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FIFA U-20 World Cup

Attacking football gets pulses racing

Andre Silva of Portugal celebrates scoring the second goal of the game
© Getty Images

THE DAY REPLAYED –Three of the four games on the opening day of the FIFA U-20 World Cup ended in draws, but those who were expecting more closely-fought encounters were in for a surprise on day 2 of the tournament in New Zealand. A thrilling day's action included seven goals, four victories, three highly satisfied favourites and one minor upset. A memorable day of attacking football was capped by Portuguese substitute Nuno Santos, who scored one and assisted another - after being brought on in the 89th minute.

Portugal had cause for celebration following their 3-0 victory over Senegal, as did Colombia, who extended their unbeaten tournament run against members of the AFC to nine games with a 1-0 success over Qatar. Uruguay, who finished runners-up in 2013, secured a routine win over Serbia, while Mali pulled off the shock of the day by beating an ambitious Mexico side 2-0. That result might just carry the Africans through to the knockout stages on a wave of euphoria.

Results*Group C
*Qatar 0-1 Colombia
Portugal 3-0 Senegal

*Group D
*Mexico 0-2 Mali
Uruguay 1-0 Serbia

Goal of the day
*Portugal 1-0 Senegal, Gelson Martins (1)
*Stunned supporters packed into the Waikato Stadium in Hamilton had barely taken their seats before having to stand up and applaud again, as Sporting Lisbon prodigy Martins managed to find the back of the Senegal net just 26 seconds after the referee had blown his whistle. Having turned 20 exactly 20 days ago, the attacker scored the fourth fastest goal in the history of the competition. The quickest ever goal in the tournament was scored after just 14 seconds.

Memorable momentsA tale of two Quinteros
*At the previous edition of the U-20 World Cup, a certain Juan Quintero established himself as the undisputed star of the Colombian team with performances of breathtaking technical ability. The playmaker now plies his trade at Porto and has already been capped at full international level. Astonishingly, yet another Juan Quintero is causing a stir at the current tournament in New Zealand. The captain of a *Cafeteros
side intent on reaching the latter stages of the competition, Quintero’s outstanding vision helped set up his team’s winning goal - not that we’d expect anything less from a player with that particular surname. Against Qatar, 'the new Quintero' and his team-mates were roared on by around 800 yellow-clad supporters, who were just as eager to show their appreciation after the final whistle. A Colombian drum band also made a significant contribution to the party atmosphere inside the arena. It remains to be seen whether 'Quintero 2.0' can continue to find his rhythm at the tournament and outdo his predecessor, who exited the 2013 competition at the Round of 16 stage following defeat to Turkey.

*Over in a flash
*Things didn’t quite go as planned for Mexico in their opening game. Everything seemed to happen in the blink of an eye in their defeat to Mali, who netted twice in four second-half minutes - minutes 76 and 79 to be precise - to seal a surprise victory. The Mexicans had already been hit by a quickfire double-whammy earlier in the second half at the Otago Stadium in Dunedin, having received red cards in the 65th and 67th minutes of the contest. As football fans know only too well, the outcome of a match can be decided in a mere split second. Mexico’s attack has pace in abundance, but they need to use that to their advantage in the two remaining group matches to stand any chance of qualification.


*Classy keepers in abundance
He may not be a household name, but Djigui Diarra was unquestionably Mali’s standout performer against the Mexicans. Much to the frustration of the opposition attack in particular, the goalkeeper managed to pull off a series of outstanding stops to help earn his side a valuable three points. The No16 was somewhat surprisingly given the nod by head coach Fanyeri Diarra, who also has Sory Traore - widely regarded as the best goalkeeper of the African qualifying round - at his disposal. However, none of the 15 million inhabitants of the northwest African nation will be complaining about Diarra’s selection policy following the narrow victory. Interestingly, with Traore occupying the No21 shirt at the tournament, the No1 spot still appears to be up for grabs.

The stat7 - Uruguay have now gone seven games in the competition without losing in normal time. The *Celeste, *who were beaten on penalties by France in the 2013 final in the Turkish capital of Istanbul, appear to have the wind in their sails in New Zealand and look well-equipped to reach the latter stages of the tournament.

The words"It was really emotional when we finally scored. We went over to the corner flag and danced to celebrate. We had heard a drum in the stands during the match, so that was our background beat."

Lille star Adama Traore * *discusses Mali's celebration after breaking the deadlock against Mexico. *

Next matchdayMonday, 1 June 2015 (all times local)

Group E (New Plymouth)
Nigeria - Brazil, 13.00

Korea Republic - Hungary, 16.00

Group F (Christchurch)
Germany - Fiji 13.00
Uzbekistan - Honduras 16.00

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