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    CHRONO SPORTS

  • Friday, July 21, 2000

    Win crucial for Canada

    By TONY MARASCHIELLO -- Toronto Sun

      Canada's men's soccer team may want to give the Argonauts a ring to see if they can borrow some helmets and pads this weekend.

     With the national team travelling to Panama to play a crucial World Cup qualifier on Sunday (4 p.m., CTV Sportsnet), veteran forward Paul Peschisolido has warned his teammates to expect a hostile environment at the Stadio Romuel Fernandez in Panama City.

     "The fans are going to be a problem for us," said Peschisolido, who played for Canada in a World Cup qualifier at Panama City in 1996. "The last time we played there, they wanted to kill us."

     SENT OFF

     Canada played Panama to a 0-0 draw in that game, but not before Peschisolido and Canadian keeper Craig Forrest were sent off with red cards.

     "It was absolutely ridiculous," Peschisolido said yesterday at the team's training base at Alliston, Ont. "One of their players punched me in the back of the head and the ref sent both of us off. In Craig's case, he picked up the ball in the goal area and one of their players crashed into him. The ref sent Craig off and not the other guy.

     "It's going to be crazy for sure."

     Peschisolido said the game almost was called off before it started because the crowd was so unruly.

     AGGRESSIVE

     However, Peschisolido said Canada must go into Sunday's game with an aggressive mind-set and play for the win. Canada's 2-0 loss to Trinidad and Tobago at Edmonton this past Sunday in the opening game of CONCACAF qualifying means the team needs three points against the Panamanians.

     Failure to do that likely would mean Canada would need to win its remaining four games in the semi-final round in order to advance to the final stage of qualifying next year.

     Canada has shown an ability since coach Holger Osieck took over the program almost two years ago of going on the road and performing well. Canada beat Cuba 1-0 in horrid weather and field conditions at Havana last month in a playoff series.



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