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2012 Olympics: Soccer - Sinclair leads Canada to crucial victory over South Africa
After dropping their opening match to Japan by a score of 2-1, Team Canada needed to rebound with a big performance against South Africa and they did just that, earning their first victory of the 2012 Olympics. Christine Sinclair led the way with a pair of goals and Melissa Tancredi added another, pacing Canada to a comfortable 3-0 win.
Edmonton - July 28, 2012 - After dropping their opening match to Japan by a score of 2-1, Team Canada needed to rebound with a big performance against South Africa and they did just that, earning their first victory of the 2012 Olympics. Christine Sinclair led the way with a pair of goals and Melissa Tancredi added another, pacing Canada to a comfortable 3-0 win.
Sweden held the defending World Cup champions from Japan to a 0-0 draw, earlier in the day, making the Canadian's game a must win. That is, if they had any intentions of finishing among the top two in Group F and automatically qualifying for the knockout stages of the competition. The opportunity to advance would still exist for whichever team that finishes third but that would only come with a favourable goal differential, after the completion of the group stages.
In a game which Team Canada needed their best players to step up their game, Sinclair didn't disappoint, scoring a pair of second half markers. Tancredi gave Canada exactly what they were looking for, finding the back of the net after just seven minutes play, knocking home a lovely cross from Diana Matheson for her second goal in as many games.
Sinclair would double Canada's advantage, with her first of the tournament, in the 58th minute. Her perfectly placed header made it just over the outstretched arms of South African keeper Thokozile Mndawen, making it 2-0 for Canada.
Sinclair closed out the scoring with her second of the match, in the 86th minute, after being sent in all alone and easily beating the South African keeper and giving the Canadian's an insurmountable three goal bulge. The goal now gives Sinclair 139 on the international stage and leaves her only one goal shy of American Abby Wambach, for second on the all time list. The two continue to close in on Mia Hamm's all time mark of 158 goals and at this point, it's only a matter of when and not if, the two will pass Hamm.
The news wasn't all good for Canada, as defender Robyn Gayle was injured midway through the second half, joining fellow defender Candace Chapman in the injury bay. Ironically, it was Gayle who started in place of Chapman, after the Canadian defender crumbled to the pitch during their opening match against Japan.
Canada will take on Sweden in their final Group F game, knowing another victory will send them directly into the knockout stages and keep their dream of an Olympic medal alive.
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