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Twin sisters combine on goal as Canada downs Puerto Rico at CONCACAF U15 tourney

The win moved the Canadians into the semifinals with one round-robin game remaining at the 20-team tournament, which runs through Sunday, August 7.
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Isabelle Chukwu scored with an assist from twin sister Annabelle as Canada improved to 2-0-0 at the Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) Girls’ U15 Championship on Tuesday, August 2 in Tampa, Fla., with a 4-1 win over Puerto Rico.

The win moved the Canadians into the semifinals with one round-robin game remaining at the 20-team tournament, which runs through Sunday, August 7. Canada will face the defending champion U.S. on Thursday, August 4 in a battle of unbeaten sides to decide top spot in Group B.

Canada is competing in the eight-team League A. The top two teams in Group B advance to the Friday, August 5 semifinals to face the top two from Group A (Costa Rica, Haiti, Mexico and Wales, an invitational side).

Nikolina Istocki, Keira Martin and Taegan Stewart also scored for Canada, which led 3-1 at the break at the Hillsborough County Sportsplex. Katsi Bengoa scored for Puerto Rico via a penalty in first-half stoppage time.

Annabelle Chukwu came off the bench in the second half and wasted little time setting up her sister. Annabelle was first to an attempted clearance by the Puerto Rico goalkeeper, heading it into the path of Isabelle who slotted it home in the 56th minute.

It marked the second goal at the tournament involving Canadian twins. Keelyn Stewart set up Taegan Stewart in Canada's opening 5-0 victory over Jamaica on Monday.

The Stewart sisters are from Calgary while the Chukwus are from Ottawa.

Istocki had two goals Monday with Martin and Annabelle Chukwu also scoring. The Canadians are coached by Jasmine Mander.

Tuesday's result improved Canada's record at the CONCACAF U15 event to 15-2-2. The Canadians won the 2014 edition of the tournament, were runner-up to the U.S. in 2016 and missed out in the semifinals in 2018.

The 2020 competition was cancelled due to the pandemic.

Of the 51 players that represented Canada at the three previous tournaments, 12 have gone on to make the senior team including Julia Grosso (2014), Jordyn Huitema (2014 and 2016) and Jayde Riviere (2016).

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 2, 2022.

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