LUKA PETRINEC / AIPS in DUBAI: Canada and Austria played out the first draw of the FIFA U-17 World Cup UAE 2013. The result was 2-2 after a fine game brimming with opportunities and excitement.
In a first half full of chances Canada were better in the opening 20 minutes and could and should have taken the lead. But excellent Austrian goalkeeper Alexander Schlager kept them at bay with two fantastic saves.
In the 28th minute the old football rule proved true when Canada were punished for not taking advantage of their chances. Sascha Horvath hit a tremendous volley from 11 meters into the goal off the crossbar, leaving Canadian keeper Marco Carducci without a chance.
Canada had a chance to equalise just before half-time but Hanson Bokai wasted a one-on-one chance, Carducci saving well.
The second half brought even more excitement. First, Canada equalised through striker Hamilton in the 53rd minut then, five minutes later, they completed the turnaround with a penalty from Elias Roubos after after some desperate Austrian defending.
Canadian joy lasted only three minutes before Nikola Životic equalised with an acrobatic, unstoppable volley.
Both teams are still awaiting their first victory at the U-17 World Cups.
After the match, neither coach argued with the outcome.
Austria head coach Hermann Stadler said: “It was an even match, both teams had chances. Anyone could have won it. We hit the crossbar at the end but it was a good match and we consider is a good start.
“Now what’s important is for the players to recover as soon as possible to be fresh for next match against Argentina. The high temperature made it tough to play”
Canada’s Sean Flemming said: “It was a difficult match and though there were good things at first there are many to improve for the next game.
“We can say it’s a negative start but the point still gives us a =chance to qualify. We know it’s going to be difficult but we also know we have many chances. Last World Cup we started by losing and we qualified.”
* AIPS, the international sports journalists association, is running a Young Reporters course in UAE with the support of the local organising committee and FIFA
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