TORONTO – José Carlos Fernández and Jean Tragodara scored second-half goals to lead Peru to a 2-0 win over Canada at BMO Field on Saturday in both countries’ first game since the 2010 World Cup.
A sparse yet pro-Peruvian crowd of 10,619 witnessed Canada’s first match in Toronto since a World Cup qualifier against Jamaica on Aug. 20, 2008. It erupted when Fernández scored in the 69th minute after Canada failed to clear the ball from their end.
Three minutes later, Tragodara scored to put the game away.
The loss dropped Canada’s all-time record against CONMEBOL nations to 3-6-9 and kept Stephen Hart’s side winless this year (0-3-1).
Paul Stalteri started the match for Canada at right fullback, tying Randy Samuel for the lead in international caps at 82. The Toronto native can set the record if he plays in Canada’s next friendly on Tuesday against CONCACAF rivals Honduras at Montreal.
Canada started off strong opening the game with a two-minute stretch of possession in which Peru didn’t touch the ball. Hart’s side showed strong displays of passing and possession, but couldn’t convert in the final third of the field. That eventually came back to haunt them.
Defender Marcel de Jong had one of Canada’s best chances, sending a free kick over the crossbar, but then left the game in the 29th minute with a right-arm injury.
Coming off almost a year without competitive game action, Peru had limited chances. When they had the ball, midfielder Juan Vargas was a threat, making runs into the Canadian zone.
The Fiorentina midfielder had a strong game with two good chances in the first half, first sailing a left-footer over the goal in the 14th minute. Then in the 32nd minute, he sent a low shot that deflected off Stalteri, but was stopped by goalkeeper Lars Hirschfeld.
Peru eventually found their form in the second half, taking advantage of mistakes by Canada to score two goals three minutes apart.
First Reimando Manco took the ball, came in down the left flank and sent a cross that Fernández chipped over Hirschfeld.
Just three minutes later, Tragodara, on a give-and-go, took a feed from Jefferson Farfán and sent a drive by Hirschfeld to put the game away.
Peru and Canada are on common courses with both trying to qualify for the 2014 World Cup and prepare for their respective continental championships next year.
Both teams will play again on Tuesday with Canada facing Honduras at Montreal's Saputo Stadium and Peru heading to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., to take on Jamaica.
Hart confirmed he will excuse Toronto FC trio Dwayne De Rosario, Julian de Guzman and Nana Attakora, who will report back to their club team for next Wednesday's trip to Chicago to face the Fire.