• Friday Jan 29, 2010

    Mexico tops Canada in extra time to get to final

    GUATEMALA CITY - Mexico reached the final of the CONCACAF Under-20 Women's Championship for the first time Thursday, beating Canada 1-0 in extra time when Canada goalkeeper Cynthia LeBlanc let a seemingly innocent corner kick slip through her hands.

    LeBlanc appeared to easily have Corral's inswinging corner covered, but the ball went through her hands, banged off her face and into the goal in the 104th minute. She lunged into the goal and slapped the ball away, but not before it crossed the line.

    The result set up a Saturday final between Mexico and the United States, which won the earlier semifinal against Costa Rica. It will be the first time in the history of the CONCACAF Under-20 Women's Championship Canada has not played the United States in the final.

    The victory also earned Mexico a third straight trip to the World Cup in July in Germany and fourth overall.

    "It would be a big step for Mexico to be champion in addition to reaching Germany," captain Lydia Rangel said.

    The two-time and defending CONCACAF Canada has qualified all four times for the Under-20 Women's World Cup and has another chance to become one of CONCACAF's three entrants when it faces Costa Rica in Saturday's third-place game.

    Mexico's Sandra Mayor hit the post in the 73rd with the best chance for either team before extra time, dribbling across the top of the area until she reached the arc and unleashed a right-footed blast that banged off the left upright.

    Mexico started out with the possession and chances for the first 10 minutes, but Canada took control and had the better of play for the remainder of the half. Julie Casselman's header from Chelsea Stewart's cross in the 40th was covered by Mexican keeper Aurora Santiago at the far post for the Canadians' best chance.

    Canada started the second half and had more possession and opportunities until about the 72nd. But Corral capitalized on a turnover to get off a quick shot from just inside the top of the area, and Mayor's blast off the corner of the goal was the best chance for either side in the first 90 minutes.

    The goal appeared to inspire Mexico, which had three good chances in the final 16 minutes. Corral put a header off a cross from Mayor just wide in the 110th and Corral also had the first of two consecutive shots in the 116th that LeBlanc stretched to parry wide.

    Follow the U-20 championship by joining the CONCACAF Facebook group or follow it on Twitter for all the latest news.

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