May 22, 2017

FIFA U-20 World Cup: How African teams faired on Matchday 1

FIFA U-20 World Cup: How African teams faired on Matchday 1

Bamba Kane of Senegal celebrates

Guinea look to bounce back against England after opening loss

Seungwoo Lee of Korea Republic scores against Guinea

African power house Guinea began their campaign with a loss to host Korea Republic in their FIFA U-20 World Cup campaign thanks to goals from Lee Seungwoo, substitute Lim Minhyeok and Paik Seungho in a match that ended 3-0.

The Taeguk Warriors took a deserved lead at half-time after a solo, deflected effort from Lee. However, there was no doubt about the other two goals.

Lee turned provider in the second half when he played a through ball to Lim, and with only the keeper to beat, he calmly turned in the hosts’ second of the night.

Lee’s Barcelona team-mate Paik then put the game out of reach of their African opponents with a lobbed finish from a Jeong Taewook headed pass.

VAR (Video Assistant Referee) was called into action when a Korea Republic goal was disallowed on the stroke of half-time.


Chilufya, Sakala see off Portugal

Andre Ribeiro of Portugal shoots at goal as Prosper Chiluya of Zambia and Solomon Sakala of Zambia try to stop him

Zambia came out on top in an intriguing tussle with Portugal to get the edge in FIFA U-20 World Cup Korea Republic 2017 Group C, winning 2-1.

Both sides set up playing to their strengths: Portugal limiting the space, favouring their technical prowess; Zambia sitting deep, containing and looking to strike on the break. Chances came at both ends, with Zambia being saved by Moses Nyondo – blocking Diogo Goncalves goal-bound strike, before the game kicked up a gear after the break.

The African champions started the quicker and made it count. Enock Mwepu’s shot wrong-footed Diogo Costa and, though the keeper produced a fine reflex save, Edward Chilufya was on hand to tap in.

With that, the game opened up. Portugal were not short of opportunities. Diogo Goncalves and Andre Ribeiro both had their share, as well as the creative Xadas – who shone in the first period and waned in the second – but spurned them.

So, when Fashion Sakala struck a solo second with 15 minutes to go, you thought it would not be the two-time U-20 World Cup winners’ day. Shimmying past two defenders, the Spartak Moscow man fired in at the near post to seal the win. Helder struck in stoppage time following Mangani Banda’s save, but it was too little, too late.


South Africa squander early lead

Luther Singh of South Africa looks dejected

Japan came from behind and claimed all three points in a 2-1 win over South Africa in Group D at Suwon World Cup Stadium at the FIFA U-20 World Cup Korea Republic 2017.

Grant Margeman opened the scoring for Amajita in the seventh minute when he chested down a high through ball in the box before firing past goalkeeper Ryosuke Kojima.

Both sides produced goal-scoring chances throughout the first half, but could not produce anything tangible to show for their efforts. Japan came out firing on all cylinders in the second half and scored just a few minutes in. Koki Ogawa showed his ability in the box and finished a cross from the Japanese left. Mondi Mpoto got his hands to the ball, but not before it had crossed the line.

Japan then completed their comeback in style thanks to Ritsu Doan, who curled a shot beyond Mpoto’s reach into the far corner after some well-worked combination play with team-mate Takefusa Kubo.


Result is Senegal’s biggest margin of victory in tournament’s history

Bamba Kane of Senegal celebrates

Semi-finalists last time out, Senegal started strongly at the FIFA U-20 World Cup Korea Republic 2017 with a 2-0 victory over Saudi Arabia in Group F.

Ibrahima Niane and Cavin Diagne both came up with brilliant volleyed efforts back-to-back in the 13th and 15th minutes to give Senegal an early two-goal cushion.

Senegal continued to look threatening throughout the match and produced several goalscoring chances. Saudi Arabia goalkeeper Mohammed Alyami kept the scoreline respectable for his side, making multiple saves on clear opportunities for Senegal to extend their lead.

The result represents Senegal’s biggest margin of victory in the history of the tournament and sees them claim an early lead in the group.