Davies, David each score as Canada blanks Panama to reach CONCACAF Nations League final | CBC Sports (2024)

One final down. Another to go.

That's Canada's mindset at the CONCACAF Nations League Finals. And John Herdman's team is halfway to its goal after Thursday's 2-0 semifinal win over Panama in Las Vegas.

"We deserved the win but we didn't win nothing yet," said defender Steven Vitoria. "A giant step to where we want to go to."

Goals by Jonathan David and Alphonso Davies moved the Canadian men to within one win of their first trophy in 23 years. Canada, ranked 47th in the world, will play the defending champion U.S. in Sunday's final with a winner's purse of some $1 million US on the line.

WATCH | Davies's powerful shot seals semifinal win over Panama:

Davies, David each score as Canada blanks Panama to reach CONCACAF Nations League final | CBC Sports (1)

Davies' powerful shot sends Canada to CONCACAF Nations League final

10 months ago

Duration 0:58

Alphonso Davies scores with an absolute rocket and seals Canada's 2-0 victory over Panama in CONCACAF Nations League semifinal play.

The 13th-ranked Americans dispatched No. 15 Mexico 3-0 in an ill-tempered, at times ugly game that saw two players from each side sent off. The game was paused in the final minutes of the second half due to abusive chants, resulting in 12 minutes of stoppage time. Not all of those were used, with the contest ending early as the chants continued.

The Canadians are looking for their first hardware since lifting the CONCACAF Gold Cup in 2000.

"We took a step tonight but it means nothing unless you win it [the final]," said Herdman. "We got to a semifinal of a Gold Cup [in 2021]and I just remember that disappointment (Mexico scored in stoppage time for a 2-1 win) ...We played like six games to get there and, yeah, it hurt."

"We've got some work to do," he added. "We've got two days to get this team recovered. They're pretty beat up listening to them. It's going to be a hell of a ride."

David opens scoring

David put Canada ahead in the 25th minute, thanks to a perfect pass from Kamal Miller that sliced open the Panama defence. David saw the opening and pointed to where he wanted the ball as he ran towards space.

Miller delivered and the ball arrived at David's feet. Not missing a stride, the Lille striker coolly slotted it between Panama goalkeeper Orlando Mosquera's legs for his 25th goal in 41 Canada matches.

WATCH | Miller sets up David for beautiful opening goal:

Davies, David each score as Canada blanks Panama to reach CONCACAF Nations League final | CBC Sports (2)

Canada's David, Miller connect for beautiful opening goal against Panama

10 months ago

Duration 1:17

Kamal Miller sends a perfect pass to Jonathan David who nutmegs the goalkeeper in the 25th minute of CONCACAF Nations League semifinal play. Canada went on to defeat Panama 2-0 to advance to Sunday's final

'They're next level'

Minutes after entering the game, Davies made it 2-0 in the 69th minute, slicing into the box and roofing a powerful shot at the near post for his 14th Canada goal in 40 appearances. The Bayern Munich star was a danger man throughout his cameo, outpacing Panama defenders.

"They're next level," Herdman said of David and Davies. "They made a difference tonight."

They were the first goals Panama, ranked 58th in the world, had conceded in the competition.

"That's the match we wanted," said Herdman. "You need a match like that where it's going to test you mentally, emotionally, physically. And there were moments there where I think Panama was taking us into some deep water. There were some tough moments for us. They were really physical."

And occasionally dirty.

Tempers flared as the clock wound down and Panama was reduced to 10 men in the 89th minute when substitute Eric Davis was sent off for violent conduct. Costa Rican referee Juan Gabriel Calderon made the call after reviewing the play on the pitchside monitor and seeing Davis, chasing Richie Laryea, hitting the back of the Canadian's head with his arm.

  • PreviewCanada coach Herdman notes Panama's competitive advantage ahead of CONCACAF Nations League clash

The semifinal doubleheader was played at Allegiant Stadium, the 65,000-capacity climate-controlled home of the NFL's Las Vegas Raiders. The stadium, which cost a reported $1.9 billion, boasts 2,300 TVs and almost 7,000 square metres of video board.

