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Sinclair and Canada win Olympic gold via the penalty spot

Sinclair wins a penalty; Canada defeat Sweden in the penalty shootout to secure Olympic gold.

Canada v Sweden: Gold Medal Match Women’s Football - Olympics: Day 14 Photo by Francois Nel/Getty Images

Christine Sinclair captained Canada in their 1-1 win in penalties over Sweden in the Olympic gold medal match.

Canada and Sweden started with the same line-ups that the teams used in the semifinal matches. Sweden pressed and possessed to start the match, pinning Canada in their own half.

In the 10th minute, Sofia Jakobsson got down the flank and squared the ball across the box. Magdalena Eriksson arrived and hit it just wide of Stephanie Labbe’s goal.

Canada withstood Sweden’s early pressure and put together some spells of their own. They slowed the game down and Jessie Fleming dictated Canada’s speed of play. The Canadians then found Nichelle Prince and Janine Beckie in space. They forced Sweden into some difficult situations but were unable to carve out any looks on goal.

Sweden continued to threaten down Canada’s left flank. In the 29th minute, a cross came in from that flank and found the head of a Swedish forward. Labbe dove across her goal and slapped the header wide of the post.

Stina Blackstenius opened Sweden’s account in the 34th minute. Kosovare Asllani drifted down Canada’s left flank to receive the ball. She bodied off one defender before running onto the ball and squaring to Blackstenius. Vanessa Gilles came across goal to try and block the shot but the Swedish took a slight deflection off Gilles and past Labbe.

Canada started the second half well. The Canadians were able to play through Sweden’s pressure. Prince fired from a tight angle in the 48th minute but it was saved. Substitute Julia Grosso launched from distance but it flew over the crossbar.

Sweden was able to put together some positive moves in the second half starting around the 58th minute. The Swedes were unable to take advantage and they quickly gave Canada a chance to equalize as they fouled Sinclair in the box.

Sinclair grabbed the ball and handed the ball to Fleming just as she did against the United States. Fleming went to the goalkeeper’s right and converted calmly. Minutes later Ashley Lawrence crossed and it was punch out. Deanne Rose touched it to Lawrence, who shot at an open net but the Swedish defender blocked it away.

Sweden had a great opportunity to retake the lead against the run of play. Asllani received a throw-in in the penalty area, turned and crossed to Fridolina Rolfo, who struck her shot just wide of Labbe’s near post.

The chance reenergized Sweden and they forced Canada to defend in their own 18-yard box. Canada repelled the pressure and the match became stretched and both teams had space in transition to exploit.

Sinclair was replaced by Jordyn Huitema in the 86th minute. Kadeisha Buchanan was forced to cover for Labbe and made a goal line clearance in the 88th minute. Neither team could find a winner in the four additional minutes added to regulation and the match went to extra time.

Rose and Lawrence caused the Swedish back line issues and Canada was able to test Sweden from corner kicks. After a recycled and clear corner kick, Grosso shot from distance but her shot was saved.

Jonna Andersson blasted a shot just over the bar to cap off a wave of Swedish pressure toward the end of the first half of extra time.

In the 111th minute, Lina Hurtig met a Swedish corner with a flicked header but it bounced just wide of the post and out of play. Huitema had a similar opportunity on the other end. Rose beat her defender and swung in a cross and Huitema headed it wide of the goal.

Sweden dominated the second half of extra time and in the 118th minute, Canada had to make multiple goal-saving clearances to keep the Swedes out. Hurtig flashed another header wide in the 119th minute.

The Olympic women’s gold medal match would be decided by penalties for the first time in history. Through two rounds of penalties, the teams were tied at 1-1. Asllani hit the post and failed to convert. Fleming calmly put Canada in front. Natalie Bjorn tied the shootout and Lawrence had her penalty saved.

Olivia Schough scored and Gilles smashed the crossbar, giving Sweden a 2-1 lead. Labbe came up with a crucial save to deny Anna Anvegard. Canada couldn’t take advantage as Hedvig Lindahl parried Adriana Leon’s shot wide.

Caroline Seger stepped up with a chance to clinch the gold medal for Sweden but she launched it over the crossbar. Rose put it in the top corner to tie the shootout at 2-2 through five rounds.

Labbe saved Andersson’s penalty to give Canada the opportunity to win the gold medal. Grosso stepped up and converted past Lindahl to secure Olympic gold for Canada.