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Small margins on an intriguing opening day

October 7, 2017 5:53 AM
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THE DAY REPLAYED - Aside from a handsome win for USA over the tournament hosts in New Delhi, the opening day of the FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017 was one of fine margins.

In the other match in Group A, Ghana saw off Colombia by a solitary goal, with both sides enjoying several clear-cut chances in what was an entertaining encounter.

Paraguay lead the way in Group B following their hard-fought victory over Mali, a game in which both teams conjured up some stunning goals. The South Americans shot into an early 2-0 lead, only for the Africans to cancel out their advantage almost as quickly. In the end, however, an Alan Rodriguez penalty gave the Paraguayans the perfect start to the competition.

Also in Group B, New Zealand reacted just in time to snatch a crucial point against Turkey, though their joy was tempered by a late red card for their goalscorer, team captain Max Mata.

2. Hungry for more. After collecting the adidas Silver Boot at the FIFA U-20 World Cup Korea Republic 2017, USA captain Josh Sargent is after yet more silverware. The forward took his FIFA tournament goal tally to six by scoring his side’s opener against India. Can he kick on and finish among the leading marksmen once again?

3. Guaraní front men flex their muscles. In qualifying for India 2017, Paraguay averaged 1.77 goals per game in the South American U-17 Championship. They stayed in among the goals against Mali, scoring three in all, the fifth time in La Albirroja’s history that they have struck as many or more in the competition, in 11 games to date.

“I’m disappointed. I’ve always asked my players not to turn their backs on the ball, and that’s exactly what we’ve gone and done today. It was a lapse in concentration that cost us the chance to win the game. We’ve learned the lesson and I’m sure the boys will do better second time around.”


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