ALAN VACCARO / AIPS* in RAS AL-KHAIMAH: Uruguay had little difficulty reaching the quarter-finals of the FIFA U-17 World Cup UAE 2013. They beat Slovakia 4-2 here ad the Sovaks only scored their goals late in the game when the Uruguayans showed their some mercy.
Slovak goalkeeper Martin Junas had a nightmare. His fifth-minute howler handed an opening goal to Leandro Otormín and then he gave away a penalty. The East Europeans, bravely though they tried, could not recover.
On the first goal Junas raced out of his penalty box to cut out a crossfield pass but ‘lost’ the flight of the ball until it skidded past him. As he turned he lost hs footing and Otormin accelerated away to push the ball into an empty net.
On the 30th minute Junas tripped Franco Pizzichillo and went the wrong way to Kevin Mendez’s decisively-struck penalty.
Striker Franco Acosta deflected home a left-wing corner three minute before half-time then Nacional’s Otormin flowed through the heart of the Slovak defence to make it 4-0 just before the hour mark.
Slovakia refused to buckle.
They had already hit the bar once before Tomas Vestenicky shot home from 25m with the help of a deflection. Miroslav Kazer also rattled the crossbar before fellow substitute Marek Siplak scored a second with a ‘free’ header five minutes before the end.
Uruguayan coach Fabian Coito said that, after an ideal start, his team played more cautiously later because of concern about the number of players already on one yellow card and at risk of suspension from the quarter-finals if they collected another.
He said: ” We have possibilities to go far. What we achieved two years ago was fantastic when we lost only in the final but now I am not thinking about it, only about what we can accomplish this year.”
Slovak coach Ladislav Pecko admitted that he had not expected to make such a bad start “after mistakes from our goalkeeper.”
His consolation was that “in the second half we showed that we know play football and were better then Uruguay. But the two big mistakes cost us this game.“
Pecko added: “I think that most important is that we show young boys in Slovakia where they can get to. The positive side of this World Cup, I hope, is that young boys in Slovakia watched the matches and will be now more interested in football.“
His favourites for the title were Brazil and Nigeria – who now play Uruguay.
* AIPS, the international sports journalists association, is running a Young Reporters course at the FIFA U-17 World Cup UAE 2013 with the support of the local organising committee and FIFA
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