Ricketts double lifts Canada past Mauritania

Tosaint Ricketts (pictured) scored two goals in Canada's win over Mauritania in an international friendly on October 6, 2016, in Marrakech, Morocco. (Photo courtesy of Canada Soccer)

MARRAKECH. Morocco -- Canada scored four goals in the second half and earned a 4-0 win over Mauritania in an international friendly on Thursday at the Grand Stade de Marrakech.

The victory came in the debut of interim head coach Michael Findlay, who replaced Benito Floro last month after the Canadians were eliminated from CONCACAF qualifying for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

Tosaint Ricketts netted two goals to take his career to 14 in 53 games, while Steven Vitoria and Marcus Haber added one each.

"The players' reaction at half-time was positive and beneficial to what you saw in the second half," said Findlay. “You have to be happy with that transfer of attitude and ultimately the four goals we produced."

Mauritania, however, could have taken a 1-0 lead in the 20th minute, but Abdoul Ba’s penalty kick was saved by goalkeeper Simon Thomas.

Seven minutes after the break, Canada got on the scoresheet through Ricketts. Mauritania turned over the ball in its own end, allowing Junior Hoilett to drive to the left-goal line and cross to Ricketts, who tapped in from a yard out.

Vitoria made it 2-0 in the 56th minute, side-volleying Ricketts’ header into the top-left corner from eight yards out for his first-ever international goal.

The advantage was extended to three goals in the 58th minute as an on-rushing Haber buried Maxim Tissot’s left-sided cross.

With 10 minutes left in normal time, Ricketts completed his brace. Second-half substitute Fraser Aird dribbled down the right flank and drifted towards the middle, before flicking the ball past a defender. Ricketts had enough time to rein in the pass at the top of the penalty area, turn and shoot into the bottom-left corner.

Canada, which won consecutive games for the first time in nearly 16 months, returns to action on October 11 against host Morocco at the same venue.