India’s debut at a FIFA competition ended in a disappointment after the FIFA U-17 World Cup hosts were outclassed by USA in their Group A opener in New Delhi on Friday.
INDIA 0-3 UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
A passionate crowd at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium roared the home side on throughout the duration of this historic match for Indian football. However, it was John Hackworth’s Stars and Stripes that showed their qualities in getting their tournament account off to a winning start.
Captain Josh Sargent gave US the lead in the 30th minute through a penalty before Chris Dunkin (51′) got a freak goal and Andrew Carleton (84′) hit on the counter to finish an impressive victory.
If it wasn’t for goalkeeper Dheeraj Singh Moirangthem’s string of saves, India could have conceded a few more. US dominated possession and launched a wave of attacks as the hosts defended for the better part of the game. India managed to create only a couple of clear chances through the game, Anwar Ali coming the closest to scoring late on in the game as his rasping shot hit the bar.
COLOMBIA 0-1 GHANA
Two-time champions Ghana made the perfect start to the FIFA Under-17 World Cup, as Sadiq Ibrahim’s first-half strike gave them three vital points in the capital. In the process, Ghana also broke the record for goals scored in consecutive Under-17 WC matches – 22 – a record they previously shared with Germany.
There were good chances and saves made at both ends of the pitch during the first half, but it was not until the 39th minute that the West Africans made the decisive breakthrough. A fine counter-attack saw Black Starlets captain Eric Ayiah make an incisive run down the left flank before delivering a pinpoint low cross that Ibrahim duly converted at the far post for a 1-0 half-time lead. The Colombians went in search of an equaliser after the break but were unsuccessful in breaching the Ghana defence.NEW ZEALAND 1-1 TURKEY
New Zealand came back 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 DY Patil Stadium in Mumbai on Friday.
The Turks had the better of the first half, with Ahmed Kutucu’s headed goal from a corner their just reward. The Kiwis grew into the match after going behind and their goal came from a bit of fast thinking just before the hour mark when Elijah Just took a quick free-kick and found a streaking Max Mata alone in the box.
Both teams traded narrow misses the rest of the way, but New Zealand went closest, as Just hit the post in the 83rd minute. Mata then got his second yellow card for leading with an arm five minutes into second-half stoppage time.
PARAGUAY 3-2 MALI
Alan Rodríguez’s second-half penalty helped Paraguay beat Mali 3-2 in a scintillating Group B encounter at the U17 World Cup at the DY Patil Stadium in Mumbai.
The two teams put on quite a first-half show, with four goals scored in a 22-minute stretch. Paraguay tallied the first two after some sloppy defending by the Africans, with Antonio Galeano and Leonardo Sanchez rewarded for their efforts. The Malians fought back and they struck back within minutes, as Hadji Drame reduced the margin before Lassana N’Diaye equalised just after the half-hour mark.
Les Aiglonnets were left to rue missed opportunities after a handball in the area allowed Paraguay’s Rodriguez to put the South Americans in front for good. They also took control of Group B after the first matchday following New Zealand’s 1-1 draw with Turkey.
This article is written by Shantanu Ambekar, you can follow him on Twitter at @ShantanuAmbekar. What are your thoughts? Let us know by dropping a comment via our comments box below. Make sure you follow us on Twitter, Google+, Instagram and like us on Facebook.