Ritzing, Austria (4E Sports) – The Canadian national squad ended its 959-minute goal drought as it forced Bulgaria to a 1-1 draw Friday in an international friendly in Ritzing, Austria.
Atiba Hutchinson stepped up to the penalty spot in the 28th minute and calmly converted the chance to pull the Canadians level and lift a massive weight off their shoulders.
Bulgaria opened the scoring in the 19th minute, with Andrey Galabinov muscling his way through the Canadian backline and slotting home from in close, after some quick one-two passing at the top of the penalty area. It was Galabinov’s first goal for his country and came in just his second appearance.
In the 27th minute, Ricketts was kicked in the face by a Bulgarian defender while chasing a corner kick and the referee pointed to the spot. That gave Hutchinson the opportunity to equalize.
Both teams had chances in the remainder of the half, but the game went to the break tied at 1-1. Clear-cut scoring chances were harder to come by in the second half but both teams failed to deliver until the final whistle.
Despite a nervy final 10 minutes as the Canadians ran out of steam, they did enough to earn their first result since a 0-0 draw with Mauritania on Sept. 8, 2013.
Canadian skipper Benito Floro rolled out an experienced starting lineup against the No. 73-ranked Bulgarians, with Milan Borjan getting the start in goal ahead of young Roberto Stillo and Ricky Gomes while Julian de Guzman wore the captain’s armband.
Canada will try to end its 15 international games without a win, dating back to a victory over Cuba on Oct. 12, 2012, against No. 99-ranked Moldova Tuesday.