Canada seals CU17W semifinal spot with win
Canada (pictured) celebrates after scoring against host Grenada in the CONCACAF Under-17 Women's Championship on March 5, 2016, in St. George's. (Photo: Mexsport)
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ST. GEORGE’S, Grenada – Canada (2W-0D-2L, 6 points) booked a place in the 2016 CONCACAF Under-17 Women’s Championship with a game to spare thanks to a 7-0 win over host Grenada (0W-0D-2L, 0 points) on Saturday at the Grenada Athletics Stadium.

Teni Akindoju led the way with three goals, while Jordyn Huitema struck for a brace. TSG player of the match Nahida Baalbaki and Kennedy Faulknor – a Canada senior team member – tallied once each.

The result also clinched a first-ever berth in the final four for Haiti (2W-0D-0L, 6 points), which edged Guatemala (0W-0D-2L, 0 points), 3-2, earlier in the day.

Baalbaki struck just three minutes after the opening whistle, rising high to head home from 10-yards out off Ashley Cathro’s right-sided corner kick.

Nine minutes later, Akindoju would start her string of three straight goals.

Following a neat passing and positioning sequence that started on the right wing, Sarah Stratigakis slid a pass into the box Akindoju. The 14-year-old received the ball with left and swiveled quickly inside to fire a right-footed shot off the left hand off diving goalkeeper Holly Charles and into the back of the net.

In the 13th minute, Ballbaki tried to find the target from distance, only for her left-footed effort to crash off the crossbar. Charles tried to gather it in, but under pressure from Camila Gomez she spilled the ball onto the Akindoju’s right foot for a right-footed finish from 10-yards out.

Akindoju completed her hat-trick in the 26th minute, when an attempted Grenada clearance from its own box ricocheted off Gomez back toward the goal. In an instant, Akindoju pounced on the ball and drilled a right-footer into the upper-right corner from 10-yards out.

At halftime, Akindoju made way for Jordyn Huitema, who proceeded to net two goals of her own.

The Vancouver Whitecaps product made it 5-0 in the 72nd minute, tapping in at the goal line after a right-sided cross by Nadege L’Esperance slipped through Charles’ hands.

Baalbaki’s splendidly chipped free kick to the edge of the six-yard box was headed home by Kennedy Faulknor in the 85th minute, before Huitema knocked in the rebound of an initial shot off the left foot of Julia Grosso that was saved by Charles.

Group A play will conclude on Monday with Haiti and Canada slated to square off for first place, immediately following an encounter between Grenada and Guatemala, both of which have been eliminated from contention.