SANDRA AIGNER / AIPS* in DUBAI: Argentina have a budding Suarez of their own: Leonardo is possessed of similar nimble attacking skills and eye for goal to Luis. Hopefully, he lacks the less admirable character traits of the grown-up, Uruguayan version.
This Suarez, from Boca Juniors, was thrown into the hurly-burly of Group E in the FIFA U-17 World Cup UAE 2013 for the last 20 minutes of a 3-2 victory over Austria.
At the time Argentina were 2-1 ahead but his team-mates were becoming disorientated by the defiance of an Austrian side with some rock-steady defenders and troublesome, pint-sized attackers of their own.
The Austrians duly fought back on terms from both 1-0 and 2-1 down before losing 3-2. The thrills factor in a game of admirable pace throughout the 90 minutes was enhanced by the erratic performances of both goalkeepers, Argentina’s Augusto Batalla and Austria’s Alexander Schlager.
Argentina, who play Canada next, cannot claim to be mathematically certain of qualifying for the knockout stage second round. s all the groups approach their last round of matches such a luxury belongs only, so far, to Brazil and Honduras (Group A), Italy (Group B) plus Japan and Tunisia (Gp C).
The South Americans started ambitiously and Austria had to focus on defence not to go behind almost fron the star.
Poor finishing by Argentina allowed Austria, to survive and then take the lead against the run of play through Austria Wien’s Nikola Zivotic in the 31st minute. Argentina had to wait until three minutes from half-time but equalising deservedly when a right-wing cross was headed home decisively by Joaquin Ibanez.
Six minutes into the second half saw Argentjna take the lead in fortunate fashion when German Ferreyra stretched to turn anoher cross goalwards and saw the ball slip through the hands and legs of Austrian keeper Schlager.
All credit to Austria for not letting their heads drop. They took risks by pressing forward and were assisted by Argentina’s awful finishing. The South Americans were duly punished for their profligacy when Tobias Pellegrini prodded home a low cross from Daniel Ripic.
That spurred Argentina to raise their game. First the eel-like Suarez smacked a shot against a post then, finally, he seized possession just inside the penalty, wriggled between two tackles and scored the winner with a shot which a defender deflected beyond Schlager.
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