LONDON – The United States advanced to the final of the Olympic women’s football tournament on Monday after an Alex Morgan goal in the last minute of extra-time clinched a dramatic 4-3 victory over Canada.
In one of the most extraordinary matches in the history of the tournament, the American women came from behind three times to level at 3-3 in 90 minutes before Morgan’s 120th-minute clincher at Old Trafford.
Canada — who had taken the lead three times thanks to a magnificent hat-trick from captain and striker Christine Sinclair — were left shattered by the agonising nature of the loss.
The United States will now play Japan in Thursday’s final at Wembley in a rematch of last year’s women’s World Cup final won by the Asian giants.
The game had gone to extra-time after an extraordinary period of 90 minutes which saw Sinclair almost single-handedly take Canada to the brink of the greatest result in their history.
Sinclair had fired Canada ahead with a beautifully engineered first-half goal, collecting a pass from Melissa Tancredi before coolly keeping her composure to bury in the bottom corner.
Megan Rapinoe then levelled for the Americans when her inswinging corner somehow sneaked through a mass of bodies to creep in at the near post early in the second half.
However Canada struck back through the inspirational Sinclair to go 2-1 up after the striker headed home Tancredi’s cross.
But Rapinoe came to the rescue once again on 71 minutes, taking two touches on the edge of the area before unleashing an unstoppable angled shot beyond the dive of Erin McLeod.
Yet parity lasted just two minutes as Sinclair struck again, heading in once again to punish slack American defending at a corner to make it 3-2.
Canada’s lead lasted just seven minutes however as the Americans hit back with a disputed Abby Wambach penalty 10 minutes from time.
An indirect free-kick inside the penalty area from Wapinoe struck Marie-Eve Nault on the arm and the referee pointed to the spot.
Veteran USA striker Abby Wambach stepped up to nervelessly roll home the spot-kick, forcing extra-time and Morgan’s last-gasp winner.