Alphonso Davies, Canada defeated Panama in World Cup qualifier, jumped in standings

Canada needed a strong performance at home against Panama to compete for World Cup qualifiers, but Canada delivered just that and more with some of their more resounding and attacking football in months in a 4-1 win.

With the win, Canada jumped Panama in the final round of the CONCACAF World Cup qualifying standings. Canada is now in third place with 10 points from six games.

The thousands of fans stranded outside Toronto’s BMO Field with slow, tortuous lineups to get in, missed John Herdman’s disappointing start. Canada’s lack of pressure on Panama’s ball carriers was alarming as Panama was able to make too many quick passes down the wing in a counterattack. Canada’s defenders left Panama’s Rolando Blackburn relatively unmarked for a fifth-minute goal.

Jonathan David was then directly in front of the Panama goal in the eighth minute, but he chose to clear the ball.

But as he has done so many times before, Alphonso Davies helped Canada wake up from their slumber and changed the course of the game. Davies made many penetrating runs down the center of the field, dragging several Panama defenders with him and acting as the central attacking threat that Canada often lacked in the first six qualifiers.

Canada’s fighting spirit became apparent when, much to the delight of the fans who had finally reached the stadium late in the first half, a brawl nearly broke out. Canada’s Derek Cornelius, who stretched to the corner of the field, refused to move when Panama’s Edgar Barcenas tried to take a corner, causing both teams to come off their respective benches.

After taking several corners in a row and putting one directly on target, Davies placed a corner perfectly and Tajon Buchanan put it in the goal and was credited as an own goal to Panama’s Michael Murillo.

And then, in the 66th minute, Davies scored not only one of the best goals of his career, but arguably one of the best in Canadian national team history. As the ball slowly rolled out of bounds, Davies used his speed to chase it down, sending him inbounds and deftly back through the legs of the approaching Panama defender. Davies continued his way to the Panama goal, stopped in his tracks and fired a left footed shot past goalkeeper Luis Mejia.

From there, the floodgates opened to Canada. Buchanan headed an excellent cross from Richie Laryea in the 71st minute for Canada’s third goal, and David finally broke out of his rut ​​with a one-touch goal from in tight in the 78th minute.

(Photo: Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)

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