Ajax’s Derek Cornelius hopes to get start in huge soccer qualifyer against Costa Rica

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Published November 11, 2021 at 2:58 pm

RHYTHM SECTION - Derek Cornelius (left). Doneil Henry and Richie Laryea, with Alphonso Davies on the drum

Ajax’s Derek Cornelius is hoping Canada’s Men’s National Team Head Coach John Herdman taps him on the shoulder for tomorrow’s crucial World Cup qualifying match against Costa Rica in Edmonton.

Cornelius, who plays for Panetolikos in Greece, had 13 caps in Canadian colours when he played against Honduras in March in the first game of the Octagon, the final round of qualifying, but didn’t get to take the field again until the October 10 match in Kingston, Jamaica.

Cap number 14 was a busy one as Cornelius – who played the full 90 minutes – and his partners on the backline had to stay alert to keep the clean sheet for goalie Max Crepeau in a nil-nil draw.

“It’s not an easy place to play,” he said after the match about Jamaica’s National Stadium, “but with the talent we have here we’re looking to win every game so we’re a little disappointed. We take pride in our clean sheets but the standards on this team have gone up.”

Canada had the better of the chances but the 23 year-old (he turns 24 in two weeks) had to be on his toes in the 39th minute when a Jamaican header was blocked at the line by Alistair Johnson and then headed out of danger by Cornelius.

Canada won the next game, 4-1 at home against Panama, to put them into third place in the standings ahead of crucial home matches tomorrow and Tuesday in Edmonton, superstar Alphonso Davies’ hometown.

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