By Beto Alfaya
In front of an attendance of 18,326, Canada became Torneio Internacional de São Paulo champions with a 2-2 draw against Brazil. Canada won on goal differential. Brazil started the game without Cristiane and Grazielle, both injured, so the young 17-year-old Thais started the game, her first with the national team, while Canada had back its entire team.
In the second minute, Marta gave a pass to Gabriela, who had a shot deflected. After that, the Canadian defense cleared the ball twice after balls from Formiga and Marta. In the 10th minute, Gabriela sent Marta on a through ball, and she crossed to the left, but Gabriela’s shot went wide.
In the 15th minute, Christine Sinclair, in the box, shot wide of goal. A few minutes later, Canadian keeper Stephanie Labbe made a great stop on a shot from Rosana. Formiga and Ester also tried their shots, however they were wide of the goal. In the 35th minute, Formiga, on a fast counterattack, got a shot that passed outside to the right post. Three minutes later, Marta cleared two markers and crossed to Thais, who sent it wide.
It was Canada who scored first. In the 44th minute, on a crossing to the left, Erika couldn’t reach the ball and Josee Belanger headed the ball into the goal with no chance for Brazil goalkeeper Andréia Suntaque.
Brazil came to the second half visibly overtired. Coach Kleiton Lima substituted two players who got injured (Daniele came in for Thais and Erika was substituted for Andrea Rosa).
In the 54th minute, Brazil tied it with a great play from Marta. Coming from the midfield, she carried the ball, passing by two defenders on the run, shooting in the low right corner past Labbé. Brazil, then started to press more and almost scored when Rosana shot one off the crossbar after a good play from the right. In the 74th minute, Marta crossed from the left to Danielle, who shot, and Marie Eve Nault clearly stopped the ball with her right arm to avoid the goal, earning a penalty. She got a second yellow card and was sent off. Marta scored the penalty kick in the 76th minute to make it 2-1 for Brazil.
Brazil kept pressing Canada to get a third goal, however in the 84th minute on a counterattack by the right wing, Sinclair scored on an amazing long shot from the right on a hard angle with no chance for Andréia Suntaque to make the save.
Brazil kept trying and almost got its third goal on a cross from a free kick from 25 yards, however the ball bounced, passing by several players. Brazil had a goal by Fabiana called back in the 86th minute. The game finished at the 95th minute.
During the week, the Brazilian managerial staff was thinking about protesting to the tournament’s organizers because according to the Brazilian staff, Canada used one substitution more than allowed for line players against Netherlands in their 5-0 win, using four subs for line players while the rules just allowed three in the line and one for goalkeeper. However, the coaching staff preferred not do the protest as it was a friendly tournament and not managed by FIFA.
Canada and Brazil tied twice in the tournament, 0-0 in the first game and 2-2 in the final, however Canada passed Brazil on the goals average with six goals against four from Brazil. This two-goal difference gave the title to Canada. The CONCACAF champions Canada won their third title this year, making them one of the favorites in the 2011 FIFA World Cup in Germany. Canada is now unbeaten in its last 10 games.