Football: Improved Football Ferns edged by heavyweights Canada in Montreal

The Football Ferns have fallen to a 1-0 defeat in their second and final match of their series against heavyweights Canada at Montreal.

The NZ women showed plenty of improvement, particularly at the defensive end of the field, against the Tokyo Olympic gold medallists, just three days after being on the wrong side of a 5-1 demolition in Ottawa.

Canada's decisive goal came in the 16th minute, when Adriana Leon pounced on a rebounded shot off Ferns goalkeeper Anna Leat to put the ball into the back of the net.

One of three changes made by new coach Jitka Klimkova, Leat was a standout for the Ferns, who played with much more structure in the Canadian capital.

The Ferns were also more threatening offensively, with new starters Jacqui Hand and Gabi Rennie leading a dynamic attack.

New Zealand's best scoring opportunity came midway through the first half, when Ria Percival's swirling effort forced a save from Canadian goallkeeper Stephanie Labbé.

The Ferns will try to build on their improvement in next month's international window, when they likely face South Korea.

Canada 1 (Adriana Leon) New Zealand 0