Canada beats Brazil on PKs to advance to Olympic soccer semi-finals vs the U.S.

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Published July 30, 2021 at 12:23 pm

stephanie-labbe

Stephanie Labbe was the hero for Canada this morning, making two crucial stops in a thrilling penalty shootout to send her squad into the semi-finals for the third consecutive Olympics.

The Canadian women, who beat Brazil for the bronze medal five years ago in Rio, faced the Brazilians once more, but this time in the quarter-finals in Tokyo.

Brazil, with the legendary Marta in the lineup, had scored an intimidating nine goals in the tournament but couldn’t solve Labbe in regulation in this match and the Canada number one – who was injured in the opening match against Japan and didn’t return to the lineup until the final game of the preliminary round – had to make several big saves to keep her team in it.

Extra time solved nothing and when Canadian soccer icon Christine Sinclair had her penalty saved to start the shootout Canadian fans began to worry that a medal wasn’t going to happen this year – a feeling that wasn’t helped when Brazil scored on their next two attempts to take a 3-2 lead after three rounds.

But the Canadian players – and more importantly, Labbe – had no such concerns. Jessie Fleming, Ashley Lawrence and Adriana Leon all scored to keep pace, setting up Labbe’s huge save on Andressa to pull the Reds even.

And when Vanessa Gillies scored for Canada, all the pressure was now on the shoulders of Brazil’s Rafaelle and Labbe dived to her left to make the save of her life to send Canada to the semi-finals.

Canada plays for a chance at gold Monday against arch-rival the United States, who beat the Netherlands on penalty kicks.

Durham Region players Nichelle Prince (Ajax), Allysha Chapman (Courtice) and Jayden Riviere (Pickering) all featured in the match.

Photo: Koki Nagahama

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