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Davies scores twice on return as Canada thrash Curacao

VANCOUVER (AFP) – Alphonso Davies celebrated his return to international duty with two goals yesterday as World Cup-bound Canada thrashed Curacao 4-0 in the CONCACAF Nations League.

The 21-year-old Bayern Munich star missed Canada’s last six matches after developing symptoms of myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart, after COVID-19.

Sidelined since December, he had returned to Bayern’s starting lineup for their April 6 Champions League quarter-final against Villarreal of Spain.

The flying full-back converted a penalty in the 27th minute to open the scoring for Canada in Vancouver after he was brought down in the box by Curacao defender Jurien Gaari.

He waved off teammate Cyle Larin and slotted left-footed past goalkeeper Eloy Room.

Davies added his second in the 71st minute, a tap-in after a ball cut back into the box by Richie Laryea to make it 3-0.

Canada’s Alphonso Davies celebrates his goal during the CONCACAF Nations League match against Curacao. PHOTO: AP

Shortly thereafter Davies, who made his professional debut in Vancouver for Major League Soccer’s (MLS) Whitecaps, left the match to a standing ovation.

Steven Vitoria with a 42nd-minute header and Lucas Cavallini in the 85th off a cross from Samuel Adekugbe also scored for Canada in a convincing victory over a Curacao side that had beaten Honduras 2-1 in San Pedro Sula on Monday.

The victory, and Davies’s seamless return, will be a boost for John Herdman’s Canada, who were playing for the first time since locking up their first World Cup berth in 36 years.

A June 5 friendly against fellow World Cup qualifiers Iran was cancelled after a backlash against the game led by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Families of passengers killed when Iranian armed forces shot down Ukraine International Airlines flight PS752 after take-off from Tehran on January 8, 2020, had also criticised the fixture.

Panama were drafted in as last-minute opponents for the friendly, but the match was cancelled hours before kickoff when players went on strike over a proposed new labour deal.