An Olivier Occean header was enough for Canada to get the job done in its first game of the second round of World Cup qualifying away to Cuba.Despite a scorching hot day and a bumpy surface, Canada got off to a great start in the second round of World Cup qualifying with a 1-0 win away to Cuba.
Olivier Occean's goal in the 12th minute of the second half was the difference on the day and Canada, which would later go down to ten men, held on for the win.
Cuba came out flying in the first half and looked the much sharper team in the opening minutes, as Canada would take some time to settle into the game. Canada came close in the 19th minute through DC United striker Dwayne De Rosario, who’s shot from inside the box was parried well by Cuban goalkeeper Odisnel Cooper.
Cuba’s only chance of the first half was a very good one and it came in the 29th minute when Marcel Hernandez shot on a semi breakaway forced Canada goalkeeper Lars Herschfield into making a great save.
The best opportunity of the first half came at the very end when De Rosario’s shot from close range hit the crossbar.
Just like they did in the first half, the Cubans started the second in lively fashion and were inches away from an opening goal when Alberto Gomez’ strike just went wide of goal.
But it was Canada which would find the opener against the run of play in the 57th minute, courtesy of an Occean header that Cuba’s Cooper could do nothing about.
The Reds then made their lives difficult in the 63rd minute when Hirschfeld was controversially sent off for handling the ball outside his box, but despite being down a man, the Canucks’ defence held strong and would go on to win the game 1-0.
Canada's next game is next Tuesday, when it hosts Honduras at BMO field in Toronto.