Canada celebrates after scoring during its 3-1 win over Italy in the Cyprus Women's Cup on March 7, 2014, in Larnaca, Cyprus. (Photo courtesy of the Canadian Soccer Association)
LARNACA, Cyprus – Canada scored three goals for a second straight game at the Cyprus Women’s Cup, defeating Italy 3-1 on Friday at GSZ Stadium.
The Canadians, who beat Finland 3-0 two days earlier, are now level with England atop the Group A table on six points apiece. They will meet on Monday to decide which plays in the final or the match for third place.
Against the Italians, Diana Matheson and Adriana Leon struck in the first half, while Kaylyn Kyle added an insurance goal three minutes after the break to pave the way for a thorough victory by the CONCACAF power.
Emily Zurrer started the sequence that gave Canada a 1-0 lead in the 33rd minute. The right back sent a long pass into the box for Sophie Schmidt, who cut the ball back to an unmarked Matheson. Without hesitation the midfielder found the back of the net with her right foot from 11-yards out.
Adriana Leon doubled the advantage 10 minutes later, tapping in from two yards after Matheson picked her out with a cross along the ground from the right.
Early in the second half, substitute Kyle put the game out reach with her first goal in 12 games. Rhian Wilkinson provided the service from the right side of the penalty area, as the 25-year-old midfielder crashed the ball home on the edge of the six-yard box.
In the 51st minute, Cristiana Girelli pulled one back for Italy, which finished the game down a player after Elisa Bartoli’s ejection.
at Albufeira, Portugal
Sweden 1, USA 0
A first-half goal by Lotta Schelin proved to be enough as Sweden defeated the United States women 1-0 on Friday in the Algarve Cup at the Estadio Municipal.
The loss ended the Americans’ 43-game unbeaten streak, which started exactly two years ago with a 4-0 win over the Swedes in the third-place match of the 2012 Algarve Cup. It was also the first setback for head coach Tom Sermanni in 21 games since taking over the program in January 2013.
Now eliminated from title contention with only one point from two outings, the U.S. still has one Group B encounter left to play against Denmark on Monday, plus a placement game.
Sweden was outshot, 12-4, but its only dangerous scoring chance produced the game-winning goal.
Sofia Jakobsson blocked Ali Krieger’s attempt to clear the ball from the left corner and then delivered a cross that Schelin headed past American goalkeeper Hope Solo into the lower right corner.
Abby Wambach had a chance to give the U.S. a lead in the 15th minute, but her penalty kick after Amy Rodriguez was taken down in the box was saved stunningly by Hedvig Lindahl.
In the 83rd minute, Kristie Mewis had a one-on-one with Lindahl, but the Swedish goalkeeper was quick off the line and made a block with her legs.
Lindahl preserved the win with two minutes remaining in normal time, making the stop with her chest on a Sarah Hagen effort.
Sweden will meet Japan on Monday needing only a draw to clinch first place and a berth in the final.