Football: One-goal lead for Canada

Click to follow
AUSTRALIA were made to regret the absence of Aston Villa's Mark Bosnich when their understudy goalkeeper was sent off after only 16 minutes, and they were defeated 2-1 by Canada in Saturday's World Cup play-off at Edmonton, Alberta, writes Rupert Metcalf.

Australia or Canada will meet the second-placed team in Group A of the South American qualifying tournament - which will probably be Colombia - for a place in next year's finals. 'We've given ourselves a one- goal lead,' Canada's coach, Bob Lenarduzzi, said. 'Now the onus is on them. But we're not going in there to defend and look to come out of there with a 0-0 draw. If it happens, great.'

Bosnich, Villa's goalkeeper, withdrew from the Australian squad after learning that he would have to miss the start of the FA Carling Premiership season if he played in the second leg against Canada, in Sydney on 15 August. After a protest from the Australians about his late withdrawal, Bosnich was banned from all matches by Fifa, the world governing body, until 16 August.

Canada took control in the early stages, winning most of the midfield battles before a crowd of 27,775. After the Australian goalkeeper, Robert Zabica of Adelaide City, was sent off for a foul outside the penalty area on Dale Mitchell, Mark Schwarzer, the third- choice goalkeeper and an international debutant, came off the bench, with a defender, Milan Belagojevic, being withdrawn. Zabica will be suspended for the game in Sydney.

However, Australia still took the lead just before half-time when Ned Zelic, the Borussia Dortmund midfielder, sent in a cross which Nick Dasovic headed in to his own net. With 10 men, though, the Australian advantage did not last long, with Mark Watson knocking in a rebound in the 52nd minute and then Domenic Mobilio, his Vancouver 86ers team-mate, doing likewise six minutes later.

The home side fielded the Ipswich Town pair of goalkeeper Craig Forrest and full-back Frank Yallop, plus Colin Miller, the Hamilton Academicals full-back and Canadian captain, and Alex Bunbury, the West Ham striker.

On the second weekend of the French league season, troubled Marseille lost 2-1 last night at newly promoted Cannes. The defending champions took the lead when Alen Boksic, their Croats striker, converted a 25th-minute penalty, but Cannes levelled 11 minutes later through Franck Priou. Kader Ferahoui hit the winner 10 minutes from time for Cannes, who are one of only three teams with a 100 per cent record. The others are Nantes, 1-0 home victors over St Etienne, and Bordeaux, who won 3-0 at Le Havre.