Canada versus Belarus was a friendly in name only.
Vitali Radzionau and Uladzimir Khavaschynski scored to give Belarus, ranked 62nd in the world, a 2-0 win over No. 68 Canada on Monday.
The Canadian men had played Friday, losing 2-1 to Japan in another stadium in Doha. The fatigue showed, said acting Canadian coach Tony Fonseca.
"We did not play with the same intensity as we played against Japan," said Fonseca, who is the Canadian Soccer Association's technical director. "But the attitude was there, the desire to win was there. But we definitely lacked a clear mind to take advantage of a couple of situations."
It was a chippy game, with three yellows shown to Canada (Julian de Guzman, Marcel de Jong and Dejan Jakovic) and two to Belarus.
Belarusian manager Georgy Kondratiev was ejected from the match in the second half for arguing an offside call.
"I used to say that there's no such things as friendlies,"
Fonseca said. "Both teams are very competitive, they want to win and obviously they took it very seriously. ... Both teams showed great desire and they committed to it.
"I don't think there was anything really nasty to be honest."
But there was a melee late in the game when Canadian defender Jakovic was taken down from behind. That led to a shoving match between the two teams before the two referee's assistants came on the field to help sort out the confrontation.
The Belarusian tackler was yellow-carded.
"It was not the best tackle in the world, especially in a friendly," said Fonseca. "You try to avoid tackles from behind. They're always very dangerous and the guys got a little bit upset about that."
Despite the two losses, Fonseca said the Doha camp and games were beneficial.
"Overall, after 10 days of work, the guys were very committed," he said. "They're very passionate about playing for the Canadian national team and they left everything that they had. They worked really hard. They did the best they could and I'm very pleased with the way the camp went."
Fonseca singled out veteran midfielder Atiba Hutchinson as the best Canadian player in both games.
Goalkeeper Tomer Chencinksi, currently playing for Maccabi Tel Aviv FC in Israel, won his first cap in starting for Canada on Monday.
Midfielder Stefan Cebara, a 21-year-old who plays for Nogometni Klub Celje in Slovenia, played the first half to earn his first cap.
"He's very young but he showed some good qualities," Fonseca said.
The first Belarus goal came on a glancing header off a long free kick. Chencinksi was stranded on the line for the second goal as a cross bounced behind the defence and was headed in.
It was a nervous performance from Chencinksi.
"I'm pretty sure he felt at the end of the game that he could have done better," Fonseca said. "But for a first time it is what it is and I think there are some positives that we can take from it."
Canada had its chances. Both Will Johnson and Tosaint Ricketts were off the mark with headers before some 100 spectators.
De Guzman captained Canada for the second game in a row.
Belarus is an also-ran in European World Cup qualifying. It currently stands fourth in Group I with a 1-3-0 mark.Suggest a correction