Saturday, May 24, 2014

International Friendly Soccer Game: Canada 1 Bulgaria 1

Atiba Hutchinson's first half penalty kick gave Canada its first goal since early 2013 as the team tied Bulgaria 1-1 on Friday. Andrey Galabinov scored Bulgaria's lone tally in the match, which was played in Ritzing, Austria in front of a sparse crowd.

The first half was a back-and-forth affair for long spells, with both sides getting chances early and often. Canada goalkeeper Milan Borjan made the game's first big save in the 12th minute, parrying the ball over the crossbar after a driven shot from distance. Three minutes later it was Vladislav Stoyanov's turn, with the Bulgarian 'keeper coming up big in stopping a blast from Randy Edwini-Bonsu.

Bulgaria grabbed the match's first goal in the 19th minute, as Galabinov sidefooted the opener past Borjan. The Bulgarian striker received a short pass inside the Canadian penalty area from captain Ivelin Popov and did well to fend off Canuck defender Adam Straith before tucking the ball under Borjan's left side.

The Canadians would respond in the 27th minute, after Tosaint Ricketts was kicked in the face while challenging for a corner kick inside the penalty area. Hutchinson stepped up to the spot and coolly slotted home to tie the score at 1-1.

The goal, Canada's first in more than 10 international matches, gave the North American side a burst of confidence. It would be the Canadians who would get the first half's next biggest chance at goal just five minutes after Hutchinson's strike, with the goalscorer looking to play provider by lobbing in a pass for a wide open Ricketts. The striker let the ball bounce and, from the top of the Bulgarian 18-yard box, unleashed a half volley that Stoyanov did very well to push wide.

The second half saw far fewer chances for either side, although the Bulgarians enjoyed most of the possession as Canada grew tired. Despite having more of the ball, Bulgaria could muster little more than a handful of half-chances, as Benito Floro's side did well to see the game out.

Canada will take on Moldova next Tuesday in another neutral site friendly in Austria.


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