HANGZHOU, China (AFP) - Striker Christine Sinclair scored twice as Canada eliminated Ghana from the women's World Cup with a 4-0 victory on Saturday.
Canada and Ghana both needed to win the Group C game after losing their first matches against Norway and Australia respectively.
The win gives Canada, who reached the last four of the 2003 World Cup, their first points and keeps them in contention for the next round.
Norway, the fourth-ranked team in the competition, meet Australia later Saturday in the second match of a group double header.
If the former world champions beat the Matildas, it would leave Canada and Australia battling for the second qualifying place in their final group game on Wednesday.
Even Pellerud, a Norwegian who is Canada's coach, said it looked like his team had beaten their big weakness -- running out of steam in the second half.
Concern that the Canadians were not match fit was building after their oepning game defeat. Canada were 1-0 up against Norway before tiring and losing 2-1 last Wednesday.
But they held on against Ghana despite having a smaller share of possession.
"Ghana is a tricky team to play against," he said. "It was a good fitness test and I think we did well today."
Sinclair, 24, the captain, scored the first goal of the game with a superb header in the 16th minute as both sides battled for the upper hand.
Ghana were unlucky not to go in to the break level at 1-1 when a Ghanaian attack ended with the ball crashing off Canada's crossbar after 45 minutes.
Captain Adjoa Bayor fired in a cross from the right and it was unclear whether Ghana's teenage striker Anitya Amankwa got a foot to it or whether it was a defender who sent the ball onto the woodwork.
After the break Canada tightened control of the game and midfielder Sophie Schmidt widened their lead after 55 minutes when she headed past keeper Memunata Sulemana from a failed corner clearance.
Sinclair blasted home her second in the 62nd minute to become Canada's top World Cup scorer with five goals after Kara Lang rounded the defense and left her with an easy volley to goal.
Poor goalkeeping by Memunatu Sulemana gifted Martina Franko with the fourth for Canada when she failed to collect a corner and Franko headed in the loose ball from close range.
Coach Pellerud, who was Norway's coach when they won the 1995 World Cup, said he expected no favours from Australia on Wednesday in Chengdu. The teams are well known to each other and play similar styles.
"We have played several games against Australia before. They are always very even," he said. "It is going to be the same again, very even."
Ghana, playing in their third World Cup in a row, meet Norway on the same day in their last game before returning home.
|12||C. Sinclair||16' 62'|
|Coach: E. Pellerud|
for K. Thorlakson 45'
for K. Lang 63'
for D. Matheson 84'
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