Action from the international friendly between host Slovenia and Canada (red) on November 19, 2013, in Celje. (Photo courtesy of the Football Association of Slovenia)
CELJE, Slovenia – Canada conceded a goal early in the second half and fell to host Slovenia 1-0 in an international friendly on Tuesday at rainy Arena Petrol.
Walter Birsa struck in the 52nd minute from outside the 18-yard box, beating goalkeeper Kenny Stamatopoulos, who appeared to slip on the wet surface.
The Canadians finished the season winless in 12 FIFA “A” internationals, but veteran attacker Dwayne De Rosario remains optimistic about the future.
“I’m confident that 2014 is bright in the future for the development of Canadian soccer,” said De Rosario after the match. “It’s in the right hands and we’ve just got to continue believing and moving forward because we’ve got a good group.”
The first two scoring chances of the game were in fell to Canada, but it could not find the net.
Kyle Porter’s ninth minute effort from the top of the 18-yard box was saved by goalkeeper Jan Oblak.
Four minutes later, Porter fed De Rosario inside the Slovenian box. The 35-year-old unleashed a powerful shot go was on target, forcing Oblak to dive right and push the ball out for a corner.
Roman Bezjak nearly gave the home side a 23rd minute lead only to see his curling left-footer from the edge of the penalty area hit off the crossbar.
The visitors fielded a team that was a mixture of youth and experience. It was missing multiple starters, including the injured quartet of Atiba Hutchinson, David Edgar, Julian de Guzman and Simeon Jackson.
“We need to study hard, to study with good intention,” Canada head coach Benito Floro responded when asked what his team needs to do improve. “Several things are very important if we want to improve the level.”
The game did mark the debut of Montreal Impact defender Karl W. Ouimette, who came on as a second half substitute.