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Rediff.com  » Sports » U-17 WC PHOTOS: Ghana and Paraguay start off with wins; NZ hold Turkey

U-17 WC PHOTOS: Ghana and Paraguay start off with wins; NZ hold Turkey

Last updated on: October 07, 2017 02:07 IST

Ghana outclassed Colombia 1-0, while New Zealand held Turkey to a 1-1 draw in the opening matches of the FIFA Under-17 World Cup on Friday.

IMAGE: Ghana's players celebrate after winning their match against Colombia. Photograph: PTI

Two-time champions Ghana began their FIFA Under-17 World Cup campaign with a 1-0 victory over Colombia in a Group A match in New Delhi, on Friday.

Sadiq Ibrahim scored the all-important goal as Ghana ran away with three full points in the tournament opener at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.

 

The match did not rise to any great heights with not many attempts at the goal with few good moves coming from both sides.

It was end-to-end stuff with Colombia slightly dominating initially before Ghana stamped their authority as the match went on.

Ghana, who finished runners-up in the African qualifying tournament, soaked the initial pressure from the Colombians and then slowly began to dictate terms on their South American opponents. They had won the tournament in 1991 and 1995.

IMAGE: Colombia goalkeeper Kevin Mier, centre, makes a save. Photograph: PTI

Colombia were doing most of the attacking in the first half and had more possession. They initiated their attacks mostly from the left side of the pitch. Left winger Brayan Gomez had a couple of shots at the Ghana goal but could not test goalkeeper Danlad Ibrahim properly.

It was Ghana who drew the first blood in the 39th minute with Ibrahim connecting a fine cross from the left by captain Eric Ayiah.

It was a defensive sloppiness on the part of the Colombians and their captain and center back Thomas Gutierrez allowed the low cross to go past him across the face of the goal for Ibrahim to fire home with a low shot.

Colombia coach Orlando Restrepo replaced an ineffective Brayan Gomez by Deiber Caicedo at the half time but his side’s fortunes did not change much.

Colombia put more men upfront in search of an equaliser, but Ghana were able to stitch some dangerous moves at the counter.

Ghana captain Eric himself had a fine try at the Colombia goal in the 73rd minute but goalie Kevin Mier came out of his line in the nick of time to have a last touch and negated the move.

Three minutes later, Aminu Mohammed had a shot from the left edge of the Colombia box but his effort aiming at the near post was blocked by the goalkeeper.

Second half substitute Caicedo had Colombia's best chance of the match in the 80th minute as he was sent free at the edge of the Ghana box but his low right-footed grounder beat the goalkeeper but went out inches off the left upright.

There were a few scrambles at the Ghana goal-mouth towards the end of the match but Colombia could not find the eqauliser.

New Zealand rally to hold Turkey

IMAGE: New Zealand's Charles Spragg tries to head past Turkey goalkeeper Berke Ozer. Photograph: PTI

New Zealand came from a goal down to draw 1-1 against Turkey in the opening Group B match of the FIFA U-17 World Cup at the D Y Patil Stadium, in Navi Mumbai, on Friday.

Turkey were given an 18th minute lead by striker Ahmed Kutucu through a headed goal which was neutralised in the 58th minute by New Zealand captain Max Mata.

Incidentally, the two countries had drawn 1-1 in their only previous encounter in the tournament eight years ago.

Turkey, making their third appearance in this tournament, appeared the more skillful team in the first half and their quick passing game had the Kiwis under a lot of pressure as unseasonal rains welcomed both the sides.

But New Zealand, who have made the tournament proper for the eighth time and sixth in a row, came into their own in the second half to equalise and even dominated play for a prolonged spell.

Turkey's' forward duo of Ahmed Kutucu, who opened their account in the 18th minute with a headed goal, and Malik Karaahmet got splendid support from the mid-field in which Kerem Kesgin and Atalay Babacan stole the show in the first half.

In the eighth minute itself, the New Zealand goal came under a lot of pressure following a speedy left flank run by overlapping back Melih Gokcimen whose angular effort was easily blocked by the rival goalie Jacob Clark.

New Zealand, who counter-attacked on occasions, tried to take advantage of a none-too-sure Turkey defense and saw Kingsley Sinclair hook a ball while off balance just wide of the left post off a feed from Elijah Just.

This was five minutes before the superb headed goal by Kutucu, who is registered with German club F C Schalke 04, as he rose and met the excellent corner kick taken from the right by Kesgin to bulge the right corner of the net.

Kutucu was soon afterwards booked for rough play but continued to harass the New Zealand defense with his skilful play and could have scored again in the 39th minute but for Clark blocking his shot taken from well inside the box.

The change of ends saw New Zealand mount some attacks but it was Turkey who came close to scoring in the 51st minute when captain Recep Gul advanced into the box to meet a cross from the right but his stiff left footed essay was blocked by Kiwi custodian Clark.

The hard work of the Kiwis finally paid dividends when an unmarked Mata took advantage of a leaky defense by running forward to meet a short free-kick taken by midfielder Just and beat Turkey goalkeeper Berke Ozer with a left-footed shot.

Mata was soon afterwards booked for a foul and then a stray dog entered the playing area to stop the game for a brief.

Paraguay beat Mali 3-2

A successful penalty strike in the second half helped Paraguay beat Mali 3-2 in an engaging FIFA U-17 World Cup Group B game, in Navi Mumbai.

After the two sides were tied 2-2 at half time, it was in the 55th minute when Alan Rodriguez successfully converted from the spot to score the winner for Paraguay.

Rodriguez fired past Mali goalkeeper with a powerful spot kick after Paraguay were awarded a penalty courtesy Abdoulaye Diaby's handball.

Mali had their chances, but on most occasions, their players shot above the bar from long distances.

Earlier, Paraguay took the lead in the 12th minute courtesy a stunning strike by Antonio Galeano.

A free kick by Julio Baez, was punched by the Mali custodian outside the box, which was calmly controlled by Galeano, who took the ball on his chest and shot a thunderous volley past the goalkeeper with his right foot.

Paraguay were rewarded for their aggressive style of play from the start.

Five minutes later, a defensive mistake by Mali helped Paraguay scored their second goal and take a 2-0 lead through Leonardo Sanchez's strike.

Three minutes later, Mali reduced the margin when Hadji Drame netted the ball. Salam Giddou, dribbled past two defenders and passed to Drame, who after a little dribble, slotted the ball with perfection in the 20th minute.

It was an intense first half with both the sides displaying attacking style of football.

Initially, Paraguay were more aggressive of the two, but after conceding two goals, Mali came back strongly.

In the 30th minute, Mali's Lassana Ndiaye ran in from a distance but his shot hit the crossbar and bounced away.

But it took another four minutes for the last edition's runners-up to equalise.

In the 34th minute, Djemoussa Traore showed blistering pace from the left flank, releasing Ndiaye, who netted the ball past a changing Paraguay goalkeeper.

Paraguay kept the Mali goalkeeper busy throughout the first half which ended in a 2-2 stalemate.

After the break, Mali had a definite chance, but Ndaiye failed to get past the Paraguay goalkeeper, who came up with a good save.

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