MONTPELLIER, France – Centre back Kadeisha Buchanan scored the breakthrough goal on the eve of halftime against a stubborn Cameroon defence Monday as Canada opened its Women’s World Cup campaign with a 1-0 win.
The Indomitable Lionesses, ranked 46th in the world, parked the bus early against No. 5 Canada.
The first-half storyline was Canada trying to play the ball and a physical Cameroon looking to stop it. The Africans strung five defenders in a line behind a holding midfielder when Canada had the ball, looking to win it back and send a long ball to a streaking forward.
At times, the Canadians seemed in search of perfection when a shot on target would have done nicely. Cameroon, meanwhile, took no prisoners with some hard-nosed play.
The breakthrough finally came in the 45th minute off a Janine Beckie corner. Buchanan, like an Exocet missile, came steaming through the penalty box at the far post, soared in the air and headed the ball downwards off the turf into the goal.
It was the fourth goal in 89 career matches for Buchanan — her third off a header and her first since February 2016. The relief for Canada was palpable.