Canada’s Cyle Larin has dream debut in Spain, scores winner for Real Valladolid

Canada's Cyle Larin is shown in action during the World Cup group F soccer match between Croatia and Canada, at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha, Qatar, Sunday, Nov. 27, 2022. (AP)

VALLADOLID, Spain — Canadian forward Cyle Larin had a dream debut for Spain’s Real Valladolid CF on Sunday, scoring off the bench in the 90th minute for a 1-0 victory over Valencia CF.

Larin acrobatically knocked in a cross from Venezuelan Darwin Machis to beat Valencia goalkeeper Giorgi Mamardashvili at the far post before 19,657 fans at Valladolid’s Estadio Municipal Jose Zorrilla.

The victory moved Valladolid (6-11-2) out of the relegation zone into 16th place in Spain’s 20-team top tier. Valencia (5-8-5) stands 14th. Valladolid had lost its five previous matches, outscored 10-0.

Larin, Canada’s leading men’s international scorer, made the move to Spain on Tuesday in a loan deal with a purchase option at the end of the season.

The switch from Belgium’s Club Brugge offers the 27-year-old from Brampton, Ont., a fresh start.

Larin joined fellow Canadian Tajon Buchanan at Club Brugge in July from Turkey’s Besiktas but failed to establish himself in the lineup. He had one goal in 13 appearances for the Belgian side.

Larin, who has 25 goals in 48 appearances for Canada, saw action in all three World Cup games in Qatar. He played a key part in Canada’s successful World Cup qualifying campaign with 13 goals in 16 games.

The six-foot-two striker set the Canadian men’s scoring record in January in a 1-0 World Cup qualifying win over the U.S. in Hamilton, passing Dwayne De Rosario, who had 22 goals in 81 appearances.

Larin joined Canadian captain Atiba Hutchinson at Besiktas in January 2018 after a messy exit from Major League Soccer’s Orlando City. Larin scored 23 times in 45 games to help Besiktas to the Turkish league and cup double in 2020-21.

After two years at the University of Connecticut, Larin was selected first overall in the 2015 MLS SuperDraft.

He won MLS rookie of the year honours in 2015 after scoring a rookie-record 17 goals and added another 14 goals in 2016 and 12 in 2017.

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