Atiba Hutchinson scored one of the strangest goals you'll ever see and Jonathan David iced the game late, as the Canadian men's national team beat El Salvador 2-0 at Estadio Cuscatlán in the final stage of World Cup Qualifying on Wednesday evening.

Hutchinson's initial header from Cyle Larin's cross struck the post, then a video game-like ricochet went off El Salvador's Eriq Zavaleta, off a prone Hutchinson's back and spun in looping fashion over the line, giving Canada the go-ahead goal. After the sequence that defied physics, David's run from within his own half during second-half stoppage time sealed a third straight 2-0 win for Les Rouges.

Canada have now recorded six straight victories and remain undefeated through 11 of 14 matchdays. Head Coach John Herdman's group is four points clear of second-place United States atop the eight-team Octagonal with 25 points, all but officially clinching their spot in Qatar 2022. Canada last reached a World Cup in 1986.

In front of a raucous crowd, the first half was chippy and played to El Salvador's liking, though the best chance of the opening 45 fell to the Canadians in the 18th minute. Jonathan David found some open space atop the box but couldn't convert his first-time finish off a clever cutback from Sam Adekugbe past El Salvador goalkeeper Kevin Carabantes – who was forced into action following an injury to first-choice 'keeper Mario González.

The second half produced much of the same until Hutchinson broke the deadlock in the 66th minute. Larin did well to create space in behind El Salvador's defense before whipping a teasing cross that eventually pinballed off the 38-year-old and in, giving Canada the 1-0 lead.

David doubled Canada's advantage deep into injury time thanks to a breathtaking solo run, capped off by a clever scoop past Carabantes to make it 2-0. The Lille striker's effort followed a stunning, backpedaling save from goalkeeper Milan Borjan that prevented El Salvador from equalizing on Marvin Monterroza's distance shot.

Goals

  • 66' - CAN - Atiba Hutchinson
  • 90'+3' - CAN - Jonathan David

Three Things

  • THE BIG PICTURE: It wasn't the prettiest of victories, but Canada accrued a vital three points as they inch closer to officially booking their Qatar 2022 ticket. Les Rogues, who are in the midst of a historic World Cup Qualifying run, will have an opportunity to seal the deal in March, potentially as soon as their next match against Costa Rica. For El Salvador, their faint hopes of qualifying become even slimmer, as they'll look to bounce back next time out against Jamaica.
  • MOMENT OF THE MATCH: It has to be Hutchinson's goal, one of the weirdest in Canadian men's national team history, but perhaps one of the most significant.
  • MAN OF THE MATCH: Cyle Larin was excellent after entering the match in the 58th minute. The Beşiktaş striker upped the tempo of the group and led all players with 0.54 expected goals plus assists.

Up Next

  • CAN: Thursday, March 24 vs. Costa Rica | Time TBD (Paramount+ in US; OneSoccer, Sportsnet in Canada)
  • SLV: Thursday, March 24 vs. Jamaica | Time TBD (Paramount+)