Canada, Mauritania play to goalless stalemate

Canada poses for a team photo before the opening whistle of its international friendly against Mauritania on September 8, 2013, at Oliva, Spain. (Photo: Gavin Day)

OLIVA, Spain – Youthful Canada and Mauritania played to a 0-0 draw Sunday in an international friendly played at the Oliva Nova Beach and Golf Resort. 

Benito Floro, making his debut as the Canada head coach, used 17 players, eight of whom are in their first year with the national team.  Two members of the squad -- Jérémy Gagnon-Laparé and Jackson Farmer – were capped for the first time.

The physical encounter featured frequent fouling and stoppages in play.  That combination prevented either team from developing a rhythm in their first-ever meeting.

Mauritania pressured from the outset and was issued two early cautions for fouls against the Canadians.  Kyle Bekker went down after making a pass in the 11th minute and, seconds later, Kyle Porter was felled and required treatment.

Canada’s best chance of the match came in the 21st minute, when Jonathan Osorio received a pass from Ashtone Morgan on the left side of the field.  The Toronto FC midfielder, 21, cut inside and fired a right-footed shot that was tipped over the crossbar for a corner kick.

Osorio turned provider just six minutes later as he worked with Russell Teibert, again on the left, to create another scoring opportunity. After some neat combination play between the duo, Osorio found Kyle Porter, whose attempt was blocked.

Though Canada started the second half well, holding an advantage in possession, neither side looked likely to score.

Canadian veteran Dwayne De Rosario had a 48th minute effort from outside the 18-yard box saved easily.

A Mauritania free kick by Guidilèye Diallo with 20 minutes left in regulation was blocked by Canadian captain Atiba Hutchinson.

The two sides will square off again on Tuesday at the same venue. 

NOTES: Canada has not conceded a goal in two straight games, but has not scored in its last five outings…goalkeeper Lars Hirschfeld posted his 17th career clean sheet with the national "A" team…Jonathan Osorio was selected as Canada's footballer of the match by Canadian media in attendance.