Chukwu scores again as Canada downs Panama at CONCACAF Women's U-17 Championship
TOLUCA, Mexico — Captain Annabelle Chukwu scored her fourth goal in two games at the CONCACAF Women's Under-17 Championship on Sunday, helping Canada to a 5-1 win over Panama.
Kaylee Hunter, Keira Martin, Adriana Bianchin and Alyssa McLeod also scored for Canada, which opened tournament play with a 5-1 win over Puerto Rico on Friday.
Alison Onodera scored for Panama in the 83rd minute to cut the Canadian lead to 4-1. McLeod padded the lead in stoppage time.
Cuban referee Suleimy Linares Saez showed Canadian assistant coach Gary Moody a red card early in the second half, presumably for something said from the bench.
Canada, coached by Emma Humphries, now faces the defending champion U.S. on Tuesday to determine who wins Group B. The Americans downed Puerto Rico 3-1 on Tuesday after thumping Panama 13-0 Friday.
After round-robin play, the two group winners and runners-up advance to the knockout stage. The semifinal winners qualify for the 2024 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup that kicks off in October in the Dominican Republic.
Canada has appeared in all seven previous editions of the FIFA U-17 World Cup, with a fourth-place finish in 2018 its best showing. The Canadian women finished 12th last time out in India in 2022 when it failed to advance out of the group stage with an 0-1-2 record.
Chukwu, who turns 17 on Wednesday, completed her hat trick in the first 24 minutes against Puerto Rico and was substituted at halftime with Canada leading 4-0. Her twin sister Isabelle was on the bench for both Canadian games.
Chukwu led all Canadian scorers with seven goals in the lopsided qualifying wins over Dominica (21-0) and Bermuda (9-0) in August that earned Canada a trip to the eight-team CONCACAF tournament, which is taking place at the headquarters of the Mexican Football Federation.
The Chukwus were born in England but moved to Ottawa with their family when they were nine.
Annabelle Chukwu was part of Canada's team at the CONCACAF U-20 Championship last year and played in the 2022 FIFA U-17 World Cup.
The U.S. has won five of the seven CONCACAF U-17 championships held to date, including the last three. Canada won the title in 2010 and Mexico in 2013.
CONCACAF covers North and Central America and the Caribbean.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 4, 2024