EDMONTON – Captain Christine Sinclair saved the day for Canada, converting a stoppage-time penalty for a 1-0 win over China in the opening match of the Women’s World Cup on Saturday.
Sinclair calmly slotted the ball into the corner in the 92nd minute and then ran to the Canadian bench where she was mobbed by teammates. The penalty was called after Adriana Leon was hauled down in the box by Zhao Rong.
The game had seemed to be destined for a disappointing draw, with Canada unable to fire on all cylinders against a young China side.
For Canada, it was three points and a bullet dodged.
The Canadians had earlier chances but failed to execute and, after a strong start, let the Chinese back into the match before an enthusiastic crowd of 53,058 at Commonwealth Stadium. Both teams hit the woodwork in the first half.
The previous attendance record for a Canadian national team match on home soil was 51,936, set June 5, 1994, when the Canadian men played Brazil at the same venue.