FIFA U-17 World Cup (Day 4) : India suffer heartbreak while Paraguay came on top against New Zealand

India Vs. Colombia :-

Two second-half goals by Juan Penaloza gave Colombia a 2-1 victory over India in an entertaining FIFA U-17 World Cup Group A encounter in New Delhi on Monday.

The South American’s win came despite Jeakson Thounaojam scoring India’s first-ever goal in a FIFA competition.

A pulsating first half at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium saw India come ever so close to breaking the deadlock.

However, Abhijit Sarkar’s close-range shot was well saved by Colombia goalkeeper Kevin Mier before Rahul Kannoly struck the post for the tournament hosts in stoppage time.

In between those Indian opportunities, their goalkeeper Dheeraj Moirangthem continued his impressive form with a series of fine saves to keep the Colombians at bay.

That encouraging first half had the Indian fans anticipating even better things after the break.

But on 49 minutes, Penaloza had other ideas. Taking a cross from the left, the Colombian edged along the top of the India box before unleashing an unstoppable left-footed shot past Moirangthem for a 1-0 lead.

The advantage lasted until the late stages, when India’s endeavours to score finally paid off from a corner on 82 minutes.

An unmarked Thounaojam rose highest to head home an historic first FIFA tournament goal for his country.

It brought delirium to the New Delhi crowd, but before they could fully savour that special moment, Penaloza struck again a minute later to put Colombia back in front for good, as he slid home after taking a pass off the chest from Gustavo Carvajal.

Up next for India are Ghana on Thursday. Ghana lost 1-0 to USA on Monday, giving the Americans their second successive win after having beaten India 3-0 on Monday

New Zealand Vs. Paraguay :-

Coach Danny Hay was without the services of Max Mata due to suspension and, in the absence of his influential skipper, the captain’s arm band went to Elijah Just. The sizeable void left by Mata was filled by Willem Ebbinge while Joshua Rogerson slotted into the back four in place of Ben Deeley in the only other change from the line-up that drew 1-1 with Turkey.

Having gone behind early on in that opening match against the Europeans, New Zealand would have been determined to start more strongly on their return to the Dr. DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai but those hopes were dashed in only the second minute. The Kiwis again fond themselves needing to come back from a goal down and it was a bizarre one to concede, Alan Rodriguez shaping up to whip a free kick into the box from wide on New Zealand’s left but somehow managing to loop it all the way over a stranded Jacob Clark and into the far corner.

The first real opportunities for New Zealand to score arrived shortly after, Just relishing the added responsibility of the captaincy to lead by example and fire a shot straight at goalkeeper Diego Huesca from a tight angle. In the follow up, the ball eventually broke to Kingsley Sinclair a few yards outside the area but he curled his ambitious effort well wide.

As it turned out, Hay’s charges did not need to worry about finding the net themselves though as Paraguay captain Alexis Duarte was about to do that for them – and, remarkably, not just once. A nightmare period of play for the defender began on 20 minutes when Paraguay were put under pressure from a well-directed Leon van den Hoven free kick by Kingsley Sinclair and Charles Spragg, forcing the unfortunate Duarte to turn the ball into his own goal.

He did likewise just past the half hour, this time after trademark skill from Just on the left created room for the stand-in skipper to send in a low cross that Duarte could again only force past Huesca to make it 2-1. Clark was called into action seconds later to maintain New Zealand’s new-found lead, making a good save low to his left to deny Leonardo Sanchez before bravely gathering the resulting loose ball.

All that hard work in hauling themselves in front was then undone for New Zealand in the final 15 minutes as the strength in depth available to Paraguay coach Gustavo Morinigo became evident. Anibal Vega and Blas Armoa had both been brought off the bench to try to swing the contest in the South Americans’ favour and they did just that to break the hearts of the New Zealand players.

Vega turned the match on its head in a three-minute spell with a rapid-fire brace, his first coming when he got the better of Clark in a one-on-one duel before he notched again just moments later when meeting a cross to prod home at close range.

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