Canadians in Europe: Another GWG for Larin
Cyle Larin continued his hot start to his La Liga career, while Alphonso Davies helped Bayern get back in the win column and Canadian women faced off against one another in a London derby in the Women's Super League.
Cyle Larin, Valladolid - Brampton, Ont.'s Cyle Larin has only been with Valladolid for two matches since his loan move from Club Brugge was finalized, but he's already emerging as a super sub who might help keep the Albivioletas in La Liga. Larin announced his arrival in La Liga last week, scoring the match's only goal as Valladolid picked up a key three points against a struggling Valencia side. This weekend's test would be a much more difficult one with Valladolid travelling to take on a Real Sociedad side with Champions League aspirations. Takefusa Kobo had the best opportunity to open the scoring in the early going. Sociedad's Japan midfielder picked up a deflection from his own effort, made room just inside the area and then ripped a shot that went wide of the far post in the 12th. In the 34th, the home side should have been ahead. Norway striker Alexander Sorloth, on loan from RB Leipzig, was played in behind the Valladolid backline by an expertly weighted pass by Pablo Marin. In alone on Jordi Masip, Sorloth appeared to take one touch too many and instead of striking with his right foot, he used his left to send a low effort right into the post. In the 59th, he'd take another crack from distance, but Sorloth's curling effort missed the far post. It was almost immediately after this shot that Larin made his entrance into the match, coming on for Sergio Leon. It wouldn't take long for Larin to make an impact. As the ball rattled around just outside of the Sociedad area following a failed clearance, Larin knocked the ball down for Ivan Sanchez and headed into the box. Sanchez went wide for Sergio Leon as Larin jockeyed for position in the area and attempted to keep onside. Leon swung in service and Larin headed home inside the far post in the 73rd for his second goal in two games and second game-winning goal. The 1-0 victory takes Valladolid into 13th and four points clear of Cadiz in the drop zone. For Larin, his 47 minutes in Spanish football has seen him double his scoring output for the season in Belgium.
Alphonso Davies, Bayern Munich - Alphonso Davies and Bayern Munich snapped a string of three straight draws to open 2023 on Sunday with a 4-2 win at Wolfsburg, but the victory didn't come without its cost. The Bundesliga leaders came out of the gates quickly and Davies was involved. In the ninth, Davies found France winger Kingsley Coman out wide on the left. Looking for Thomas Muller's run to the far post, Coman crossed the ball into his path. But the ball was too far for Muller's outstretched leg as it took a bounce and ended up inside the Wolfsburg net to make it 1-0. For Davies, it was his second assist of the season. Five minutes later, Bayern would go up 2-0, once again through Coman. Portugal wing-back Joao Cancelo, on loan from Manchester City, found Coman completely unmarked in the area and the Paris Saint-Germain youth product met his cross with a fine volley in the 14th. From a set piece, Thomas Muller would put the match out of reach in the 19th. Off of a Joshua Kimmich free kick, Muller's powerful header made it 3-0. Wolfsburg would grab a goal just before the half through Jakub Kaminski and were handed a lifeline in the 54th. After a Bayern attack was repelled, Maximilian Arnold streaked forward downfield. He was brought to ground by the arm of a trailing Kimmich. Having been already booked in the first half, the Germany midfielder was shown a second yellow and sent off. But the home side couldn't make the numerical advantage work and found themselves down three goals again in the 73rd when Jamal Musiala broke through the Wolfsburg defence with a fine individual run to make it 4-1. Mattias Svanberg would grab a consolation marker in the 80th and the match finished at 4-2. Davies played a full 90 minutes, finishing his afternoon with 85 touches, 50 carries and 55 completed passes. The victory meant that Bayern kept pace with Union, 2-1 winners over Mainz on Saturday, to maintain a one-point lead atop the table.
Kadeisha Buchanan and Jessie Fleming, Chelsea, and Shelina Zadorsky, Tottenham Hotspur - With Adriana Leon and Manchester United dropping points in a 0-0 draw with Everton, Chelsea had the opportunity to take over sole possession of first place in the Women's Super League when they visited Tottenham Hotspur. There were three Canadians in the respective starting XIs with Toronto's Kadeisha Buchanan and London, Ont.'s Jessie Fleming starting for the Blues and Shelina Zadorsky, also of London, starting for Spurs. Chelsea would get on the board first in the eighth through a short corner. Norway international Guro Reiten took the corner short to Lauren James, who found Erin Cuthbert three yards outside of the area. She curled a cross towards the far post that was met by a Jessica Carter header to make it 1-0. It was only England defender Carter's second goal in five seasons at Chelsea. Chelsea's lead wouldn't last long as Spurs would capitalize on a mistake by Buchanan. Taking a pass from Millie Bright, Buchanan's first touch was too heavy and she was quickly dispossessed. The ball came to Drew Spence, who found the streaking Beth England for a tap-in to make it 1-1 in the 16th. England, who spent the past five seasons at Chelsea, did not celebrate her goal. Buchanan redeemed herself only minutes later. Under pressure at midfield, Buchanan did well to win the ball back from England and find Sophie Ingle. Ingle passed to Lauren James on the right and she would do the rest. James danced through three Spurs defenders, cut inside the area and dragged a low shot inside the far post to make it 2-1 in the 27th with a beautiful individual effort. The Blues would get a third in the 64th through Reiten on the counter. Taking a pass from Sam Kerr near midfield, Reiten headed past her own marker to streak in alone and slip a left-footed effort passed the oncoming Tinja-Riikka Korpela to make it 3-1. Poland forward Nikola Karczewska would pull one back for Spurs in the 88th, but that was as close as they would come as the win pulled Chelsea two points clear of United atop the table. Fleming played 60 minutes until being subbed out for Fran Kirby and finished her afternoon with 19 touches, five carries and 15 passes. Both Buchanan and Zadorsky played the full 90 minutes.