1, with six of those victories coming in a Copa America championship run in July. Brazil had not lost since a 3-1 decision to Sweden on June 28.

Canada and Brazil play again Tuesday in Sao Paulo.

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Shelina Zadorsky also scored for Canada at Estadio Urbano Caldeira, also known as Vila Belmiro — home to Santos FC and, at one time, Pele.

Debinha replied for Brazil, which trailed 2-1 at the break but came out with purpose to start the second half. Canada coach Bev Priestman sent on some experience from her bench to steady the ship.

Canada’s first two goals came off well-drilled set pieces.

Zadorsky rose high to head home an Ashley Lawrence cross in the 22nd minute on a corner, after a Christine Sinclair header was pushed off the crossbar by Brazilian ‘keeper Lorena.

It was a fourth goal in 86 appearances for Canada for the Tottenham defender.

Click to play video: 'Christine Sinclair reflects on her remarkable achievements'

Christine Sinclair reflects on her remarkable achievements

Leon made it 2-0 with a gorgeous volley off a Jessie Fleming corner in the 29th minute. Sinclair headed the ball on and Leon swung her left foot, hammering home a low shot for her 28th goal for Canada — and her fifth in her last seven games.

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Brazil answered in the 33rd minute with a beauty of a goal from Debinha. After a Canadian turnover, Brazil drove towards the Canadian goal and Kerolin chipped the ball past Bianca St-Georges into Debinha’s path. The Brazil star forward used her torso, perhaps with a little shoulder, to chest the ball ahead and then poked it past goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan.

Canada improved to 9-9-9 against Brazil since they first met in 1996.

Their most recent meeting was at the Tokyo Olympics where the Canadians prevailed 4-3 in a penalty shootout after the quarterfinal game finished knotted at 0-0.

Canada also downed Brazil 2-1 in the bronze-medal game at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

As in recent international windows, Priestman was missing players.

Janine Beckie (Portland), Vanessa Gilles (Olympique Lyonnais, France), Deanne Rose (Reading, England), Allysha Chapman (Houston Dash) and collegiate players Simi Awujo and Zoe Burns (USC), Jade Rose (Harvard) and Jayde Riviere (University of Michigan) are all unavailable.

Sinclair, Lawrence and Gabrielle Carle, missing in the October window that saw wins over No. 29 Morocco (4-0) and No. 76 Argentina (2-0), were back in the fold for the Brazil games. Canada won a pair of friendlies in September in Australia (1-0 and 2-1).

Sheridan started in goal behind Lawrence, Kadeisha Buchanan, Zadorsky and St-Georges. Fleming and Julia Grosso were a deep-lying midfield duo behind Nichelle Prince, Sinclair and Leon with Evelyne Viens up front.

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The Canadian starting 11 had 1,028 caps between them including 318 for the 39-year-old Sinclair.

Viens came close in the ninth minute after a fine through ball by Fleming. She went past the ‘keeper but the angle to goal was too tight by the time she got the ball.

Sheridan was called into action in the 14th minute, stopping a shot by Ary after a Brazilian attack down the left flank. Ary forced another save later in the half.

Debinha was just high on a curling free kick in the 45th minute after Buchanan was cautioned for taking down Brazil’s Adriana just outside the box. Seconds later, Lorena stopped a Sinclair shot that deflected off a defender.

Jordyn Huitema and Carle came on for Canada to start the second half. Desiree Scott, Cloe Lacasse and Sophie Schmidt followed later in the half.

READ MORE: Canadian women’s soccer team qualifies for 2023 FIFA World Cup

Amanda Allen, a 17-year-old, won her first senior cap off the bench, coming on in the 71st minute.

Sheridan needed to deflect a low cross in the 54th minute as the Canadian defence was breached. Minutes later, the Canadian ‘keeper had to rise high to palm away another long-range rocket from Ary and Canada struggled to clear the ball fon the ensuing corner.

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Sheridan needed treatment in the 72nd minute after a Brazilian stepped on her forearm as the two went after the ball.

Huitema went down in the penalty box in the 82nd minute after tangling with Brazil’s Fernanda, but there was no call.

The 41st-ranked Canadian men were in action earlier in the day, rallying to tie No. 85 Bahrain 2-2 in a World Cup warmup in Manama. Canada was missing some of its top talent, with European clubs still in action.

&© 2022 The Canadian Press

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