HARRISON, New Jersey -- It was by no means the prettiest goal ever scored, but with Dejan Jakovic’s 28th-minute finish of a Scott Arfield free kick – after it was tipped into his path by goalkeeper Donovan Leon – Canada finally got back on the CONCACAF Gold Cup scoresheet after a long wait.
Not only was the goal the first in a 4-2 win over French Guiana at Red Bull Arena, it was Les Rouges’ first in the competition since 2011, breaking a shutout string of six consecutive games.
The somewhat fortunate deflection finally put Canada in front, after it threatened to do so for much of the early going.
“I just knew that it went in,” said Jakovic of the goal that happened when Leon directed the ball into Jakovic’s ribcage and into the goal. “It was a great ball by Scotty and I made the run and kind of got rewarded and got lucky. He came out and as I stuck out my foot, I just felt it hit—I think it was my (rear end) or lower back but I’ll take it.”
The goal came as a big relief to the Canadians, who -- with that weight off their shoulders – played a more adventuresome and fluid game. Even 16-year-old midfielder Alphonso Davies played a huge role, netting the last two goals and becoming the youngest scorer in Gold Cup history.
“It was very important for us,” Jakovic finished. “That’s what we had coming into the game -- to get three points. And we managed to do that. We had a little scare at the end, the last 10 minutes. But, overall, I thought we played really well and looked dangerous in attack.
“A big win to start the tournament.”