An own goal off the leg of Ali Abdula Haram in the 81st minute gave Canada a 2-2 draw against Bahrain at Manama on Friday night in its next-to-last exhibition before the World Cup.
Ismael Kone put Canada ahead in the sixth minute with his first international goal, beating goalkeeper Ebrahim Lutfalla with a high shot after a long ball from Montreal teammate Kamal Miller deep in Canada’s end.
Mahdi Haumaidan tied the score from inside the penalty area in the 14th off a pass from Abdulla Yusuf, who had beaten Joel Waterman. Haumaidan’s shot went in off the right hand of goalkeeper Dwayne St. Clair.
Waterman was making his international debut.
Yusuk’s penalty kick put Bahrain ahead 2-1 in the 65th. Canada tied the score when Zachary Brault-Guillard’s low cross bounced off the legs of Lucas Cavallini and Abdula Haram.
”A very good test and the sort of test we needed,” Canada coach John Herdman said. ”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.”
Canada, back in the World Cup for the first time since 1986, opens Group F against Belgium on Nov. 23, before facing Croatia four days later and Morocco on Dec. 1.
The exhibition was played in 84-degree heat (29 Celsius).
Herdman plans to announce his 26-man roster on Sunday, and Europe-based players will report before an exhibition Thursday against Japan at Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
Defender Doneil Henry was scratched because of an injury in warmups.
”It’s been one of the toughest moments of my career today to see the big man suffering in there,” said Herdman, who was awaiting an assessment of Henry’s injury.
Defender Alistair Johnston played his 27th consecutive international match, tying the Canadian record set by Bruce Wilson. Ayo Akinola made his first appearance since injuring a knee against the U.S. during the 2021 CONCACAF Gold Cup.
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