A huge win for El Salvador, a big win for Colombia, a good win for Paraguay and the first goalless draw of the tournament made the headlines in day five of the Under-20 World Cup and here’s Will Burns with all the action.
AUSTRALIA 1-2 EL SALVADOR
The Young Socceroos missed a golden chance to secure qualification for the knockout stages by losing 1-2 to underdogs El Salvador.
Tenacious midfielder Josh Brillante put the Aussies ahead after just nine minutes with an absolute scorcher from 25 metres but coach Paul Okon’s side gifted two goals to El Salvador that saw them take the lead before half-time and hold on.
It was a great win for the Central Americans but they did not get off the best of starts. It was Australia who opened the scoring, Joshua Brillante collected possession just outside the box before drilling low inside the left-hand post from 25 yards.
El Salvador, had never scored at a Under-20 World Cup, were level less than ten minutes later. Jairo Henriquez delivered a deep cross from the right wing and when Kevin Barahona headed back across goal, Diego Coca was in the right place at the right time, to nod home spark joyful scenes.
Jose Pena completed the turnaround for El Salvador in the first period when the forward pounced on a loose ball inside the box before finding the bottom corner. Pena came close to adding his second of the match just past the hour mark, but the youngster’s effort was always moving wide of the post.
Although four of the best third-placed teams from the six groups advance, Australia will most likely need a win in its final game against hosts Turkey on Saturday to avoid elimination.
TURKEY 0-1 COLOMBIA
Colombia defeated hosts Turkey in a narrow 1-0 win in a match where they could have scored at least four or five goals. An inspirational performance by Juan Fernando Quintero lead the Los Cafetero charge and he capped a man-of-the-match display off with a brilliant goal.
Cheered on by a home crowd, Turkey started the match positively and captain Ethem Pulgir went close with a ninth-minute header that rose just above the goal. However, having held of the Turkish for the opening ten minutes, the Colombians took over and began creating opportunities of their own with Quintero being the conductor of play.
Turkish goalkeeper Aykut Ozer was called upon on 12 minutes after he spilt an Andres Correa cross and AC Milan defender Jherson Vergara forced a save when it was easier to score.
The Colombians began dominate and Turkey were finding it difficult to gain the ball back. The magnificent Quintero was heavily involved taking many long-range shots from free-kicks that Turkey were stupidly given away. They tried to double and sometimes triple-team ‘The Colombian Messi’ into losing the ball but it was not working and Quintero would dish the ball out wide when the red shirts closed in.
The teams were into the break goalless and Turkey started to break Colombia’s momentum within a couple of minutes of the re-start. The hosts early pressure almost yielded a goal when Hakan Calhanoglu sent in a dipping, swerving direct free-kick from 30 yards that goalkeeper Cristian Bonilla did well to punch to safety.
However, the Colombians continues to be dangerous on the counter and five minutes later they were ahead after some magic from Quintero. The Atletico Nacional playmaker twisted and turned on the edge of the penalty area and found himself some space and, smashed a superb left footed shot into the roof of the goal from 20 yards out. The Turkish goalkeeper had no chance as he dived in despair as the ball crashed into the netting.
The crowd were silent, and Turkey looked for a reply instantly, but it was the South Americans who looked more like scoring. Once again, it was Quintero who was the danger man, with the sparkling midfielder beating Ozer with another left-foot effort only to see it cleared off the line by defender Ilkay Durmus.
The Colombians now head Group C on four points, with Turkey and El Salvador neck and neck on three with Australia propping up the table on the single point. Colombia will now face El Salvador on Friday night in Gaziantep.
MEXICO 0-1 PARAGUAY
Mexico’s future in the tournament is in serious doubt after they fell to their second successive defeat, this time falling 1-0 to Paraguay in Gaziantep.
It took a well-taken second-half goal from Derlis Gonzalez to break the deadlock and the goal was the difference between the sides in a disjointed game in Group D.
Both sides can be counted as unlucky as both sides rattled the post, before Jorge Espericueta hit the cross bar in the final moments to hand Paraguay all three points.
The Mexicans had to wait 20 minutes until they had their first chance, with Armando Zamorano jumping on the loose ball after Marco Bueno’s shot was charged down, but his half-volley crashed off Diego Morel’s bar.
Paraguay then had the ball in the back of the net courtesy of Arnaldo Sanabria, but it was ruled out after Derlis Gonzalez was deemed to have blocked off Arsenio Bresenio. However, seconds later, the Guaraní striker scored, Sanabria feeding him after some good work from Jorge Rojas, with an perfect side-footed volley past Sanchez.
Gonzalez almost doubled the lead soon after. He and Rojas linked up well down the right wing, with the quick midfielder getting past his man before cutting the ball back to his team-mate, who rattled the same post as Zamorano had in the first-period.
Mexico’s chances were few and far between as they sought a route back into the game, but Espericueta’s late free-kick went agonisingly close to earning them a point, agonizingly hitting the cross bar.
MALI 0-0 GREECE
In the first 0-0 draw of the tournament, Mali and Greece share the points that keeps them both in the hunt for the knock-out stages, with two and four points respectively, ahead of their final group games. Chances were at a premium in the early stages but neither team could break the deadlock.
Neither seemed willing to commit players forward, obviously being very cautious to conceding the early goal. Even though both sides impressed in their first games, they failed to please the small crowd that came out to view them.
The goalscorer from Mali’s previous game against Paraguay, Adama Niane had arguably the best chance of the match. A quick exchange of passes with Issaka Samake saw him in behind the Greek defenders but his attempt to lob goalkeeper Stefanos Kapino fell just wide.
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