As the group games come close, teams are progressing as teams are packing their bags and booking their flights home. Will Burns has a review of Matchday eight’s action.
AUSTRALIA 1-2 TURKEY
Hosts Turkey have secured their place in the knockout stage with a 2-1 win over Australia. The Young Socceroos claimed the lead at the start of the second half, as captain Jackson Irvine found Blackburn Rovers’ midfielder James MacLaren to grab his first international goal.
The lead was short-lived for the Aussies as the host nation equalised within a minute of falling behind Hakan Calhanoglu headed the ball in from a corner. The result means Turkey finish second in the group, while Australia are knocked out of the competition, having failed to win a match.
EL SALVADOR 0-3 COLOMBIA
In their final group game, Colombia cruised to a 3-0 win over lowly El Salvador to cement their place in the knockout stages and top Group C, thanks to another masterclass from the playmaking prodigy Juan Fernando Quintero.
Early goals by Andres Reneria and Jhon Cordoba set the South American Under-20 champions on their way to a relaxed evening’s work, with Quintero rounding it off with a special goal.
It was a active start from both sides as they showed their attacking intent in the opening minutes and it was Los Cafeteros that got the lead on 21 minutes. A vicious strike from Andres Renteria inside the box after some neat control inside the area.
A few minutes later, things went from bad to worse for the aspiring Salvadorians. Olivier Ayala pulled on the shirt of striker Jhon Cordoba and the referee pointed to the spot. The Jaguares striker coolly rolling the ball into the bottom left corner while goalkeeper Rolando Morales dived the opposite direction.
The El Salvadorians needed to grab a draw to have any chance of progressing and just before half-time a speculative effort from Diego Coca, trying to lob goalkeeper Cristian Bonilla from 30 yards, showed that the underdogs were not forfeiting.
The second-half began llike the first, with El Salvador looking buoyed by the break, but the Colombians slowly began to control the possession again. The impressive and tricky Cristian Palomeque had a the chance to stretch their lead, controlling superbly from a long pass, but after trying to round Morales, he placed the shot wide.
The player of the tournament so far Quintero was bossing the game, and after scoring a stunning winner against Turkey in their last game, he tried a few ambitious efforts from distance in the hope of adding to his tally.
Fully in power of the game, it looked like Colombia could score at anytime, and it should have when substitute Brayan Perea of Lazio headed over unmarked in the area. The masterful Quintero then created another chance for him with a superb through pass, but the shot was poor.
Finally, before the referee wrapped the game up, Quintero hit a special goal in stoppage-time. An great individual display taking the ball to the edge of the area and thundering home a left-footed strike that gave Morales no chance.
The result means the Colombians finish top with seven points, followed by Turkey (who defeat Australia 2-1) on six, with El Salvador on three points, but a goal difference of minus four looks set to deny them passage as a best third-place side. The Young Socceroos of Australia finish last with just the single point.
GREECE 1-1 PARAGUAY
A drawing of lots had to take place as Greece and Paraguay advanced with identical records and the Greeks won the draw to finish top. Both finished the group with the same number of points, goals for and against, this after the ten-man South Americans came from behind to claim a hard-earned point.
The Greeks had Paraguay under pressure when the South Americans suffered a major blow on 24 minutes when their captain, Gustavo Gomez, picked up his second yellow card for a rash challenge on Dimitrios Diamantakos. However, Greece struggled to make their numerical advantage count, with chances few and far between.
Eventually, it took a set piece to break the deadlock on 68 minutes, with Diamantakos heading in after beating goalkeeper Diego Morel to an inviting inswinging free-kick from Konstantinos Stafylidis.
Greece went ahead for long, as the ten men of Paraguay hit back five minutes later. It was substitute Brian Montenegro grabbing the leveller with a gymnastic bicycle kick after a Junior Alonso long throw-in had been flicked on by Miller Mareco.
Greece will now stay in Gaziantep to play one of the best third-place teams, while Paraguay will head to Antalya to play the Group E winners.
MALI 1-4 MEXICO
Mexico defeated Mali 4-1 in their final group game in Gazientep giving themselves a great chance to qualify as a top-four third-place finisher in the competition. Marco Bueno, Jesus Corona, Jorge Escoboza and Uvaldo Luna scored for Mexico, which has three points and a plus one goal differential and five goals scored. Although, the Mexicans still has to hope other teams do not overtake them on Saturday in order to carry onto the knockout stage.
Mali pulled one back just after the hour mark with a amazing volley from long range, as Samba Diallo had the ball bounce at the right height in front of him 25 yards out. Richard Sanchez was able to get a palm onto it, but he could only push it off the inside of the post and in.
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