Canada failed to capitalize on early opportunities and was eventually overwhelmed by an athletic Martinique side that could have scored multiple times.A 93rd minute laser by Fabrice Reuperné gave Martinique a 1-0 victory over a stunned Canada side in Sunday's 2013 Gold Cup opener.
The islanders bossed the match for long stretches, taking advantage of a Canadian team full of inexperience and seemingly overawed by the occasion.
Canada started the game off brightly, however, taking the game to the island opposition from the opening whistle. The young Canucks looked sure to get the match's first goal, as they applied enough pressure to garner multiple corner kicks in the first 15 minutes.
Unfortunately for the Canadians, they couldn't take advantage of the early waves of attack, and Martinique grew in confidence with every passing minute.
Midway through the first half, the tide turned and Martinique started to get more of the ball. The islanders used their athleticism to overpower Canada at times, and for a sustained period the one-way traffic was flowing towards Milan Borjan's goal.
If not for some brutal finishing, Martinique could have been up by one or two goals at the halftime break, as Canada's youth-infused lineup had few ideas defensively. Fortunately for the Canucks, the score remained 0-0 at the end of the opening 45 minutes.
The second half was a bit more even as the pace of the game slow to a standstill at times. Neither side looked particularly threatening for much of the final period, until the closing quarter hour as Canada pressed the issue.
The Canucks eventually started asking questions of the Martinique defense, forcing a big save from 'keeper Kevin Olimpa and also knocking one off his crossbar in quick succession. That was all the offense Canada could really muster, though, and Martinique hit back as well as they could, with Borjan making a couple of key saves in the dying moments to keep the score level.
Unfortunately for the Canadians, Martinique finally found its goal just seconds before the full-time whistle, when a corner kick clearance found a charging Reuperné 25 yards from goal, and the midfielder made no mistake in lashing an absolute rocket past Borjan.
The unexpected win brought Martinique's bench rushing onto the pitch when the final whistle was blown, and Canada was left in shambles.
Things get no easier for Canada as the next game is against Mexico in Seattle on Thursday.