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Colombia break Argentine hearts

Colombia have sent Argentina crashing out of the FIFA U-17 World Cup Nigeria 2009, scoring two goals in the last two minutes to come back from a 2-0 deficit and win the a classic all-South American derby 3-2 in Ijebu-Ode. The Cafeteros will now meet the winner of the Turkey-UAE contest in the quarter-finals.

The Argentines dictated the early going at the Gateway Stadium, but it was the Colombians who took the first real shot in anger. Lively winger Stiveen Mendoza got hold of the ball at the corner of the penalty area, burst past his man and fired a left-footer just wide of the post after 11 minutes. Five minutes later, though, the Albiceleste turned their possession and slick interplay into an opening goal, River Plate defender Leandro Gonzalez Pirez bombing forward from deep, rolling the ball past Juan Saiz and hammering home low from 20 yards with his left foot.

In the 35th minute Daniel ‘Keko’ Villalba had a good chance to double Argentina’s lead. Taking advantage of a poor clearance, he turned his man inside-out before firing a shot that had Cristian Bonilla scrambling to keep it out. The River Plate hit-man then saw a vicious 20-yard strike slam just the wrong side of the post.

The Colombians had a chance to equalise through Castillo just a minute into the second half, but it was the Argentines _ oozing class all over the park up to that point _ who carved the opening to double their lead on 57 minutes. Sergio Araujo brought himself to the top of the scorer charts here in Nigeria after bamboozling three defenders, cutting inside and firing his right_footer from 25 yards just inside the far post.

The Colombian response came just six minutes later, with Jeison Murillo sliding home an acrobatic volley from a corner kick. It signalled the start of a massive comeback for the Cafeteros and a major collapse for Argentina. just seconds later, Esteban Espindola handled a Cuero cross in the area and was promptly given his marching orders. Cuellar stepped up and hit the back of the net from the spot, but referee Wolfgang Stark ordered the kick to be retaken for encroachment. The hard_luck midfielder was not as fortunate with his second try, as Martinez dove away the kick _ to his left again _ in the 68th minute.

The Colombians _ unwilling to go quiet into that good night _ drew level in the 88th minute through Jean Blanco. Then, in the 91st minute, they claimed their famous winner. Hector Quinones got on the end of a build_up from deep in midfield and slipped the ball inside the far post to turn Argentina’s title dreams to dust.

Colombia amazingly move on to quarter_finals, where they will meet either Turkey or UAE. The Argentines _ favourites from the outset _ are heading for home.


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