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Women's Football News
Canada 1 (Sinclair 90) China 0
An injury time penalty gave hosts Canada a winning start to the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup in front of the biggest sports crowd in Canadian history.
A crowd of 53,058 packed into the Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton to witness a nervous looking Canada side struggle to break down an inexperienced but well organised Chinese defence but star player Christine Sinclair ensured that they picked up all three points, thanks to her late strike.
Expectations were high for the host nation going into the game and they almost got off to a great start, Sophie Schmidt's long free kick into the area was latched onto by Kadeisha Buchanan, the defender's shot being blocked at the near post by Fei Wang who did well to get up and save from the rebound.
Sinclair was next to steal in from Melissa Tancredi's pass and controlled well but her shot from an angle was narrowly wide of the far post.
Canada were very nervous at the back and almost paid the penalty when Lauren Sesselmann left a back pass short and Yasha Gu seized upon the ball but Erin McLeod was quickly off her line to rescue her side with a smothering save.
China were to get even closer at the midway point of the half when winning a free kick just outside the area. Li Si Wang curled her shot over the wall but was desperately unlucky to see the ball strike both posts and somehow stay out of the goal.
The host side hit back and rattled the woodwork themselves when a 25-yard strike by Josee Belanger crashed against the bar.
The pattern of the game continued either side of the interval with Canada having the majority of possession but struggling to break down China, who kept their shape very well whilst looking sharp on the break themselves.
Schmidt was working hard in midfield but a succession of forays into the Chinese half broke down with the final pass whilst central defenders Dongna Li and Rong Zhao were having fine matches at the back for China.
Sinclair had a chance with eight minutes remaining when Schmidt guided the ball back to her inside the area but her shot lacked power and Fei Wang was able to save comfortably. Schmidt herself was next to try her luck with a strike from distance which sailed wide of the post.
It looked as though the teams would have to settle for a point apiece but in the second minute of injury time, Adriana Leon went down under a challenge from Rong Zhao and a penalty was awarded. It looked a very soft decision but the defender had made contact with her forearm and this left Sinclair to roll home the only goal of the game from the penalty spot, despite Fei Wang guessing the right way.
Canada: Erin McLeod, Josee Belanger, Allysha Chapman, Kadeisha Buchanan, Lauren Sesselmann, Sophie Schmidt, Ashley Lawrence, Melissa Tancredi (sub Adriana Leon 77mins), Jonelle Filigno (sub Kaylyn Kyle 61mins), Christine Sinclair, Desiree Scott (sub Jessie Fleming 71mins).
China: Fei Wang, Haiyan Wu, Shanshan Liu, Rong Zhao, Guixin Ren, Dongna Li, Yasha Gu (sub Jun Ma 87mins), Ruyin Tan, Shanshan Wang, Ying Li (sub Rui Zhang 62mins), Li Si Wang (sub Peng Han 42mins).
Player of the match: Sophie Schmidt.
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