Spa­niards eye smooth route to knock­outs

DNA (Daily News & Analysis) Mumbai Edition - - FRONT PAGE -

Euro­pean cham­pi­ons Spain will en­ter their fi­nal group match against Korea DPR as firm favourites to se­cure a Round of 16 berth in the FIFA U-17 World Cup here on Fri­day.

Spain are placed sec­ond in Group D be­hind lead­ers Brazil, to whom they lost 1-2 in their tour­na­ment opener. They bounced back from in style and notched up a 4-0 vic­tory over Niger in their sec­ond game. They will now be rar­ing to go against the bot­tom-placed North Kore­ans, who have lost both their matches to Niger and Brazil.

The Kore­ans are un­likely to test the tac­ti­cally su­pe­rior Span­ish side.

Ex­pect­edly, Paraguay brushed aside Turkey 3-1 at the DY Patil Sta­dium here on Thurs­day to top Group B with three wins in as many matches.

Though the South Amer­i­cans thor­oughly dom­i­nated Turkey, Paraguay did con­cede one goal on Thurs­day, their fifth of the tour­na­ment, mak­ing their coach Gus­tavo Morinigo raise con­cerns about this depart­ment.

But adding to Paraguay’s strength was some fine saves by their goal­keeper Diego Huesca, whose an­tic­i­pa­tion and glove­work showed his met­tle. The 17-year-old Huesca is the only Paraguayan to play in the Euro­pean cir­cuit, hav­ing been re­cruited by Va­len­cia CF in Spain.

Twin strikes within two min­utes in the first half were enough to show Paraguay’s dom­i­nance. But, they did not rest on their 2-0 half-time cush­ion and went on the at­tack in the sec­ond half in or­der to score one more.

Play­ing his first match of the tour­na­ment, Gio­vanni Bo­gado im­pressed in the first half to score Paraguay’s maiden goal. Bo­gado scored off a free kick in the 41st minute, the ball dip­ping into the net from top right.

This opened another scor­ing op­por­tu­nity two min­utes later when Fer­nando Car­dozo flicked in a pass from Blas Ar­moa from the left, catch­ing the Turk­ish goal­keeper Berke Ozer off-guard.

Af­ter change of ends, Paraguay tre­bled their lead when An­to­nio Galeano’s left-footer from out­side the box found the right corner of the net for his sec­ond goal in two games.

Turkey re­duced the mar­gin in the in­jury time when Keren Kes­gin took in the ball all by him­self past a cou­ple of Paraguay de­fend­ers and made room to un­leash a right-footer from the top of the box past a div­ing Huesca.

It was only the Euro­peans’ sec­ond goal of the tour­na­ment. Turkey fin­ished last in this group with a goal dif­fer­ence of mi­nus-5, be­hind New Zealand (mi­nus-4).

Ear­lier, Paraguay, who had made the sec­ond stage be­fore this game with wins against Mali and New Zealand, had a golden chance to march ahead in the first minute when their forward Ar­moa was brought down by Ab­dus­samed Kar­nucu in­side the box.

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