Canada 1-0 Peru: Jonathan David scores winner, assistant referee collapses in first half

After 344 minutes at the helm, Canadian head coach Jesse Marsch finally saw one of his players score a goal. And it was a winning goal too.

While Kansas City was warned of extreme heat, Canada held on and achieved an important victory in a major international tournament thanks to a second-half goal from Jonathan David against a ten-man team, Peru.

But it wasn’t easy.

The sun beat down on the pitch at Children’s Mercy Park, the impact most noticeable when assistant referee Humberto Panjoj appeared to collapse, leading to a stoppage of play during extra time in the first half of the Group A match. Immediately stretchers were obtained for the linesman before he was treated by medical staff, taken off the pitch and replaced after half-time.

The first half also included a controversial no-call due to a headbutt incident, before Peru was punished with a red card in the second half for defender Miguel Araujo’s challenge on Jacob Shaffelburg.

The Athletics‘s Joshua Kloke shares his insights from the competition…

What happened to the assistant referee at the end of the first half?

The heat has been relentless in Kansas City all week, with temperatures hovering between and around 100 degrees. A heat warning has also been issued in the city throughout the day.

During extra time in the first half, as Canada was about to take a free kick in Peru’s half, assistant referee Panjoj fell to the ground. Canadian goalkeeper Maxime Crepeau noticed it first and sprinted towards Panjoj. As he did so, Crepeau shouted at referee Mario Escobar for his attention. The match was interrupted as stretchers were immediately brought for Panjoj.

Medics help Panjoj. (Photo by Hector Vivas, Getty Images)

About five minutes later, Panjoj was taken off the field on a stretcher.

For most of the first half, about two-thirds of the field was covered in shade due to the stadium’s curved cover. Panjoj had to patrol the part that was not in the shade.

At halftime, nearly every fan on the west side of the stadium moved to shaded areas as the stadium appeared to be about half full.

How did Canada arrive at this groundbreaking goal?

The difference, at least on paper, between these two sides is Canada’s individual attacking quality. Many of the best attackers play in Europe’s top leagues. But for most of the game, many of Canada’s best players struggled to make an impact.

That is until one of Canada’s best weapons – his speed – turned the game in his favor.

In a quick counterattack, the fast winger Shaffelburg, a substitute at half-time, collected a pass and turned on the jets. By not thinking too much and taking the ball from just inside the opponent’s half directly towards goal, Peru were caught flat-footed.

As is his wont, David timed his run perfectly to open himself up for Shaffelburg’s long pass. After a few smart touches, David then slid a shot past Peru goalkeeper Pedro Gallese for the first goal under Marsch.

The goal was David’s 27th for Canada in his 50th appearance. That puts him within two goals of Cyle Larin for Canada’s all-time lead in goals.

It always had to be David. Marsch has an unyielding admiration for his striker’s football IQ and his ability to keep a cool head when the game doesn’t always go as he hopes. David’s composure was the difference and a reminder of why he is wanted in the Premier League at the moment.

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How did referee decisions affect the match?

Referee Escobar had his hands full with a match that promised physicality long before kick-off. Peru coach Jorge Fossati said of Canada’s performance against Argentina that there was a “thin line between strength and violence,” which seemed like an attempt to curry favor with Escobar and start practicing the practice a little earlier than necessary dark arts.

But on the field it was Fossati’s team that was more physical. For example, how could Escobar not immediately give Peruvian midfielder Marcos Lopez a red card for headbutting Canadian defender Alistair Johnston in the first half? The question boggles the mind when you add that the play was also assessed by VAR.

Peru did not abandon their openly erratic play in the second half as the heat continued and tensions rose. Escobar ultimately used VAR to assess Miguel Araujo’s possible foul on Shaffelburg, Canada. A red card was given for the foul and Peru were reduced to 10 men. All credit to the Canadian team, which kept a cool head when the mistake occurred right in front of the bench. Before the match, Marsch emphasized how important discipline would be on his side. They were the only team to practice this in the oppressive heat of Kansas City.

But even with the man advantage, it took some time for Canada to make the most of its opportunities. Canada struggled to get to grips with the game in possession and generate any kind of creativity in the build-up to David’s goal. They will have to keep creating more chances to have any hope of progressing from Group A.

What does this result mean for Canada?

Canada desperately needed a win under Marsch for several reasons.

Firstly, the progress they have made in a short period of time on the tactical front since Marsch took charge in May is impressive. But that progress came without a result – or a goal, for that matter – and this win is a reminder of what can come from the positive steps Canada is taking.

Canada earned its first victory under Marsch on Tuesday. (Photo by Hector Vivas, Getty Images)

The confidence Canada felt after holding France to a 0-0 draw in a friendly in June was good, but getting a result in a competitive match is another matter. They showed composure as tempers flared and Peru tried to manipulate the game.

This result came against a team ranked 31st in the FIFA world rankings and should now be considered one of the greatest wins in Canadian soccer history. Canada has long believed that with the talent at its disposal, it should be considered in the same echelon as teams like Peru. They now have a result to prove it.

Now Canada can feel even more confident heading into its final group match against Chile. With the first major tournament victory in a generation under their belts, Canada is in a good place moving forward.

What did the managers say?

Peru coach Jorge Fossati: “I don’t think it makes sense to play at this time with this temperature.”

“In the first half we challenged Canada more than Argentina challenged them (in a 2-0 win last week). And I’m talking about Argentina, the current world champion. We created more chances than against Chile. I think I can honestly say we put on a great 60-minute match.”

Canada coach Jesse Marsch: “We talked about wanting to make a big statement, make history and show that we were ready for bigger challenges… And ultimately, with the wisdom of Peru, with the experience of Peru, to managing the whole game properly and maintaining our discipline and not crossing the line, not endangering ourselves by bad cards and mistakes, which showed a level of maturity. I’m very happy for them. I’m really proud of them.”

What’s next for each team?

Argentina vs Peru — Saturday, June 29 at 8:00 PM ET/Saturday, June 30 at 1:00 AM UK (Hard Rock Stadium, Miami, Florida)

Canada vs Chile — Saturday, June 29 at 8:00 PM ET/Saturday, June 30 at 1:00 AM UK (Inter & Co Stadium, Orlando, Florida)

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(Top photo: Hector Vivas/Getty Images)