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Canada beats Argentina 2-1 in Olympic debut

Aug. 06, 2008, 7:08 a.m. (ET)

TIANJIN, China(AP) Canada wore down Argentina to win its Olympic debut 2-1 Wednesday, getting a goal in each half and using a significant size advantage to subdue the South Americans.

Coming out of her center back position, Candace Chapman put Canada ahead in the 27th minute. She ran onto a corner that was deflected more than 30 meters (yards) from goal and struck a right-footed volley that skipped inside the left post. Kara Lang added the second in the 72nd, heading Rhian Wilkinson's free kick from 10 meters (yards).

Argentina exploited some late pressure for a goal in the 85th. Mariela Coronel got past a fallen Wilkinson and dropped a ball into the path of second-half substitute Ludmila Manicler, who volleyed the ball from 10 meters (yards).

A ragged game for the first 30 minutes, Canada finally took control after Chapman's goal, capitalizing on an average advantage of six kilograms (14 pounds) and six centimeters (2 1/2 inches) in the starting lineups.

The victory gives Canada momentum for its next two Group E matches, against host China on Saturday and European Championship semifinalist Sweden on Tuesday.

The goal for Argentina, also making its Olympic debut, was its first in four matches. It was outscored 6-0 in three games at the Peace Queen Cup in South Korea in June.

The South Americans produced the first scoring chance in the ninth minute when Mercedes Pereyra struck a curling right-footed shot from the top corner of the area that Canada goalkeeper Erin McLeod had to palm away with her left hand at the opposite post.

But the Canadians slowly gained control, producing its first corner six minutes later and its first shot, a header by Melissa Tancredi over the bar, in the 16th.

The smaller Argentines were easily knocked off the ball, which sometimes resulted in turnovers in their own half and Canadian chances.

When Argentina was able to counter, such as when Pereyra was able to run clear down the left side in the 38th minute, five Canadian defenders were able to recover and get behind the ball to prevent a shot.

With temperatures around 27 degrees C (80 degrees F) and humidity in the 60 percent range, players frequently needed to come to the bench for water.

The Canadians nearly added a third goal in the 77th minute when Jodi-Ann Robinson was able touch the ball past Argentina 'keeper Vanina Correa, but Maria Quinones was able to clear the ball off the line.