Goalkeeper Milan Borjan, earning his 74th cap, captained Canada with 40-year-old Atiba Hutchinson starting on the bench alongside Davies, whose season in Germany ended prematurely due to a thigh injury suffered in a game on April 22.

Borjan recorded his 34th shutout in Canadian colours.

Hutchinson earns 104th cap, extending record

Davies and Jonathan Osorio came on in the 62nd minute. Scott Kennedy followed them on in the 69th minute, with Hutchinson and Junior Hoilett arriving in the 76th minute as Herdman looked to rest players ahead of Sunday.

For Hutchinson, it was cap No. 104, adding to his Canadian men's record.

Embracing every minute 🐙❤️<br><br>Atiba Hutchinson subs on for <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/CANMNT?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#CANMNT</a>! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/WeCAN?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#WeCAN</a> <a href="https://t.co/UbYqurfZOp">pic.twitter.com/UbYqurfZOp</a>

&mdash;@CanadaSoccerEN

"We scored first, that's critical in football. And then we protected," said Herdman. "We protected what we had."

"We knew they'd be vulnerable on the transition and definitely we knew we had something a bit special coming in the 60th minute," he added with a smile, referencing Davies's entry onto the game.

Seven of Thursday's starters were also in the starting 11 for Canada's final World Cup game against Morocco in Qatar. Of the four other starters Thursday, three were on the bench against Morocco with midfielder Stephen Eustaquio nursing an injury in the World Cup group finale.

Calderon let them play, making for a fast tempo first half. Canada's speed and accurate passing made life difficult for the Panamanians.

The second half was a little choppier.

Davies, David each score as Canada blanks Panama to reach CONCACAF Nations League final | CBC Sports (3)

Canada came into the game having played just twice since the World Cup, wrapping up Nations League group play in March by defeating No. 80 Honduras 4-1 and No. 88 Curaçao2-0.

The Nations League features 41 teams from North and Central America and the Caribbean split into three tiers: League A (12 teams), B (16) and C (13). The four group winners in League A advanced to the final four.

Canada (3-1-0) won Group C in the League A of the Nations League while Panama (3-0-1) finished atop Group B, outscoring No. 39 Costa Rica and unranked Martinique by a combined 8-0. Panama defeated Costa Rica 1-0 with a 77th-minute goal by Jose Fajardo to decide first place in the final group game.

Mexico (2-0-2) topped Group A, while the U.S. (3-0-1) won Group D.

WATCH | Larin strikes twice to leadCanada past Honduras in Toronto:

Davies, David each score as Canada blanks Panama to reach CONCACAF Nations League final | CBC Sports (4)

Canada advances to CONCACAF Nations League semifinals with win over Honduras

1 year ago

Duration 1:56

Cyle Larin scores two early goals and Canada goes on to defeat Honduras 4-1 in CONCACAF Nations League group play. The Canadian squad will play in the tournament's final four in Las Vegas in June.

Canada improved to 5-2-6 against Panama, which won 1-0 the last time they met. That was in March 2022 in Canada's final World Cup qualifying game, which came four days after the Canadian men had secured their place in Qatar.

Panama missed out on Qatar, finishing fifth in the final round of World Cup qualifying in CONCACAF.

After the Nations League, the Canadians turn their attention to the Gold Cup. Canada opens Group D play against a yet-to-be-determined qualifier in Toronto on June 27 before heading to Houston to play No. 116 Guatemala and No. 165 Cuba.

  • Veteran coaches Phil Neville, Richard Shaw join Canadian men's soccer staff

The Americans won the first edition of the CONCACAF Nations League in 2021, defeating Mexico 3-2 on Christian Pulisic's penalty in extra time in Denver. Honduras was third and Costa Rica fourth.

Canada missed out on the inaugural final four, finishing runner-up to the U.S. in its group on goal difference.

Davies, David each score as Canada blanks Panama to reach CONCACAF Nations League final | CBC Sports (2024)

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