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Canada held to 2-2 draw in pre-World Cup friendly with Bahrain; roster announcement Sunday

The Canadian Men’s National Team were held to a 2-2 draw against Bahrain on Friday in their final match before announcing the roster for the 2022 World Cup.

John Herdman is set to name the group that will head to Qatar on Sunday, meaning a number of MLS-based players were under the microscope on Friday at Khalifa Sports City Stadium – Canada’s European contingent is yet to join up with the squad.

Canada made an excellent start to the match with CF Montreal talent Ismael Kone breaking from midfield to meet a Kamal Miller pass, beat the Bahrain defense and put the ball beyond Ibraheem Latf Allah to score his first senior international goal.

Les Rouges had the ball in the net again three minutes later, but Lucas Cavallini’s effort was rightly ruled out for offside.

Some slack passing and shoddy defending from Canada allowed Mahdi Al-Humaidan to level the scores on 14 minutes, while Bahrain took the lead from the penalty spot in the 65th minute, with Abdulla Yusuf Helal beating Dayne St. Clair.

Canada pushed hard for the equalizer but found it in slightly fortunate circumstances, with Zachary Brault-Guillard’s cross hitting Cavallini and finding the back of the net in the 81st minute.

“A very good test and the sort of test we needed”

– CanMNT head coach John Herdman

“A very good test and the sort of test we needed,” Herdman said after the match. “We knew Bahrain were going to treat this like a big match and they brought a real intensity.

“It’s what we needed to just shake off some of the rust and for me to be able to assess some players at this level. I think what we learned is there were some good moments but there’s still some work to be done. We’ve got to get the team into some cohesion and get them back into that match rhythm.”

Herdman will now nervously watch on as the likes of Alphonso Davies, Jonathan David, Cyle Larin, and Tajon Buchanan complete their club commitments this weekend before joining up with the rest of the squad.

Canada begin their Group F campaign against Belgium on Wednesday, November 23, before fixtures against Croatia (November 27), and Morocco (December 1).

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