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Canada’s winless run at the FIFA U-17 World Cup stretched to 22 games Friday when it was outclassed 2-0 by a stylish Spain side in the tournament opener for both teams.

FC Barcelona’s Marc Guiu and Quim Junyent scored for Spain which dominated the game, outshooting Canada 28-1 (9-0 in shots on target) and had 63 per cent possession. Spain completed 667 passes to Canada’s 147.

Goalkeeper Nathaniel Abraham, one of five players from the Toronto FC system in the Canadian starting 11, had a busy evening and it was, perhaps, a moral victory that Canada conceded just twice against such skillful opposition.

Spain has finished runner-up at the U-17 men’s competition on four occasions (1991, 2003, 2007 and 2017) and placed third twice (1997, 2009). The Spanish starting 11 featured six players in the Barcelona system and one from Real Madrid.

It was one-way traffic and Canada, under attack from the get-go, was reduced to 10 men in the 38th minute when co-captain Alessandro Biello was sent off for an altercation with Spanish captain Pau Prim behind the play.

After play was blown dead for a Canada free kick in a rare foray into the Spanish half, the ball rolled to Prim who knocked it away. A lunging Biello caught Prim’s foot on the play in a seemingly petulant and unnecessary move and Peruvian referee Roberto Pérez punished him with a straight red card after reviewing the play on the pitchside monitor.

Biello, the son of interim Canada senior coach Mauro Biello, will miss Canada’s next game at the very least.

The Spaniards went ahead in the 21st minute when Guiu rose high to head home a fine cross from Pablo López.

Guiu, who joined Barca’s under-eight team in 2013-14, made headlines last month when he scored 23 seconds into his first-team debut to give Barca a 1-0 win against Athletic Bilbao. At 17 years 291 days, he became the youngest player to score on debut for Barca.

Guiu played provider in the 76th minute with the last pass of a pretty passing play that ended with Junyent behind the Canadian defence.

Canada, in its eighth trip to the U-17 World Cup, saw its tournament record fall to 0-18-4. The young Canadians lost all three games in 2019 in Brazil, the last time the competition was held (the 2021 edition was cancelled due to the pandemic).

Canada has scored just 10 goals – one of which was an Argentine own goal – while conceding 62 at the youth showcase.

Mamadou Doumbia scored all three goals as Mali blanked Uzbekistan 3-0 in the other Group B game Friday, outshooting the Asian side 19-3 (6-1 in shots on target).

The Canadians face Uzbekistan on Monday, also at Manahan Stadium, before heading 215 kilometres to the east to wrap up Group B play against Mali at Gelora Bung Tomo Stadium in the port city of Surabaya.

The tournament runs through Dec. 2 with Jakarta and Bandung also hosting games. The top two in each of the six groups, along with the four best third-placed teams, move on to the knockout phase.

Spain squeezed Canada under pressure from the opening kickoff on a hot 28 C evening, elegantly stroking the ball around the pitch. And it came close in the 18th minute when a header from Pau Cubarsí, one of the Barcelona contingent, flashed just over the crossbar from a free kick.

By the time the teams took a cooling break at the 30-minute mark, Spain had 66 per cent of possession and outshot Canada 8-0 (1-0 in shots on target).

Vancouver FC midfielder Taryck Tahid fired just wide in the 51st minute in Canada’s first real attack. Three minutes later, Spain’s Junyent’s shot hit the crossbar.

Spain sent on 15-year-old substitute Igor Oyono, a Villarreal player, in the second half.

Co-captain Lazar Stefanovic, a 17-year-old centre back who has already seen first-team action with Toronto FC, wore the captain’s armband for Canada whose starting 11 included two players from the CF Montreal academy and one from the Whitecaps academy.

The Canadian Premier League was represented by Tahid and Forge FC forward Kevaughn Tavernier. Forward Antoni Klukowski, who plays in Poland for Pogon Szczecin, is the son of former Canadian international Mike Klukowski.

The Canadians qualified by reaching the final four of the CONCACAF U-17 Championship in February in Guatemala, losing 2-0 to the eventual runner-up Americans in the semi-final. Mexico won the CONCACAF crown, with Panama also qualifying for the FIFA showcase.

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