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Canada falls to Cuba at U20 CONCACAF men's championship

The Canadian Press

2/19/2013 1:05:07 AM

PUEBLA, Mexico -- Canada's men's under-20 soccer team suffered a major setback at the CONCACAF championship.

Maykel Reyes scored twice in the second half as Cuba defeated Canada 2-1 on Monday in the opening day of the tournament.

The game went scoreless until Reyes scored two quick goals in the 69th and 78th minutes.

Substitute Stefan Vukovic scored for Canada in injury time but it was too late for an equalizer.

"We simply need to stay positive as there is a lot of football left to play at this tournament," said head coach Nick Dasovic.

"We will assess the performance and ensure that we are prepared to get the necessary result in our next game."

Canada pressured Cuba throughout the first half but Reyes made a statement after the break when his header forced a diving save from goalkeeper Maxime Crepeau in the 52nd minute.

Reyes wouldn't miss on his next two opportunities.

Canada turned the ball over in a dangerous area and were punished by Reyes, who stormed into the box, beat the last man and finished to the bottom left corner for Cuba's first goal.

Then eight minutes later a lofted corner to the back post was played back in to Reyes, who slotted home the shot for a 2-0 lead.

Canada managed to cut the deficit late when Ben Fisk played in the corner to Doneil Henry who headed the ball toward the goal. The effort was parried away by keeper Sandy Sanchez, but Vukovic was on hand to finish from close range.

Canada now faces a must-win game against Nicaragua on Friday. The top two teams in each three-team group advance to the quarter-finals of the CONCACAF tournament that covers North and Central America and the Caribbean.

Canada is playing for one of four berths to the FIFA U-20 World Cup in Turkey on June 21-July 13.