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Canada blanked Wales 3-0, but lost captain Christine Sinclair to an injury in the fist half of a soccer friendly Friday.

Sinclair, playing her first game for Canada in more than a year, had to leave two-thirds of the way through the first half after contact with a Welsh player with Canada leading 1-0.

The 37-year-old from Burnaby, B.C., was clearly in pain as she lay on the ground, but hobbled off the field under her own power in the 32nd minute holding one of her boots.

Coach Bev Priestman was optimistic about Sinclair after the game.

“It seems pretty positive with Christine,” she said. “The first thing is she can weight-bear on her foot so that’s a really good sign. So fingers crossed. Obviously we’ll assess [Saturday[ in terms of England [on Tuesday]. But I’m not majorly concerned at this stage. She’s not off to get an X-ray or anything like that. So fingers crossed that she’ll be fine for England.”

Deanne Rose, Evelyne Viens and Jessie Fleming scored for Canada at Leckwith Stadium as coach Bev Priestman got the offence she has been looking for. Canada had scored just three goals in its previous seven matches (1-4-2).

It marked the first time the Canadian women had scored three goals or more since Feb. 1, 2020, when they blanked Jamaica 9-0 in Olympic qualifying play.

Canada is ranked eighth in the world, compared with No. 31 for Wales. The two teams had met just once before, with a teenage Sinclair scoring twice in a 4-0 win at the 2002 Algarve Cup.

Canada heads 235 kilometres northeast next to Stoke-on-Trent for a game Tuesday against No. 6 England.

Canada turned its early superiority into a goal in the 25th minute with Quinn playing provider. Taking advantage of a poor clearance, the midfielder sliced open the Welsh defence with a superb looping ball from inside her own half that put Rose in all alone. The University of Florida forward smashed a high shot home for her 10th international goal.

Viens, who had replaced the injured Sinclair, made it 2-0 in the 58th minute with a nice touch at the near post to knock in a Janine Beckie cross for her first for Canada in her fourth appearance.

Fleming made it 3-0 in the 62nd minute, curling in a beautiful shot past goalkeeper Laura O’Sullivan for her 11th goal in Canadian colours.

Sinclair had not played for Canada since a tournament in France in March, 2020. She missed the SheBelieves Cup in February owing to injury.

Sinclair, who earned her 297th cap Friday after tweeting, “It’s go time,” before kickoff, is the world’s all-time leading goal-scorer with 186. She almost notched No. 187 in the 21st minute after a giveaway in a dangerous position by Rachel Rowe but a diving O’Sullivan was able to palm her shot around the post.

Priestman fielded a more experienced starting 11 than she was able to at the SheBelieves Cup, with several veterans injured or unable to take part in the Florida tournament owing to quarantine issues.

Her starting 11 Friday came into the match with a combined 939 caps – compared with 604 for the SheBelieves Cup finale loss against Brazil on Feb. 24.

Only six of the starters against Brazil were back in the 11 Friday, with Sinclair, Jordyn Huitema, Ashley Lawrence, Vanessa Gilles and Quinn joining them.

The Canadians controlled the tempo early, moving the ball around and threatening on several corners. Quinn was influential in midfield.

Wales had a chance in the 29th minute but a deflected shot proved to be easy pickings for goalkeeper Stephanie Labbe.

Sinclair’s departure seemed to rattle Canada. Wales came on as the first half wore down, playing more in the Canadian end. Still Canada had 59 per cent of the possession in the first 45 minutes, outshooting Wales 6-4 (2-0 in shots on target).

Priestman brought on Beckie and Jayde Riviere in the 53rd minute with Beckie soon influencing play.

Wales argued unsuccessfully for a penalty in the 60th minute when Natasha Harding went down after contact with Labbe. Canada came close in the 69th but O’Sullivan tipped Viens’s powerful shot over the crossbar.

Canadian substitute Sarah Stratigakis had a good chance at the far post but was off-target.

Friday’s game was the first as Wales coach for Gemma Grainger, who worked in the England setup with Priestman.

It was game No. 4 for Priestman at the Canada helm. She went 1-2-0 at the SheBelieves Cup, losing to the United States and Brazil and beating Argentina.

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