Simeon Jackson scored in the second half to give Canada a 1-0 victory over Cyprus in an international friendly on Saturday.

Josh Simpson played a quick free kick to Jackson at the top of the Cypriot box, and he fired a shot past keeper Antonis Georgallides and into the far corner.

"It's a great confidence boost for me to get my first cap and a goal as well," Jackson said after the match. "Now I'm looking forward to the Gold Cup."

A few chances in the first half yielded nothing. Jaime Peters drove a low shot wide of the Cypriot goal in the third minute, and Cyprus replied in the 33rd as Yiannis Okkas fired a shot from the top of the box that sailed wide of the net. Canada's best chance in the half came in the 41st minute, when Jackson couldn't get his head on a curling cross right in front of Georgallides.

Defence preserves lead

Canada fell back on its heels after the Jackson goal, which came in the 53rd minute, but defended well enough to maintain the lead when the referee blew his final whistle, giving Canuck keeper Lars Hirschfeld a clean sheet on the day.

Interim head coach Stephen Hart said his team was fortunate to score on Cyprus' defensive lapse. Hart said he was pleased with the team's overall performance although, "we had four chances on goal in the first half that we should have done better with."

The Canadian men's national team is ranked 89th in the most recent FIFA/Coca-Cola World Rankings. Cyprus is in 75th spot.

The squad's next major action will happen at the 2009 CONCACAF Gold Cup, starting July 3 in the United States. Canada's in Group A, and will face Jamaica on the opening day of the tournament. Costa Rica and El Salvador are the other two teams in the group.

With files from The Canadian Press