ALSO ON SLAM!
Sunday, June 11, 2000
Cuba hopes to draw first blood
The Cuban coach is anxious for his side to crack out of a scoring drought in a big hurry tonight.
The Cubans, you see, have managed but one goal in their last three away games. And since they dropped a 1-0 decision to Team Canada in the first leg of a two-game World Cup-qualifying series in Havana last Sunday, the heat is on to score quickly in tonight's re-match.
"I'm looking to score early and put some pressure on the Canadian team," Cuba coach William Bennett said through an interpreter after a rain-shortened training session at the Winnipeg Soccer Complex yesterday.
"Canada plays very disciplined and waits to see how the other team plays. We hope to score early to open the game up."
Since away goals count double, Canada actually enters the match with a 2-0 lead. However, each goal Cuba scores tonight will count double.
'MOTIVATED TO SCORE'
"We are motivated to score more goals," Bennett said. "But when you play good teams like Canada, it's very hard."
So the pressure is on such players as Manuel Bobadilla and Lester More to produce.
"Our whole country is waiting anxiously for the result because of the quality of the Canadian team and the rivalry with Canada in soccer," said Bennett, a former national team goalkeeper whose side beat Canada during the Pan Am Games back in 1971. He's hoping for a repeat tonight.
"I can't say we're going to win, but we're going to come to win," he said. "I'm hoping for a clean and hard and beautiful game for the crowd."
Although they only practised for 15 minutes, Bennett praised the pitch and insisted his team will be ready tonight.