China, Japan and Spain triumph -
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China, Japan and Spain triumph

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  • Spain edge Colombia in tight game
    Neema Paul sent off on Tanzania’s tournament debut
  • Stunning free-kick from Japan’s Momoko Tanikawa the best goal of the day

Khel Today Bureau

New Delhi: After the historic results on the opening day of the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup India 2022™, the remaining teams got their campaigns under way on the second day of action. China PR beat Mexico 2-1 at the DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai in the Group C curtain-raiser, putting themselves in a strong position in what is a tricky section. In the group’s second game, Spain took all three points thanks to a 1-0 triumph over Colombia.

In Group D, Canada and France each had to settle for a point after an even contest in a 1-1 draw at the Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Goa. Subsequently, Japan had little trouble overcoming Tanzania following Neema Paul’s early dismissal and eased to a 4-0 success.

One common thread in all the day’s fixtures was the fans’ enthusiasm: they enthusiastically roared the players on from the stands and cheered every action. The following match reports and highlights give taste of the second day’s events.

Group C
Mexico 1-2 China PR
In the Group C opener, Mexico and China PR met for the second time at this competition: the former won the first encounter 4-0 in 2014. They began this game eager for a repeat performance and sought to wrestle control of proceedings, only to be thwarted time and again by China’s early pressing. However, Mexico gradually grew into the game and began carving out chances thanks to the superb display of captain Alice Soto. They were awarded a penalty in the 34th minute following a VAR review for a handball by defender Jiaxin Huang, but Maribel Flores hit the bar from the resultant spot-kick.

It proved to be a turning point in the match as China began to assert their authority, even if they were unable to find the target before half-time. That all changed in the 49th minute when Ruiqi Qiao converted a penalty after Fatima Servin brought down Jiaxin Huang. Mexico pushed for an equaliser but failed to restore parity despite creating a number of opportunities. China once again showed them how it was done in the 90th minute when Xingyue Yu scored a decisive second goal following some poor positional play from Mexico, who did net a deserved consolation in stoppage time, even if it arrived too late to change the outcome.

Spain 1-0 Colombia
Spanish passion against South American spirit was the order of the day in the group’s other game, which Spain won 1-0. Both teams began the match with commitment and tempo, each creating chances to score. Neither managed to do so before the interval, but in the second half Paula Partido did put the ball in the net for reigning U-17 Women’s World Cup holders Spain, only for it to be chalked off following a VAR review for a foul in the build-up.

It remained a hard-fought encounter thereafter and appeared to be heading for a draw until the 85th minute, when Sara Ortega’s long ball from the right bypassed the Colombian rearguard and found unmarked substitute Jone Amezaga, who made no mistake with her finish.

The Colombian fans also suffered a shock at the start of the second half when the outstanding Linda Caceido, who also showcased her talents at the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup Costa Rica 2022™, began limping and remained in pain even after a lengthy period receiving treatment. The team can only hope that she will be fit in time for the game against China.

Group D
Canada 1-1 France
The Group D opener pitted 2012 U-17 Women’s World Cup winners France against Canada, who have qualified for all seven tournament editions. The fixture did not disappoint, with the spectators witnessing a hard-fought and well-deserved 1-1 draw.

France were on top in the first half and created the better chances, primarily thanks to their wingers Fiona Liaigre and Shana Chossenotte, who kept Canada goalkeeper Coralie Lallier on her toes with their deliveries from wide. However, they were unable to apply a finishing touch, leaving the match goalless at the break.

There were plenty of openings in the second period, with Canada’s Amanda Allen seeing her effort disallowed for offside before team-mate Annabelle Chukwu put them ahead in the 67th from Anna Hauer’s through ball.

France’s response was swift and Lucie Calba, who was named as player of the match for her impressive display, headed in Chossenotte’s cross, leaving Lallier no chance.

Japan 4-0 Tanzania
Japan’s U-17s, who have participated at every edition of this competition, overcame debutants Tanzania 4-0 in the second Group D game. Paul’s red card in the 20th minute for a foul on Kokoro Yoshioka was undoubtedly one of the decisive moments of the match and was a major setback for Tanzania, as Paul was their second-best goalscorer during qualification.

Japan broke the deadlock in the 33rd minute following neat link-up play down the left, culminating in Uno Shiragaki finishing past goalkeeper Zulfa Makau. In the second half, Mao Itamura doubled her team’s lead just three minutes after coming off the bench with a fine solo effort. An agile Japan side proved too hot for Tanzania to handle and they soon made it 3-0 when they won possession in their own half and burst forward, with the effervescent Itamura teeing up Ai Tsujisawa to score.

Nevertheless, 17-year-old Momoko Tanikawa was named player of the match following her sublime free-kick in the 81st minute, curling an unstoppable effort in from 20 metres out.

Despite the result, Makau also deserves to be singled out for praise. The Tanzania goalkeeper produced an outstanding display and prevented her team from losing by an even higher margin.

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